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Kellogg Fellow Launches Nation’s First Racial Equity-Oriented Financial Institution

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May 31, 2019

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The Kellogg fellow is in her third term representing North Carolina 12th Congressional District

March 11, 2019

Kellogg Fellows Examining Equity through Food

How can issues of societal and racial equity be better understood through the lens of food?

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My three-year-old nephew loves to sneak. As we act out the many physical gyrations of sneaking up on each other, he enjoys the kinesthetic fun of acting out the feelings associated with such a silly word as “sneaking.”

My three-year-old nephew loves to sneak. As we act out the many physical gyrations of sneaking up on each other, he enjoys the kinesthetic fun of acting out the feelings associated with such a silly word as “sneaking.” His associations with this word are very positive. However, for adults, this word may have negative associations such as those often depicted in films. You know, the murderer sneaks up on the victim or the thief sneaks up and steals a purse. I once watched a young heifer give birth to her calf and it reminded me of the shifts and turns of our own life experiences that sometimes catch us by surprise. That is, there are things in our unconscious awareness that suddenly sneak in, giving us the opportunity to give birth to significant ideas that may have been dormant for a time. For example, my involvement in environmental issues, in teaching American Indian Studies, Cultural Studies, Teacher Education and my underground activities in conservative North Dakota are things that were a result of a major “sneak.” For me, friends, books, conferences, and our Kellogg Fellowship have all been vehicles for ideas sneaking in. Suddenly, I am in the middle of dynamic situations I previously would’ve thought were beyond my reach. This is what I call, “a big sneak.” It gives meaning to my life in terms of my identity as an indigenous person and helps me define what it is I want to do in my lifetime as I frame strategies with my community on Turtle Mountain Reservation. I love the stories that I hear of personal experiences of the “big sneak” that helped shape their lives. And I sit, listening and smiling with the knowing smile of a cat planning a “big sneak.”

This essay and portrait is part of a community-art and leadership project called “wdydwyd?” Tony Deifell (KNLP-16) invited his colleagues in the Kellogg Fellowship to reflect on what motivates them to follow their personal and professional paths by answering the question, “Why do you do what you do?”


“wdydwyd?” has reached over 1.5 million people worldwide and it has been used for team-building at Google, Twitter, many colleges and universities, nonprofits and K-12 classrooms. And, according to Wired Magazine, “In Silicon Valley, that question has been the hottest team-building meme since Outward Bound – and it’s spreading.” For more information: http://wdydwyd.com/leadership.


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