Guest post by Center For Global Policy Solutions Greenhouse Participant, Dennis Worden.
I’ve heard on several occasions that Native Americans don’t brag about about our skills or achievements. Sometimes this is said in the form of a “we should get over that shortcoming” tone, but often in the way that infers we are proud of this shortcoming because it means we are humble. I think it is generally true that we do not voluntarily offer up our expertise. Self-promotion is not part of our cultures. By doing so, we are highlighting our individuality in cultures that value community.
When we do highlight accomplishments, it’s often in the form of the dreaded humble brag…and it’s the worst.
The problem is that we often operate in environments that are outside of our communities on a regular basis. Even in a Native environment, young Native professionals may not feel that they can step up and demonstrate their knowledge in a setting with others that are older or more experienced.
We have real value to provide the world and we need to tell people about our areas of expertise so they know who to turn to on a specific topic. This isn’t bragging — this is offering your resources, including your knowledge and expertise, to others. The key is to get comfortable with telling people who you are and what you do in a matter of fact way, without exaggerating or overstating.
If you don’t establish your voice, the world doesn’t get to learn from you. With all of the work to do in Indian country we need more people to step up and be experts for our communities. It is also an opportunity to define who you are and what is important to you. If you don’t do this you are doing yourself and the world a disservice.