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Coulee Medical Center ER and Walk-In Care

By Jesse Utz 

What a memorable week!

Jess Shut Up


I had the honor and privilege of attending two events this week that moved me in such a way that I will always remember. I attended the Northwest Indian Youth Conference as a chaperone and our son’s wedding, as, well, me. Both were very special.

At the conference I got to see a side of some young people that I don’t always get to see. Leaders emerged, responsibility followed and fears were conquered. The list of speakers was astounding. Simon Moya Smith from CNN spoke. He is one of the only Native American reporters working at a major network. He spoke of getting involved and of using the resources at your fingertips for more than just connecting with friends.

Matiika Wilbur is traveling the country documenting tribes with photos. Her story of why she is doing this was very moving and inspiring. Steven Paul Judd, an artist and filmmaker, spoke of us all being part of a puzzle. When we all come together as one, it makes a masterpiece. Dennis Banks was the keynote speaker. If you don’t know the name, you should. He is a leader in any Indian movement and has been a part of just about everything native for a long time.

What was most moving was seeing the kids come out of their shells, experiencing things for the first time. Public speaking, leading, dancing and more. The kids smiled, laughed and carried themselves in such a way that we all would be proud. If you ever get a chance to go, I highly recommend it. I was one of the only non-native people there, but after hearing all the speakers and watching the kids interact I found myself wishing that I was a bigger part of this culture.

Levi got married. Nope, not a misprint; it is true, and he found the perfect match for himself in Davida. So honored to invite her family into ours. There were laughs, tears and joy all around. It was a great weekend filled with friends and family coming together to celebrate. We can never thank enough the “crew” that pulled together and got this all accomplished. Our hearts will forever be touched. It was such an honor to dance with my “new” daughter at the reception and to be joined by “Princess” to conclude the touching dance. It was a very honoring event.

Sometimes you feel old. Like when your son gets married. It is almost like you have been driving a team of wild horses for a long time, and now you must drop the reigns and hope they find their way home. I think he will do just fine, but it is Karrie and I who feel lost. Like most parents in this situation, or at least the ones I talked to, there is an adjustment period, letting the boy turn into a man and get his feet wet being the provider for a new family. He will do just fine. Davida will make sure of it. I’m just saying.

My week was filled with young people bursting through the barriers around them. We need to support them all. Lift them up with words of encouragement, advice and wisdom. Let them see where we walked before and then let them break trail for themselves. It can be difficult to stop navigating for them and just support them, but we must. So they can grow even more.

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