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Career Pathways Planning Curriculum

Lesson Plans: Part Two

Elder Review: Kevin Goodluck, Navajo

Medical Doctor

These highlights will support the participant in thinking about and working with important aspects of transforming difficulties and life experiences into a successful career pathway. The key areas include:

  1. History – where we come from;
  2. Mentors & Opportunities – who and what supports us;
  3. Education, Career, Jobs, and Vocational Skills – what moves us forward.

These highlights are to be utilized to assist the participant in answering and discussing the questions identified with each of the five lessons provided in this curriculum.

Kevin Goodluck

History (where we come from)
  • We had a farm that we lived on and I understood responsibility for taking care of a family herd. There was a purpose to how we lived in relationship.”
  • My father’s story is very inspirational. Living on a reservation in his time around the Depression, pre-Depression, he buried babies because during that time infant mortality was very high and having medical care was not heard of because of living on the reservation and being so remote.”
  • Witnessed his father’s drinking alcohol
  • “…knowing that I was part of a big community. And I think many tribal people have that connection. They don’t realize it.”
  • “I think a lot of Native people who are spiritual; there’s healing going on. I think that’s nice. It’s already in an in. They have a nice in of being spiritual and that’s healing. So I think that’s an advantage. Keeping that in mind, even though things may be hard, you can do it.”
Mentors & Opportunities  (who and what supports us)
  • “Mentors are very important. I think my mentors came about through meeting individuals who worked through the whole process from school. I think from high school, through college, and then working through the various clinics I was working at. I think, the way my wife and [I] talked it through, if you had a table of advisors, who would be on your board of directors? Who would counsel you? Who be helpful to you to help you through, and you’ve just kind of have to envision them. Or, if they’re actually there, put them there.”
  • And my brother… he was drunk at a dance. It was his friend, and they got into an argument, it was at some kind of a country dance and he swung and hit him. And he was on a stairwell, which was concrete, maybe 50 feet up from top to bottom. I can only imagine this because I wasn’t there. And he fell down the steps and was hurt. Well, the young boy died, and there we are, with my brother in jail, happening on the reservation, and of course, that was a federal offense. Well, my brother went through the court case and he was found guilty and was in jail. And I remember writing him, telling him we missed him. And he got out. He’s a counselor.”
  • “As I was growing up I don’t think I ever really envisioned myself as becoming a doctor. I know my mom wanted me to go into a career in medicine. And I think it’s a hope where they see you maybe as a physician or a doctor and you look at them and they look at you. And when you’re in a community, because my mom was a nurse there, knew everybody. Through her you hear, “Oh yeah, I saw you at the clinic.” And it’s kind of interesting, being identified, so I think those were good, positive feelings for me to say, “This is not so bad.”
  • “Jim Shorty was the head of NAPCO, which is the Native American engineering program. He sat down with me. He said, “Well, it looks like you’re not going to be an engineer, you’re interested in science, I think you want to be a doctor.” I think he did know my relatives.”
  • “It’s always important to keep that good and positive because you want that support. You want it to continue and don’t destroy it. Don’t destroy it. And I think with any family, there’s forgiveness. There are things that you go through and I think those are all good things to have in mind because we’re all human. We all make mistakes. Don’t let those mistakes stop to overcome you if you have good intentions.”
Education, Career, Jobs, and Vocational Skills (what moves us forward)
  • “I took several jobs through the tribe to work at the hospital at the Shiprock Hospital. I worked in radiology, and I worked in pharmacy. And sort of just as a high school student, observing, transporting patients, seeing how x-rays were done, seeing the doctors come in and reading them.”
  • “So then I had to do my interview (for medical school). I think the medical school saw me as maybe not as ready. They put me through a summer program before medical school started. And with the other individuals in that class, we got through, we all helped each other. You can’t work alone. You just can’t.”
  •  “So I came through medical school, and I was still drinking. And I didn’t pass some courses. I’d gotten in with the law, and so what came out of it was I needed to figure out what the hell I was going to do. And so I quit drinking. I think it’s been about twenty two years now, But I haven’t had a drink in twenty two years and I think what that’s taught me is, one: I’m a parent. My kids don’t have to see me that way. I’m very proud of that. I only tell people that information who I think it’s going to help. It’s very private information. But if I think it’s going to help them, I’ll give it away. Whatever they do with it is up to them.”
  •  “It’s all hard work. Medicine is hard work. Carpentry is hard work. Paving a street is hard work. The difference is you’re using your mind instead of your muscles. Living on a farm you use your muscles. You dug ditches, you bucked hay. You’re on two day cattle drives. Sometimes even talking to somebody for almost an hour I feel totally drained because you have that energy that you have to put out to figure out how you’re going to help this person. And so brain energy is kind of like reading a book. You have to focus and you have to understand. It’s that kind of energy. A similar energy where you have to use it to get through it.”
  • “I didn’t get here because of who I am. I got here because my people sacrifice this country. My people sacrifice themselves, and they do it every day for me to be here. And I think of them every day. I pray for them every day.”