S2, E6: “His School Counselor Labeled Him, ‘Not college material’. Meet Dr. Wayne Johnson, Muscogee”

“His School Counselor Labeled Him, ‘Not college material’. Meet Dr. Wayne Johnson, Muscogee”

He happened to look down at what his counselor had jotted down on a piece of paper in his school file. He couldn’t help but take a peek. What did it say? The 3 words could’ve set his destiny in stone forever. “Not college material.” The phrase sank into his mind, solidifying what his future may entail – anything but college, he concluded, based on his counselor’s findings. After all, a counselor would know, right?

So how did this “not college material” Muscogee man end up achieving his master’s degree, followed by his Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, working for the Muscogee Nation as Secretary of Education, getting published in articles on Indian education, becoming Tribal Assembly President, and Educational Counselor appointed by the Governor and working on the executive board for the Johnson O’Malley Program? Oh, and not to mention, also serving our country in the Navy too!

My guest in today’s episode is Dr. Wayne Johnson, and despite his hard work and success, he humbly said to me, “None of that compares to when I was a teacher.” God bless you, Wayne!

In this episode, you’ll hear about:
• The precious words of Wayne’s mother detailing how she was taken from her family and sent to Chilocco Indian School
• How Wayne and his siblings were taken to a children’s home
• His powerful experience at Haskell Indian College
• How his parents believed in and influenced their sons’ futures
• His work at Riverside Indian School, Haskell Indian School, Pine Ridge Reservation, Flandreau Indian School and Rosebud Reservation
• Pine Ridge Reservation and the events that occurred there, such as Wounded Knee Massacre and more
• His friendship with Oglala Lakota, Tamakoce Te’Hila, (known as Billy Mills), 1964 Olympic gold medal champion, and how no one was expecting an American Indian to show up and win

I hope you’ll take inspiration from Wayne’s story (and Billy Mills’ too) and feel empowered to do what you’re meant to do in life, despite what someone may have said to or thought of you. The world is your oyster, my friends so release those chains of others’ opinions and go seize the day!

More information:

About Olympic gold medalist, Billy Mills:
• “Billy Mills - 1964 Gold Medalist in the 10,000 meters”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vs6G8NfEyVk
• dLife video about Billy Mills: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKny6vcq-_4
• “Tom Brokaw interviews Olympian Billy Mills”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvrPRAtrmJM

A must-read book:
“Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West” by Dee Brown”: https://tinyurl.com/j4rk3d39

Please consider learning about and donating to Friends of Pine Ridge Reservation! https://friendsofpineridgereservation.org/

All Podcast Episodes: https://nativechoctalk.com/podcasts/

Native ChocTalk Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/nativechoctalkpodcast