Hoquiam, WA, resident Miki Cabell recently started support groups for queer Native youth in Grays Harbor County. She has not just impacted change in Native communities, but also in Grays Harbor County’s general community through creating safe spaces to have open dialogues about LGBTQ issues. “It has gotten so big that I’ve had to recruit other facilitators!” she explains.
“It is my core belief that everyone has a voice, and they all matter,” says Miki, a survivor of domestic violence and describes herself as coming from a culture of poverty. “At The Evergreen State College I am learning the language of policy and systems so I might advocate for those that are as yet unheard.”
Miki, a Pride Foundation Scholar, is about to begin her Masters in Public Administration with a focus on Indigenous communities at Evergreen State College. With roots in the Lakota Nation Miki says, “Native communities: we are a wounded people. It is my dream to bring more healing to the rez.”
Prior to attending Evergreen for her bachelor’s degree, she studied at Grays Harbor College (GHC).
“Miki has graduated from GHC and moved on to Evergreen State College yet she has remained a member of the team here at Grays Harbor College,” says Jeb Thornton, Director of TRiO Student Support Services at Grays Harbor College. “While at GHC Miki was the mom, the rock, and the warm heart for the gay and questioning youth at the college. Miki personally made it safe for people who had felt like outsiders. Miki made it okay here.”
In this third year of scholarship funding from Pride Foundation Miki says it simply:
“It is our job to learn, live what we learn, use it, and of course to pass it on.” When she is done with her master’s degree she plans to pursue a PhD in New Zealand. “I can and will be Dr. Miki Cabell. For much of my life I felt alone, isolated and judged for my choices, but I now know better and will in every deed pay it forward.”
Uma Rao is Pride Foundation’s Regional Development Organizer in Washington. Email Uma.