I am a Native American (Chickasaw) author and health care quality improvement manager in England.
I grew up in the small town of Ardmore, Oklahoma (USA), the third of four children. The first memories of my Chickasaw roots come from my paternal grandmother. We would visit her on our family land in rural Stonewall, Oklahoma, where she would tell us stories such as Te Ata’s The Rattlesnake, show us how to make crafts with beads and take us to cultural events in the Chickasaw Nation. As I grew up, I often heard stories about my family history but was too young to fully appreciate them or my Chickasaw culture. I always thought I’d have a chance to learn more later.
My father’s sudden death in April 2009 made me realise that I was losing my tribal connection. Living in England, I found myself too far away to visit other relatives or the Chickasaw Nation to ask questions. I also found that being an immigrant strengthened my need to better understand my Chickasaw roots; I saw that being a Chickasaw citizen is an indelible part of who I am.
As I researched, I found lots of information on what my ancestors did, but little on how they saw the world. I needed to understand the past to make sense of the present. That need grew when my children were born. I thoroughly enjoyed writing Chula the Fox and hope readers enjoy the story and the perspective it gives on the lives of some of the first Americans.
Professionally, I work as an analyst in the National Health Service in England. I also do volunteer work with the Foundation for Health Care Improvement to help hospitals in Pakistan improve health outcomes. I have an undergraduate degree in Religion, with a minor in Government, from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and Masters degrees in Public Policy from Birkbeck College (University of London) and in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
When not at work, I enjoy travelling (when I get the chance) and spending time with my wife and two young children.