Matthew Roberson is yet another fantastic changemaker joining us at Upswell as a member of Independent Sector’s 2018 American Express NGen Fellows cohort! Matthew leads the Department of Athletic Regulation for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. He’s also one of many changemakers who will be traveling from Minnesota to join us in LA. Get to know what drives Matthew, who inspires him, and why he’s looking forward to Upswell. You can join him and the rest of this year’s NGen Fellows cohort for a Wednesday afternoon workshop at Upswell!
Q: Who are you, what drives you, what are you working on, and why you’re inspired to make the world a better place?
MR: I am enrolled member of the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes (Keechi), In 2016, I was elected to serve our Wichita people as an executive committee member for our tribal council. I am very passionate about serving our Native American community and serve on a number of organizations representing and serving Indigenous Peoples. I am a member of the National Congress of American Indians and was selected in 2017 as a recipient of the prestigious Native 40 under 40 award from the National Center for American Indian Economic Development.
I am a visionary leader with a passion for living a purpose driven life. I know that the work that I am doing today will create new opportunities for our tribal members in the future. My goal is to drastically improve the life of each and every citizen of Indian Country through political activism and social justice.
Q: Who are your three favorite changemakers in history, and why?
MR: My three favorite changemakers are John Trudell, Wilma Mankiller and my mother Rose Roberson.
- John Trudell – Poet, actor, musician and former American Indian Movement leader. He eloquently described terms such as intergenerational trauma, structural white racism, and how people of color struggle in comparison to their Caucasian counterparts. Mr. Trudell began speaking of these issues before they even had names. To listen to one of his albums is to expand your consciousness.
- Wilma Mankiller was the first Female Principle Chief of the Cherokee Nation. I admire her strength and political activism to give her people hope. After a decade under Mankiller’s direction, the Cherokee Nation life was greatly improved. She is responsible for a multitude of health facilities, which drastically improved the life of her constituents while inspiring an entire generation of Native American Women.
- Rose Roberson – My mother is the Superintendent of the Anadarko Agency for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. A trailblazer in her own right, she has over 40 years of experience in the Bureau. As a working mother, she went back to school to get her education and immediately shot into executive-level service, a field dominated by white males. I have learned to be a great leader because I have always had the best example to look up to. She is a very fair and caring leader and the people under her leadership absolutely admire her.
Q: If money weren’t a factor and you could do anything, what would you do and why?
MR: If money was not a consideration, I wouldn’t change a thing. I am living a purposeful life. I love working for Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and serving our Wichita People. I wake up every day so happy because I am living my dream. I love being able to help people!
Q: What about Upswell LA are you looking forward to most?
MR: I am so excited about attending Upswell. I am most excited about the networking and meeting other purpose driven changemakers. I absolutely love being around smart, enthusiastic and driven individuals. I love hearing other people’s stories and discussing what we can do to continue bringing about social change.