Shamir has been employed with Alta California Regional Center for 6 months, but has provided social care throughout his life. Caring for the community is a big part of his heritage. As a member of the Choctaw tribe, providing healing both medically and spiritually has been fundamental in his upbringing.
At 16 years old, Shamir worked with foster and low-income children, but that wasn’t the earliest instance of social work care that he provided. As a child, he would accompany his mother to halfway houses to provide assistance for families in need. Shamir’s great-grandmother and grandmother would use herbs to heal, and now he is walking the same path his ancestors paved helping his community.
In addition to the care he gives the community, Shamir is an accomplished “grass dancer.” The regalia he wears when he dances contains ribbons that he carefully prayed and smudged over. Dancing allows for all the medicinal and healing knowledge he gained to go out to the world and blesses people with good medicine.
For Shamir, Indigenous Peoples’ Day means a mix of emotions. The day acknowledges the existence of Indigenous people and helps people learn about the native culture. In North America alone, there are over 500 tribes and each are unique and they live amongst everyone else. Indigenous people serve in the military, live in cities or reservations, and they are active in the community much like anyone. Knowing this, Shamir also feels sadness because Native people are the victims of many violent crimes.