MEET THE TRIBE: Tribal Chief Beverly Cook
Dec 5, 2016
(Years of Service: 32 years and 10 months)
(The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe is proud to highlight Beverly Cook as this month’s employee for the series, “Meet the Tribe.” It is our pleasure to share these tribal employee profiles and all the exceptional work they are doing on behalf of the Akwesasne community.)
Beverly Cook began her time at the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe working at the Medical Clinic in Enníska/February 1982 — starting as a registered nurse before going to school and continuing as a nurse practitioner. Since July 2013 she has served as a member of the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Council.
“The reason I do what I do,” she starts, “at the clinic, and here [on Tribal Council] is helping people by changing things that don’t work.”
“Problem solving is something I enjoy,” Beverly says. She gives the example of using massage techniques to substitute medications for stress management and how these old healing methods are now deemed innovative by today’s medical institutions. It hasn’t always been easy however, as she stated, “It’s a challenge for me to introduce these old ways of knowing.”
One of Beverly’s biggest achievements, in her opinion, is the creation of the Centering Pregnancy Program. The program was something she worked on for four years at the Medical Clinic, up until she accepted the position of Tribal Chief. The program helps guide expecting mothers through their pregnancies in a group care setting to share experiences and learn from each other under the guidance of the physician or midwife.
“It was more than just taking their blood pressure, listening to the baby’s heartbeat, and ultrasounds,” she explained. “It was taking care of the whole woman to help take care of her baby.”
Beverly remembers the program fondly, adding “The beauty of it was that [the mothers] helped each other. That was probably the best work I’ve participated in at the clinic.”
From her experience at the Medical Clinic, Beverly believes she brings an additional understanding and appreciation of the community to the Tribal Council. She notes, “It translates into a way that I can better help the community.” Her efforts resulted in her reelection for a second 3-year term on Tribal Council in Ohiarí:ha/June 2016.
Reflecting on her time on Tribal Council, Beverly has set personal goals she hopes to help achieve, confidently stating, “The biggest thing over here, what I strive for, is for our programs and communities to work together.” To accomplish this, she places emphasis on relationships, whether personal or professional, that are based on mutual respect and positivity.
Her efforts are noticeable, as during her inauguration in Ohiarihkó:wa/July 2016, Beverly received an award from the NoVo Foundation, whose mission it is to foster a transformation from a world of domination and exploitation to one of collaboration and partnership. It was followed in Seskehkó:wa/September 2016, with recognition in Indian Country Today's 2016 “50 Faces of Indian Country,” which recognizes individuals who help uplift and provide a positive future for their people.
Anyone who knows Beverly realizes that she continually strives to consider all sectors of the Akwesasne community when dealing with emerging issues — youth, adults and elders — and takes a communal approach in making decisions, saying, Taking on a leadership position has given me the opportunity to advocate for change in the old paradigms of service delivery; to help support community based movements that include culture and endeavors to guide our community into the future.””“Taking on a leadership position has given me the opportunity to advocate for change in old paradigms of service delivery; to help support community-based movements that include culture and other endeavors to help guide our community into the future.”
Niawen:kówa for your leadership and we hope you continue to reach your goals Beverly!
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The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Council is the duly elected and federally recognized government of the Saint Regis Mohawk People.