At Vireo Health, we pride ourselves on the diversity of our team, and on our ongoing commitment to social equity initiatives including expungement clinics, fundraising for Last Prisoner Project, and a creating educational programming for our team members and communities. Diversity has been a cornerstone of our culture since our earliest days (for example we were the first cannabis company to sign the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion pledge), and we believe celebrating the diversity among our team members and our communities makes us a stronger company and a better community partner.
Native American Heritage Month is recognized each November. Sometimes called American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month, it serves each year as a time to celebrate the cultures and traditions of Native and indigenous people, and to raise awareness about the unique challenges they have faced historically and in the present day.
Efforts to officially designate a day in recognition of Native Americans began over 100 years ago. In 2014, Red Fox James began riding on horseback from state to state, seeking approval for a day to honor Native Americans, presenting endorsements from 24 states to the White House in 2015. Also in 2015, the annual Congress of the American Indian Association and its president, Rev. Sherman Coolidge, formally approved a plan declaring the second Saturday of each May as American Indian Day and asking that Native Americans be recognized as citizens. In the years after, some states designated specific days in recognition of Native Americans.
However, it wasn’t until 1990 that a formal nationwide recognition was established, when President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November as “National American Indian Heritage Month.” That monthlong recognition has continued since then, though the name has changed several times and today it is known as Native American Heritage Month.
In honor of Native American Heritage Month, the Smithsonian Institute is hosting a Native Cinema Showcase online, Nov. 12 – 18. The showcase features 47 films from Native filmmakers from Indigenous communities throughout the western hemisphere and arctic that can be streamed on demand online during that week. Additionally, PBS has a number of documentaries that can be viewed online at any time for free, exploring the history, culture and struggles of different Native American individuals and tribes.
Our Native American team members are an important and valued part of our team! As we recognize Native American Heritage Month, we want to take this time to celebrate the culture and history of our Native American team members. As part of that effort, Vireo’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council is highlighting our Native American team members.
First up is Rozlynn Johns, our Shift Lead Budtender in Gallup, New Mexico.
The DEI Council was excited to catch up with Roz and ask about her experiences learning about terpenes and their effects, and sharing that information with customers.
Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? Where do you live now? Do you have family you want to mention?
Hello! My name is Rozlynn Johns but everyone knows me as Roz. I was born and raised here in Gallup, N.M. My maternal clans are “Black Streak Clan” / “The One Who Walks Around Clan” and my paternal clans are “The Mexican Clan” / “Water’s Edge Clan.”
When did you start at Vireo/Green Goods, and what is your title?
I started here at Vireo in April of 2020. My job title is Shift Lead Budtender.
What made you interested in the cannabis industry?
Learning so much about the terpenes and how they help and effect our bodies.
What do you like about working at Vireo/Green Goods?
My patients! They are my number one fans and at the end of the day it’s what I’m here for.
How does it make you feel to help patients find relief?
It’s a blessing to know I’ve helped a patient in their time of need, whether it be listening to how their day went or to helping them a specific terpene.
What are your favorite activities or hobbies outside of work?
On my days off I enjoy spending time with family or hiking is another thing I love.
What does Native American Heritage mean to you?
It means being proud of the person I am and bringing light to our culture.
Have you faced any challenges being of Native American heritage in the cannabis industry?
Thank you, Roz, for taking the time to share your story with us! Look out for more profiles of our Native American team members throughout Native American Heritage Month!