OKMULGEE, Okla. – The College of Muscogee Nation Health and Wellness Services and Mvskoke rapper Sten Joddi promoted the Mvskoke culture as a way to prevent drug and alcohol abuse at a block party and conference event at the Claude Cox Omniplex on April 6.
Sten Joddi spoke to the crowd about his struggles of growing up in Glenpool, located just 24 miles north of Okmulgee. He is known for his role as the fictitious rapper and absent parental figure, Punkin’ Lusty on the FX Hulu Original Series, “Reservation Dogs”. The show’s story bared a strong resemblance to Sten Joddi’s own upbringing on the Mvskoke Reservation. Unlike the character he plays, he is a devoted and loving father to his real-life children.
Growing up on the reservation did not always provide Sten Joddi the safest environments. Alcohol and drugs were some of the bad influences he experienced. Gang violence, domestic violence, poverty, and homelessness were commonalities for the rapper and for many Native Americans today.
Even though he grew up local to his Mvskoke culture, he was detached from it during his youth. It was through his adult years where he started to seek out his cultural identity. In turn, it helped him steer away from the stigmas surrounding Native Americans.
Using culture as a tool for self exploration, Sten Joddi learned the importance of sobriety in the Mvskoke culture. Not only for cultural purposes, but also as a leader to influence youth and young adults.
Sten Joddi strives to be a positive influence to those who look up to him, especially
Mvskoke kids that were once where he was in life.
During his early adulthood, Sten Joddi struggled with the cycle of addiction relapse and found himself in and out of jail. There he met many people with the same struggles.
“Some are still with us and some aren’t,” he said, speaking to various lifestyle-related outcomes including addiction, institutionalization, and death.
He said that as he grows into the culture, he finds himself which provides him internal strength to maintain sobriety and prioritize family.
After his speech, Sten Joddi spent the next hour performing for the crowd. In his songs, he speaks of struggles, overcoming hardships and things that motivate him. All of which he claims is a testimony to his story of how he got where he is today.
CMN faculty, alumni and Sten Joddi all agree that as a Native American, especially Mvskoke, one is never alone and should not be afraid to seek other Mvskoke people for help.
For more information on addiction services, contact the CMN Health and Wellness Service at 918-549-2800 or MCN Behavioral Health at 918-758-1910.