Glenna Stumblingbear-Riddle

National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development honored Glenna Stumblingbear-Riddle, Ph.D., as a member of the Native American 40 Under Forty class of 2017. She joined community-nominated winners who were celebrated during a September NCAIED gala at the Tulalip Resort Casino in Tulalip, Washington.

Dr. Stumblingbear-Riddle is a licensed health service psychologist, director of behavioral health, Native Connections clinical director and outreach program coordinator for Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s Behavioral Health Services.

Honorees demonstrate strong leadership, commitment and initiative and devote significant skills and resources to enhancing their communities.

“Whether it’s in business, tribal government, journalism, academia or nonprofits, 40 under Forty winners are shining examples for all of us to follow,” Chris James, National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development president and CEO, said in a media statement. “It is an honor to recognize these exceptional individuals and leaders who will continue to define success for the future of Native American Business.”

Growing impact

Stumblingbear-Riddle works daily to prevent suicide, treat substance use disorders, address trauma and promote emotional and mental well-being. One of her goals is to reduce health disparities in tribal communities.

“The need is really high,” she explained. Federal grants help facilitate community-driven programs and events in which she and her colleagues offer outreach and education while learning more about what community members want. The feedback influences program and service development and availability.

Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s Behavioral Health services include assessments and evaluations; ongoing treatment; therapeutic interventions; individual, couples, family and group therapy; smoking cessation classes; medication management; and psychotherapy. Clients may be self- or doctor-referred. The department also utilizes programs specific to youth and families to prevent suicide and substance use disorders funded by grants.

“The main goal I hope this award helps me achieve is to continue to increase our resources so we can continue to make a big, positive impact in our community by being able to offer more services and to continue to reduce the stigma associated with behavioral health,” she said. “When people read about the quality services offered and more people talk about seeking help, it makes it easier for people to come through the door and get help when they need it.

“This award represents our future. We’ve proven that we have strong programs and leadership. It’s an important award for me, and impactful for Indian Country. It is an award for us all because it was a collective effort of positive contributions made by our CPN behavioral health team and Health Services department, Tribal leadership and various programs throughout our tribe and our community.”

Developing opportunity

What does Stumblingbear-Riddle hope to accomplish by age 40? The 34-year-old replied, “That’s a tough question. It feels like that’s right around the corner. I have learned that some of the best things that have happened in my life were unplanned, so I hesitate to make too many goals,” she said. “I’d love to learn how to beadwork before 40.”

Earlier this year, she was appointed to the Oklahoma State Board of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. She’s also been CPN’s Behavioral Health director since 2013.

Her Kiowa name is Khoiye hayn ee, or Kiowa doll, given to her as a child.

“It was meant for me; that is what my grandmother and the Kiowa elder who named me would say,” she said. “In everything I do, I try to do humbly, with grace and respect. I represent my tribe — the Kiowa people. Everything I do I do with the Creator, my ancestors, family, tribe, and community and Citizen Potawatomi Nation in mind. I look at the big picture and work to best serve Indian Country and all of Oklahoma.

“I also acknowledge that I would not accomplish anything without the Creator paving the way for me, along with the support of my husband and daughter, who continue to teach me life lessons. I also find inspiration from my family and friends, the strength of my ancestors, the CPN behavioral health team, various Tribal programs and CPN leadership. It is a collective effort, and we work hard to meet the needs of the community and provide the best care. I’m honored and feel very grateful to be able to do what I do each day with some of the most compassionate people around.”

Family values

She promotes these values in her personal life, too. She participates in the Indian Market fashion show in Santa Fe, New Mexico, “to help fight appropriation of our culture and heritage and take ownership of it again,” she said. “My 7-year-old daughter, the light of my world, gets to see all I do. She says, ‘Mom, I could be a fashion designer someday and represent our tribe.’

“That brings a lot of joy to my heart, and I want all of our youth to know that the possibilities are endless in this world if you are willing to put in the work and not give up easily. Even when people say you can’t achieve something, strive to prove them wrong. One of my favorite quotes is by the late Wilma Mankiller, ‘The secret of our success is that we never, never give up.’”

Stumblingbear-Riddle encourages everyone to seek help when needed.

Learn more about Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s Behavioral Health Services by visiting or calling 405-214-5101.