Tishina Carroll Delivers Hope


One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, “My son, the battle is between two “wolves” inside us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is Good.  “It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather:  “Which wolf wins?”

The old Cherokee simply replied,  “The one you feed.”

Tishina Carroll knows all too well how this battle in our heads can subject people to grave consequences. Growing up, she witnessed first-hand the debilitating effects of mental illness and substance abuse and vowed at a young age to study and learn all she could to help those inflicted.

Tishina comes from the Big Cove community on the Qualla Boundary but grew up in nearby Bryson City. Her family was divided when she was just a child. Her father battled alcoholism and struggled with the disease throughout his life.

While a student at Swain High School, Tishina was beginning to intuitively understand the importance of learning the necessary skills to help others in need and took advantage of the certified nursing classes being offered. The timing proved to be invaluable. Upon graduating she moved back to Big Cove to care for her grandmother who was sick with diabetes.

During this time, Tishina realized there was a lack of tribal services readily available to deliver treatment and prevention services. Her community faced challenges, especially in the area of mental health and substance abuse. She wanted to help.

“I’m fortunate to know what I wanted to do from a young age,” said Tishina. “I knew I was going to work in mental health and substance abuse. I believe this is my calling,” she said.

Over the years, she went on to complete a Certified Nursing Associate program and focused her work experience around mental, emotional and behavioral health issues. In addition to her workload, Tishina is a student at Western Carolina University (WCU) and earns her Bachelors in Social Work degree in May 2014. As a stellar student in the program, she was invited to continue her studies and will earn her Master’s in Social Work degree in May 2015.

“When I found out I was the only Native American in health and human services at WCU, I realized I needed to strengthen my leadership skills and really get in touch with my culture so I could educate others,” Tishina said.

After seeing an ad in the Cherokee One Feather for the Jones-Bowman Leadership Award Program, she decided to apply.

“Being a part of the program has allowed me to develop new skills and engage more in the community,” she said. “I realized there is so much more I can do to help and make a difference for the people who need it the most.”

The Jones-Bowman Leadership Award was established in 2007 to honor the memories and leadership of Principal Chief Leon Jones and Mr. James Bowman, both founding members of the Board of Directors of the Cherokee Preservation Foundation.

For more information about the Jones-Bowman program, including how to apply, visit www.cpfdn.org/jonesbowman.html or call Alicia Jacobs at 828/497-5550.


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