Shelby Rowe works in suicide prevention and has dedicated her life to helping people struggling with mental health. But she came to StoryCorps with her best friend, Johnna James, to share her own story of overcoming hardship, and how she found belonging in her Chickasaw roots.

Shelby Rowe working on a commission piece in her home in Oklahoma City, OK, around June of 2018. Courtesy of Shelby Rowe.
Loom-stitched artwork by Shelby Rowe: 21st Century Chickasaw Hatchet Woman, 2020. Used with permission from Shelby Rowe.


Top Photo: Shelby Rowe and Johnna James at their StoryCorps interview in Oklahoma City, OK. on July 13, 2023. By Julia Kirschenbaum for StoryCorps.


This broadcast is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Originally aired October 13, 2023 on NPR’s Morning Edition.