DiscoverNative Lights: Where Indigenous Voices Shine
Native Lights: Where Indigenous Voices Shine
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Native Lights: Where Indigenous Voices Shine

Author: Minnesota Native News

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In Native Lights, people in Native communities around Mni Sota Mkoce - a.k.a. Minnesota - tell their stories about finding their gifts and sharing them with the community. These are stories of joy, strength, history, and change from Native people who are shaping the future and honoring those who came before them.

Native Lights is also a weekly, half-hour radio program hosted by Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe members and siblings, Leah Lemm and Cole Premo. Native Lights is a space for people in Native communities.

Native Lights: Where Indigenous Voices Shine is produced by Minnesota Native News and Ampers, Diverse Radio for Minnesota’s Communities with support from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage fund. Online at https://minnesotanativenews.org/
82 Episodes
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Today we’re talking with Fawn Sampson (Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe) who is a mom and partner, and an artist. Fawn shares her love of art: everything from charcoal drawings, beading, singing, and dancing, to screen printing, painting, stop animation, and theatre!
On today’s show, we celebrate successful vaccine rollouts in Indian Country! And we hear from two dedicated health care professionals about their experiences providing good medicine to community members throughout the pandemic.
Today we’re talking with Samsoche Sampson (Mvskoke Creek/Seneca) who is an interdisciplinary artist, powwow and hoop dancer, performer, musician, as well as a father and partner. Samsoche and his brother, Luhme, make up the world-renowned hoop dancing team known as the Sampson Brothers, who over twenty-five years have performed throughout the world: on stage in big cities and at powwows in remote Indigenous communities.
Host Leah Lemm (Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe) is back exploring how Indian Country in MN is responding and adapting to the current pandemic health crisis. Today we talk with Melissa Walls, Ph.D. (Bois Forte and Couchiching First Nation Anishinaabe) a social scientist and the Director of the Great Lakes Hub for the Center for American Indian Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
This is the extended version of the conversation with Hope Flanagan Today we speak with Hope Flanagan (Seneca) a Native elder, a storyteller, teacher of plants and wild plant gathering. All through her life, Hope Flanagan shares stories of Native culture, traditions and connecting with nature, and all the healing and mystery it offers. For more than a decade, Hope Flanagan taught in an Ojibwe immersion classroom, and before that, she was a storyteller at Minneapolis Public Schools in drug and alcohol prevention. Now Hope works at Dream of Wild Health as a community outreach and culture teacher.
Today we speak with Hope Flanagan (Seneca) a Native elder, a storyteller, teacher of plants and wild plant gathering. All through her life, Hope Flanagan shares stories of Native culture, traditions and connecting with nature, and all the healing and mystery it offers. For more than a decade, Hope Flanagan taught in an Ojibwe immersion classroom, and before that, she was a storyteller at Minneapolis Public Schools in drug and alcohol prevention. Now Hope works at Dream of Wild Health as a community outreach and culture teacher.
Today we talk with Jessica Gidagaakoons Smith (Bois Forte Band of Chippewa) who is a mother, survivor, Two-Spirit warrior, Indigenous scholar, and researcher, MMIWG2S Legal Advocate, and so much more. Jessica shares how her own experience seeking healing as a survivor of domestic violence and human trafficking, led her on a path to become a national speaker, leader, and advocate for others.
This week, we continue our focus on how Indian Country in Minnesota is responding to the pandemic, now that COVID-19 vaccines are rolling out, with another Special Edition of Native Lights: Visiting Vaccines. In this show we check in with the Indian Health Service, we learn more about COVID resources, and we hear a firsthand account of going through the whole vaccination process from a Minneapolis firefighter.
Today we talk with Ramona Marozas (Bad River Band of Lake Superior) a multiplatform producer with over a decade of journalism experience, currently working in public television in Duluth, on the nationally syndicated news program, Native Report.
This week, another Special Edition of Native Lights: Visiting Vaccines, where we get a pulse on Indian Country’s response to COVID-19 vaccines, here in Minnesota. On this show we hear from two people deeply committed to the health and well-being of Indigenous people and Native communities. Dr. Mary Owen, MD (Tlingit) is the President of the Association of American Indian Physicians, and she’s also the Director of the Center of American Indian and Minority Health at the University of Minnesota Medical School, on the Duluth campus. Dr. Mary Owen speaks about working with other Native health experts to get the word out that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and crucial for Indigenous people who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. We also hear from Briana Michels (Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe) who is part of the American Indian Resource and Resiliency team at the University of Minnesota Extension, which holds workshops on trauma and healing. Briana Michels works on the Remembering Resilience podcast which explores Native American resilience through and beyond trauma. In our conversation, Briana speaks about the significance of historical trauma, especially during this past year and now with the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations.
This week we revisit an earlier Native Lights episode which highlights Kwe Pack, a spectacular group of Native women supporting each other to run long-distance trail races. Kwe Pack has been featured on Good Morning America, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and Oprah Winfrey’s World Vision Tour. This group encourages each other to draw on their inner strength; to heal and flourish in all areas of their lives. You can check out this episode, which is part of Native Lights Season Two, to hear more about the significant work being done to build supportive environments for Native people to heal and thrive. Native Lights: Where Indigenous Voices Shine is produced by Minnesota Native News and Ampers, Diverse Radio for Minnesota’s Communities with support from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage fund. Online at https://minnesotanativenews.org/
This week we kick off a special series of vaccine conversations, starting with Antony Stately (Ojibwe and Oneida). Dr. Antony Stately has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and is the CEO of NACC, the Native American Community Clinic in South Minneapolis. Antony Stately shares how his clinic is safely administering vaccines, and he speaks to the challenge of providing accurate information to patients while addressing legitimate concerns and questions of community members. Antony Stately does this by keeping his focus on conversation, knowledge, and consent. This podcast version of the episode is slightly longer than the version aired on radio stations.
This week we are happy to revisit our conversation with Lakota doula Takayla Lightfield (Mnicoujou Lakota, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe of South Dakota), in this “Best of Native Lights” episode. Takayla stands side-by-side with Native women supporting the birth of the next generation as a doula, and as a breastfeeding consultant. Takayla is now working on her Master’s Degree in Public Health, in the U of M’s Maternal and Child Health Advanced-Standing Program. In 2020, Takayla Lightfield was honored with a Tribal Trailblazer Award, from the United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC), which recognized her collaborative efforts to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding in Native communities. Native Lights: Where Indigenous Voices Shine is produced by Minnesota Native News and Ampers, Diverse Radio for Minnesota’s Communities with support from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage fund. Online at https://minnesotanativenews.org/
It’s the “Best of Native Lights” as we revisit a wonderful conversation with Respected Anishinaabe elder and well-known physician, Dr. Arne Vainio (Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe). Dr. Vainio tells the story of how he became one of only 3,400 Native physicians in the United States. He is currently a family physician at the Fond du Lac tribal clinic. His story is about class divisions, lateral violence, and the unwavering generosity of people in his Native community. This program features in-studio guest: Producer & Reporter Melissa Townsend. The full podcast episode was originally published in Season Two of the Native Lights Podcast. https://wearehealers.org/dr-arnie-vainio Native Lights: Where Indigenous Voices Shine is produced by Minnesota Native News and Ampers, Diverse Radio for Minnesota’s Communities with support from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage fund. Online at https://minnesotanativenews.org/
Today, a conversation with Ramona Kitto Stately (Santee Sioux Dakota Nation,) a beadwork artist, teacher, and leader in K-12 Indian Education in Minnesota, who is now Project Director for the We Are Still Here – Minnesota (WASH-MN), a network of people and organizations committed to the Reclaiming Native Truth research and its findings. Ramona tells us how her teaching career began, and how some bad experiences prompted her to go back to school to get her master’s degree in Education, so she could more effectively disrupt the status quo. Ramona Kitto Stately makes the case that Indian Education should be mandatory for all students: when Native history and culture are missing from K-12 curriculum, students are deprived of accurate narratives, and stereotypes continue to thrive. This leads to ill-informed citizens, including leaders, judges, and policymakers. Miigwech to Ramona Kitto Stately for this rich and informative discussion! Native Lights: Where Indigenous Voices Shine is produced by Minnesota Native News and Ampers, Diverse Radio for Minnesota’s Communities with support from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage fund. Online at https://minnesotanativenews.org/
Today, a fun conversation with Robert Pilot (Ho-Chunk Nation), who is a teacher, water protector, and Host of Native Roots Radio, which amplifies many Native voices across the airways and on social media. Robert speaks about the importance of building relationships, whether he’s working as an educator (teaching film and video production at Harding High in St. Paul) or producing and hosting radio shows (shows he’s created include Native Roots Radio “I’m Awake”, Rock the Treaties Native Style, Pilot’s Progressive Party, and The Sunday Night Native Symposium “We’re Still Here”). We appreciated getting to meet Robert, and he brought lots of insights and chuckles to our wide-ranging discussion. Enjoy!
This is the extended version of our conversation with Anton Treuer. Today’s conversation is with Dr. Anton Treuer (White Earth/Leech Lake Ojibwe), a prolific author, international speaker, historian, and professor of Ojibwe at Bemidji State University. As a spiritual guide and father of nine, Anton Treuer embodies and defines what it means to be a Language Warrior, which he writes about in his latest book. What does it take to keep the Ojibwe language thriving even as fewer first speakers are available to teach? Anton Treuer embraces this challenge with both timeless wisdom and the latest technology. We loved learning more about how Anton uncovered his gift for language revitalization and how he enthusiastically inspires others, all in the service of keeping Ojibwemowin flourishing long into the future. Native Lights is a weekly radio program and podcast hosted by Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe members and siblings, Leah Lemm and Cole Premo. Native Lights is a space for people in Native communities around Mni Sota Mkoce -- a.k.a. Minnesota -- to tell their stories about finding their gifts and sharing them with the community. Native Lights: Where Indigenous Voices Shine is produced by Minnesota Native News and Ampers, Diverse Radio for Minnesota’s Communities with support from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage fund. Online at https://minnesotanativenews.org/
Today’s conversation is with Dr. Anton Treuer (White Earth/Leech Lake Ojibwe), a prolific author, international speaker, historian, and professor of Ojibwe at Bemidji State University. As a spiritual guide and father of nine, Anton Treuer embodies and defines what it means to be a Language Warrior, which he writes about in his latest book. What does it take to keep the Ojibwe language thriving even as fewer first speakers are available to teach? Anton Treuer embraces this challenge with both timeless wisdom and the latest technology. We loved learning more about how Anton uncovered his gift for language revitalization and how he enthusiastically inspires others, all in the service of keeping Ojibwemowin flourishing long into the future. Native Lights is a weekly radio program and podcast hosted by Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe members and siblings, Leah Lemm and Cole Premo. Native Lights is a space for people in Native communities around Mni Sota Mkoce -- a.k.a. Minnesota -- to tell their stories about finding their gifts and sharing them with the community. Native Lights: Where Indigenous Voices Shine is produced by Minnesota Native News and Ampers, Diverse Radio for Minnesota’s Communities with support from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage fund. Online at https://minnesotanativenews.org/
Today’s conversation is with Ashley Fairbanks, an Anishinaabe artist, organizer, designer, and digital strategist, and the Creative Director for the 100% Campaign, which is working to build equitable clean energy to Minnesota’s economy. Ashley Fairbanks has risen in the political world, recently serving as Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s digital director. She shares about growing up in South Minneapolis with a large and loving Ojibwe family. And Ashley Fairbanks shares how she found her voice and harnessed her power, for politics and activism through bold and vulnerable sharing on social media. Native Lights: Where Indigenous Voices Shine is produced by Minnesota Native News and Ampers, Diverse Radio for Minnesota’s Communities with support from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage fund. Online at https://minnesotanativenews.org/
Native Lights – Gifts of Culture & Storytelling with Deanna StandingCloud Today’s conversation is with Deanna StandingCloud (Red Lake Anishinaabe) who is a mom, playwright, organizer, artist, community leader, pow-wow emcee, and advocate for Indigenous people. Deanna shares how she pushed through her nerves to take her proper place as a leader, on a stage, holding a mic, or in front of a camera. All so that she can use her voice, share stories, and keep traditional culture alive and thriving now and into the future. Native Lights: Where Indigenous Voices Shine is produced by Minnesota Native News and Ampers, Diverse Radio for Minnesota’s Communities with support from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage fund. Online at https://minnesotanativenews.org/
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Comments (1)

Melinda Interpreter

Navajo/ PhxAZ listening can't wait to hear the stories!!!

Jul 11th
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