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.
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We round out Season 2 of our Native Lights podcast by exploring the cultural influences that have shaped the work of two celebrated and accomplished Native artists. Chaz Wagner (Bois Forte Ojibwe) is a musician, singer, traditional drummer, and co-leader of the Native American rock band, War Bonnet, which was nominated for two 2019 Native Grammy Awards. Dyani White Hawk Polk (Sičangu Lakota), is a mixed media visual artist. Dyani has earned many grants, fellowships, and awards, including “Artists of the Year” from the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper.  The honor was shared with five of her peers for their work curating the ground-breaking “Hearts of Our People” touring exhibition, launched in June of 2019 at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Hosts: Leah Lemm (Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe) and Cole Premo (Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe), siblings, musicians, and contributors to Minnesota Native News. In-studio Guest: Melissa Townsend, producer & reporter Theme Music: Cole Premo Links: https://www.warbonnetofficial.com/ https://www.dyaniwhitehawk.com/ You can reach us at: nativelights@ampers.org Native Lights Podcast is a production of Minnesota Native News and Ampers, Diverse Radio for Minnesota’s Communities, and made possible by funding from the Minnesota Arts and Culture Heritage Fund, and the citizens of Minnesota. Ampers is an association of 18 independent community radio stations in Minnesota, which are all licensed to a college, school, university, Native American tribe, or directly to the community. http://ampers.org/
In this episode, two stories highlight significant work to build supportive environments for Native people to heal and thrive. Kwe Pack is 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. We also talk with hosts Leah and Cole’s brother Bryce Premo (Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe) about how facing his own struggles with depression and anxiety brought him tools that he now shares with others in his work in mental health advocacy and suicide prevention.  As a youth leader at the Division of Indian Work, a Safe Talk presenter, and Sober House manager, Bryce explains how helping create supportive environments for others is the best medicine for himself. Hosts: Leah Lemm (Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe) and Cole Premo (Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe), siblings, musicians, and contributors to Minnesota Native News. In-studio Guest: Melissa Townsend, producer & reporter Theme Music: Cole Premo Links: Find Kwe Pack on Facebook National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK(8255) Or Text HOME to 741741 You can reach us at: nativelights@ampers.org Native Lights Podcast is a production of Minnesota Native News and Ampers, Diverse Radio for Minnesota’s Communities, and made possible by funding from the Minnesota Arts and Culture Heritage Fund, and the citizens of Minnesota. Ampers is an association of 18 independent community radio stations in Minnesota, which are all licensed to a college, school, university, Native American tribe, or directly to the community. http://ampers.org/ **
The program explores the unstoppable power when two visionaries come together to bring a special project to life. We meet Deb Foster (Ojibwe), the Executive Director of Ain Dah Yung and Mike Laverdure (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians in North Dakota), a partner with DSGW Architects.  Deb Foster and Mike Laverdure both played leading roles in the creation of Mino Oski Ain Dah Yung, a beautiful new apartment building in St. Paul, where formerly homeless Native young adults can live, reconnect to culture, and get job skills. Hosts: Leah Lemm (Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe) and Cole Premo (Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe), siblings, musicians, and contributors to Minnesota Native News. In-studio Guest: Laurie Stern, producer & reporter. Theme Music: Cole Premo Links: http://adycenter.org/ https://www.aises.org/about/board/michael-laverdure https://dsgw.com/category/projects/native-american/ You can reach us at: nativelights@ampers.org Native Lights Podcast is a production of Minnesota Native News and Ampers, Diverse Radio for Minnesota’s Communities, and made possible by funding from the Minnesota Arts and Culture Heritage Fund, and the citizens of Minnesota. Ampers is an association of 18 independent community radio stations in Minnesota, which are all licensed to a college, school, university, Native American tribe, or directly to the community. http://ampers.org/
  This episode explores work being done towards authentically and accurately representing Native people, communities, and our stories. Rebecca Crooks-Stratton (Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community) is the Secretary/Treasurer of her tribe, and now she leads "Understand Native Minnesota," an ambitious campaign to support Native American narrative change in Minnesota’s K-12 education system, as a way to raise awareness and constructively overcome misunderstandings and misperceptions. Chad Germann (Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe) is the Founder and CEO of Red Circle, one of the nation’s top Native-owned advertising agencies.  Chad Germann is a rising success in the Twin Cities ad agency world, specializing in marketing and advertising for Casinos, and is known for his notable ads bringing awareness to the #NotYourMascot movement. Both leaders talk with us about their careers, their motivations, and gifts for doing this work. Hosts: Leah Lemm (Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe) and Cole Premo (Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe), siblings, musicians, and contributors to Minnesota Native News. In-studio Guest: Laurie Stern, producer & reporter. Theme Music: Cole Premo Links: https://www.understandnativemn.org/ https://redcircleagency.com/ You can reach us at: nativelights@ampers.org Native Lights Podcast is a production of Minnesota Native News and Ampers, Diverse Radio for Minnesota’s Communities, and made possible by funding from the Minnesota Arts and Culture Heritage Fund, and the citizens of Minnesota. Ampers is an association of 18 independent community radio stations in Minnesota, which are all licensed to a college, school, university, Native American tribe, or directly to the community. http://ampers.org/ **  
  Respected Anishinaabe elder and well-known physician, Dr. Arne Vainio (Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe) 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. Hosts: Leah Lemm (Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe) and Cole Premo (Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe), siblings, musicians, and contributors to Minnesota Native News. In-studio Guest: Melissa Townsend, producer & reporter Theme Music: Cole Premo Links: https://www.wearehealers.org/doctor/dr-arne-vainio/ You can reach us at: nativelights@ampers.org Native Lights Podcast is a production of Minnesota Native News and Ampers, Diverse Radio for Minnesota’s Communities, and made possible by funding from the Minnesota Arts and Culture Heritage Fund, and the citizens of Minnesota. Ampers is an association of 18 independent community radio stations in Minnesota, which are all licensed to a college, school, university, Native American tribe, or directly to the community. http://ampers.org/
We kick off our new season with a story from Mnicoujou [mini-co-jew] Lakota doula, Takayla Lightfield. She stands side-by-side with Native women supporting the birth of the next generation. Takayla Lightfield (Mnicoujou Lakota, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe of South Dakota), is a self-employed doula who also works at the Division of Indian Work and is a breastfeeding consultant in the Twin Cities, Minnesota. Hosts: Leah Lemm (Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe) and Cole Premo (Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe), siblings, musicians, and contributors to Minnesota Native News. Theme Music: Cole Premo Additional Music: Leah Lemm Links: Division of Indian work  https://www.diw-mn.org/ Send a note to us: nativelights@ampers.org Native Lights Podcast is a production of Minnesota Native News and Ampers, Diverse Radio for Minnesota’s Communities, and made possible by funding from the Minnesota Arts and Culture Heritage Fund, and the citizens of Minnesota.  Ampers is an association of 18 independent community radio stations in Minnesota, which are all licensed to a college, school, university, Native American tribe, or directly to the community. http://ampers.org/ **
Boozhoo everybody! It’s a BONUS episode of Native Lights - We’re celebrating our first season with a LIVE show from the Minnesota State Fair! The theme of Native Lights is to let people’s voices and stories shine, people who have found their purpose and a way to share their gifts with the community. Hosts Leah Lemm and Cole Premo speak with more fabulous guests who are shining bright: 1. Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan - Peggy Flanagan is a citizen of the White Earth Nation and only the second Native American woman to ever be elected to statewide executive office in U.S. history. https://www.facebook.com/LtGovFlanagan/ 2. Sarah Wheelock - Twin Cities Native Lacrosse https://www.facebook.com/Twin-Cities-Native-Lacrosse-1488367821441753/ 3. James Vukelich Kaagegaabaw, creator of "Ojibwe Word of the Day" http://www.jamesvukelich.com/ https://www.facebook.com/jamesvukelichkaagegaabaw/ 4. Allison Waukau – Allison is Menominee and Navajo and is the new Community Liaison for the Hennepin County library on Franklin Ave in Minneapolis https://www.facebook.com/allisonwaukau 5. Rhiana Yazzie, Navajo founder of Twin-Cities based New Native Theatre, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year.  Rhiana talks about current production: Rez Sisters Play https://www.facebook.com/newnativetheatre/ 6. Leah Lemm performs her song "Anything" and Cole Premo performs an untitled original song. Leah Lemm and Cole Premo are siblings, musicians and proud members of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. Both are contributors to Minnesota Native News. The podcast “Native Lights: Where Indigenous Voices Shine” can be found at http://ampers.org/native-lights-podcast/ Native Lights podcast is a production of Minnesota Native News and Ampers, Diverse and radio for Minnesota’s communities. Made possible with funding from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage fund.  
Many Native people are dissatisfied with the media portrayal of Indigenous communities across Turtle Island.  In this episode, we hear from a Native reporter who is changing the very framework for how stories are told. A Native spokesperson talks about how she found her voice and her ability to speak for her community.  And a group of Native women talk about the barriers to reaching out to reporters and being heard. Simone Senogles: Development Coordinator for The Indigenous Environmental Network, the Red Lake Nation. Dr. Kate Beane, Scholar, historian, teacher and documentary filmmaker, Flandreau Santee Dakota and Muskogee Creek Wab Kinew: Author, Journalist, TV and Radio host for CBC, Legislator, Manitoba Assembly, New Democratic Party) Pipe-carrier, activist, and hip-hop rapper (winner of Aboriginal Peoples’ Choice Music Award for Best Rap/Hip-Hop CD), Ojibway of Onigaming First Nation Hosts Leah Lemm and Cole Premo also speak with MN Native News producer/reporter Melissa Townsend. Theme Music: Cole Premo Special Music:  Leah Lemm “Rebeginning” Links: https://www.ienearth.org/ https://www.visionmakermedia.org/films/ohiyesa http://rpm.fm/artist/wab-kinew/ Native Lights Podcast is a production of Minnesota Native News and Ampers, Diverse Radio for Minnesota’s Communities, and made possible by funding from the Minnesota Arts and Culture Heritage Fund, and the citizens of Minnesota. Ampers is an association of 18 independent community radio stations in Minnesota, which are all licensed to a college, school, university, Native American tribe, or directly to the community. http://ampers.org/ Tell us what you think about this series by emailing us at: nativelights@ampers.org
In the era of #metoo and #timesup many Native women are making culturally specific, safe spaces for each other to heal from sexual violence. In this episode, Native women share their perspectives on healing and building resistance to a mainstream culture that seems to idle in the face of sexual violence against Native women. Ikidowin Peer Education Program and Youth Theater Acting Ensemble presents a play called “Everything is a Circle,” written by Illusion Theater and  directed by Curtis Kirby III. Ojibwe Elder Sharon Day is the Executive Director of Ikidowin, a program of the Indigneous People's Task Force. Jenny Miller: Program Executive with YMCA youth intervention services Eileen Hudon: Activist, Ogichidakwe Council of Female Warriors, Elder, Anishinaabe Hosts Leah Lemm and Cole Premo also speak with MN Native News producer/reporter Laurie Stern. Theme Music: Cole Premo Special Music: Strong Woman Song, led by Eileen Hudon and healing drum circle at the Elders Lodge in St Paul Links: http://www.illusiontheater.org/ikidowin-s-everything-is-a-circle http://indigenouspeoplestf.org/youth-education/ https://www.ymcamn.org/our_cause/how_we_help/help_kids_thrive/youth_intervention_services https://womenspress.com/Content/Special-Issues/Changemakers/Article/2018-Changemaker-Eileen-Hudon/3/29/5588 Native Lights Podcast is a production of Minnesota Native News and Ampers, Diverse Radio for Minnesota’s Communities, and made possible by funding from the Minnesota Arts and Culture Heritage Fund, and the citizens of Minnesota. Ampers is an association of 18 independent community radio stations in Minnesota, which are all licensed to a college, school, university, Native American tribe, or directly to the community. http://ampers.org/ Tell us what you think about this series by emailing us at: nativelights@ampers.org
This show is about family — in all its different forms.  A lot of Native families have been disrupted one way or another by government sponsored genocide. But there have always been Native women and men working to repair that disruption. This episode features five amazing women doing this incredible work. Heidi Grika: Mother, White Earth Band of Ojibwe Jasmine Grika: Nokomis Circle liaison at Ain Dah Yung Center in St Paul, Cheyenne River Sioux and the Red Lake Nation Lucy Favorite: Executive Director, American Indian Family and Children's Services Shana King: Parent Advocate at the Indian Child Welfare Law Center in Minneapolis, Vice-Chair of the American Indian Family Services Center in St Paul, Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation Sandy White Hawk: Founder of Indian Orphans Association and First Nations Repatriation Institute, Sicungu Lakota, Rosebud Sioux Tribe Hosts Leah Lemm and Cole Premo also speak with MN Native News producer/reporter Laurie Stern. Theme Music: Cole Premo Special Music: Leah Lemm “Rocket Ship” Links: http://adycenter.org/staff/jasmine-grika https://aifacs.org/ http://www.icwlc.org/about-the-indian-child-welfare-act-law-center/staff/ http://www.wearecominghome.com/   Native Lights Podcast is a production of Minnesota Native News and Ampers, Diverse Radio for Minnesota’s Communities, and made possible by funding from the Minnesota Arts and Culture Heritage Fund, and the citizens of Minnesota. Ampers is an association of 18 independent community radio stations in Minnesota, which are all licensed to a college, school, university, Native American tribe, or directly to the community. http://ampers.org/ Tell us what you think about this series by emailing us at: nativelights@ampers.org
In this episode the conversation turns toward themes of identity and how Indigenous artists find themselves communicating their identity in their art. Briand Morrison: Guitarist, Musician, Composer, son of the late George Morrison, the well-known visual artist, Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Kayla Aubid: Writer, Lakota, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Waase Aubid: Painter, artist, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Hosted by Leah Lemm and Cole Premo Theme Music: Cole Premo Special Music: “Spark in an Endless Black” by Cole Premo Links: Briand Morrison’s music: http://www.briandmorrison.com/ Native Lights Podcast is a production of Minnesota Native News and Ampers, Diverse Radio for Minnesota’s Communities, and made possible by funding from the Minnesota Arts and Culture Heritage Fund, and the citizens of Minnesota. Ampers is an association of 18 independent community radio stations in Minnesota, which are all licensed to a college, school, university, Native American tribe, or directly to the community. http://ampers.org/ Tell us what you think about this series by emailing us at: nativelights@ampers.org
All the stories in this first episode are about purpose: the idea that we’re all created to do something special. When you do it, you feel fulfilled, because you’re contributing your gifts to your community.  We hear from people who are living their purpose and inspiring others to do the same. Rob Fairbanks: Comedian, Social Media Entertainer, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Renee Gurneau: Teacher, Elder, the Red Lake Nation Jody Beaulieu: Activist, Elder, the Red Lake Nation Hosts Leah Lemm and Cole Premo also speak with MN Native News producer/reporter Melissa Townsend. Theme Music: Cole Premo Special Music: “Earth” by Leah Lemm Links: Rob Fairbanks YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrkYVTbGG3bn2dEkrB4vDKg Native Lights Podcast is a production of Minnesota Native News and Ampers, Diverse Radio for Minnesota’s Communities, and made possible by funding from the Minnesota Arts and Culture Heritage Fund, and the citizens of Minnesota. Ampers is an association of 18 independent community radio stations in Minnesota, which are all licensed to a college, school, university, Native American tribe, or directly to the community. http://ampers.org/ Tell us what you think about this series by emailing us at: nativelights@ampers.org
  Greetings! Today we talk with Louise Matson (White Earth Band of Ojibwe) the Executive Director of the Division of Indian Work and founding board member of Bdote Learning Center. Louise shares how she and her staff are working hard to support community members, by making remote connections and distributing pre-packed food supplies, even as they long for and miss the in-person gatherings.   
Boozhoo! We’re happy to connect with our friend Briand Morrison (Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa), the renowned jazz guitar player (you can hear him and his music on Native Lights podcast S1 Ep2, check it out!). Briand has no public gigs right now, due to the pandemic, but he’s still making plenty of music and enjoying life with family at home
Biidaapi: s/he comes laughing. (Ojibwemowin) Hello! Today we talk with Jenn Hall (Leech Lake), who is a brand-new Minneapolis firefighter!  Jenn gives us a glimpse into how she safely does her job, answers calls, responds to emergencies, and faces danger, even with the pandemic going on.  Jenn also shares how she stays grounded through quiet time, rest, watching Netflix, and talking on the phone with family and friends.
Biidaapi: s/he comes laughing. (Ojibwemowin) Greetings! On this day we check in with registered dietician Stacy Hammer (Bdewakantunwan Dakota).  Stacy is the Director of Community Health at the Lower Sioux Health Care Center.  When the pandemic hit, Stacy and her team swung into action to figure out how to provide health care and support, even as everything was shutting down. 
Biidaapi: s/he comes laughing. (Ojibwemowin) Hello Relatives!  Today we talk with Shelbie Shelder (Little River Band of Ottawa Indians), a 4th year medical student at the University of Minnesota. Shelbie talks about how the Coronavirus pandemic has impacted her rigorous academic load but also re-invigorated her desire to be a physician. Shelby is also focused on Native youth mental health during this time and recording the health disparities amplified by Covid-19.
Biidaapi: s/he comes laughing. (Ojibwemowin) Boozhoo! Today we catch up with Marie Rock (White Earth) who is the Program Manager at KOJB-FM “The Eagle” Radio which broadcasts to the Leech Lake Reservation, where she hosts the morning show.  Marie is also the host of MN Native News, so her voice is familiar throughout the state.  Enjoy our fun and lively chat with Marie who shares how she copes and keeps spirits high during the pandemic.
  Biidaapi: s/he comes laughing. (Ojibwemowin) Hello! Connecting with friends and family during this pandemic is incredibly important.  So today, we are catching up with our brother Bryce Premo (Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe). Bryce works in mental health advocacy and suicide prevention, and he manages a Sober House. Bryce tells us some of the ways he and the residents help each other maintain good mental health, even while facing the challenges and uncertainty of these times.  
Greetings!  Today we catch up with Deb Foster (St. Croix Ojibwe), Executive Director of the Ain Dah Yung Center which provides a healing place of safety and support for Native youth.  We first met Deb Foster in our Native Lights Podcast (S2 EP4) when we talked about how Mino Oski Ain Dah Yung came to life. Now Deb shares how the youth and staff are faring during the pandemic, and how traditional practices offer strength and hope.
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Comments (1)

Melinda Interpreter

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

Jul 11th
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