From the enrolled to the unenrolled, from the reservations to the cities, from South Dakota to as far away as Europe, a call for unity comes from a Reddit group called “Indian Country: Many Nations One Community.” With a goal of bringing people together from every possible Native experience, the group has released several podcasts, which have become regularly scheduled events entitled “Digital Pow Wow.”
The series will be coming to you direct from the Republic of Estonia. The host of the program is Ada Claire, 19, Jicarilla Apache/Iranian, hailing from Kansas, but currently studying at the Tallinn University Law School in the tiny Indigenous country of 1.3 million people, located in the Baltic Region of Northern Europe. Claire is a young girl with big dreams and a history of making them happen.
Claire has already lived in more places than many think to visit. “Let's just start off saying that my childhood and idea of ‘home’ is really untraditional. I have spent significant time with family across the U.S., and the world, in New Mexico, Colorado, Georgia; and I lived in Japan, Macedonia, and the Philippines for a while.” She graduated high school at 15, and has been traveling since, studying in Estonia the last two years, and will graduate with her law degree at 21. “My parents have always been supportive of my saving [money] to travel and working around the world,” she said.
Claire’s foray into podcasting began as a moderator for the sub-Reddit community. Reddit is an online site for different interests and communities, where the world has become a much smaller place.
Founder of the group Kiros Auld saw the need for an inter-tribal community on Reddit. “The next largest Reddit community is not really moderated. There was a lot of inter-tribal racism, racial purity, and the like, and I thought we could do better than that. I was looking for a unifying idea, to capture the pan-Indian feel and appeal.I was hoping to give people an outlet, an inter-tribal sense of being. I think we are on the right track.”
The membership runs the expanse of Native experiences with Indigenous people from throughout the Western Hemisphere. “We encourage people from South Central Americas, the Caribbean, and First Nations to join, and we have Native Hawaiians who contribute to our community,” Auld said.
R/Indian Country: Many Nations One Community
Ada Claire, lower screen, hosts an episode of the Digital Pow Wow.
Jackie Malstrom, host of Portland Oregon’s Rose City Native Radio, KBOO radio, is a production team member for the podcast. She said, “It is a very active community, we get replies the second we post, from all over the world. It varies by time zones, and it is amazing to see all these Natives come together to work towards a common goal, to get our voices out there.”
The first Digital Pow Wow podcast featured an interview by Ada Claire with Greg Grey Cloud, who gained notoriety when he was arrested for singing an Honor Song after Congress successfully blocked the XL Pipeline. The “Digital Pow Wow” podcast appears on Vimeo, and features the topic of Identity and all that comes with the issue, from living situations to blood quantum. Grey Cloud said, “It was an important topic, it was Ada’s first show, her first podcast, and I thought she did a great job. She is a very well-educated young lady.”
Grey Cloud will join Claire in another podcast to speak about his organization Wica Agli, the first Native organization for men against sexual and domestic violence in Indian Country.
Currently, “Indian Country: Many Nations One Community” has about 260 subscribers with many more who visit the site and its offshoots. “We are super-tight,” Claire said. “We branched out with a “Real Indian Talk Challenge” and are encouraging our members to make a video or a vocal recording of one sentence, once a week, in their language. You know, one sentence a week, for 52 weeks a year, that’s really nothing out of your week to write down a sentence, speak your sentence out loud and post it so we can see it.
“I am working so hard to learn my language, to teach my language, to promote my language, but here I am in Europe, and I have no connections here to my tribe. I am separate from everything, and I know a lot of Natives feel that way — and that’s especially true for city dwellers,” Claire said.
The site also has a large language data base for learning and teaching. “Language, language, language!” Claire said. That’s my big platform because for me, it’s the best way to promote your culture. It’s keeping it traditional in the modern world; walking in two worlds, that’s what it’s gotta be in the modern world. Social media has become an outlet for us to become stronger as a people; it’s what’s going to keep us alive.”