The focus of a practical future

Jade Begay joins the show to discuss climate justice and the power of community. Plus Sacheen Littlefeather talks about a new documentary on her life and her iconic Hollywood moment. And Natasha Brennan has more on how many pow wows are going virtual for a second season.
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It’s Earth Day and we acknowledge our responsibility as caretakers of Turtle Island. Joining us today is Jade Begay. She’s Diné and Tesuque Pueblo of New Mexico and leads NDN Collective’s work in Climate Justice. And she was recently appointed to the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council.

It’s Oscar weekend but nearly 50 years ago, before social media, a young Native woman walked across Hollywood's biggest stage and gave a speech protesting the treatment of Native Americans. Sacheen Littlefeather, who is Apache & Yaqui, refused the Oscar on behalf of actor, Marlon Brando and delivered his comments to a stunned audience. She joins us today.

It’s been a year without pow wows due to the pandemic and now organizers of some of the largest celebrations are having to make hard decisions about cancelling for a second year...or going virtual. Natasha Brennan, who is Cahuilla, is a freelance journalist and she joins us today to talk a story she wrote on this dilemma.

A slice of our Indigenous world

  • The NDN Collective is endorsing the Green New Deal legislation.
  • Interior Secretary Deb Haaland is reversing a series of orders from the previous administration that promoted fossil fuel development.
  • A national Native organization is calling for the inclusion of Urban Indians in an upcoming legislative package.
  • If you’re worried about your heart health, there could be an app for that.
  • An art student’s thesis is taking us back in time to meet her ancestors. 
  • A program premiering on Peacock TV today is co-written by a number of Indigenous writers. 

Find more details on these stories at the top of today's newscast.

Some quotes from today's show.

Jade Begay:

"There's a lot to talk about when it comes to the trajectory of this council. We'll be working with the administration for over the next four years. So the work is very much going to be developing and evolving. But at the core, this council for the first time ever brings the voices and the perspectives and expertise of environmental justice communities into a formal advisory role for the White House."

"I think it's up to groups like NDN collective and and the various many grassroots organizations and also Indigenous led nonprofits to be out in our communities, working at that community and local and grassroots level to make sure that our people, our Native communities and our Indigenous communities are aware of what's happening. And what's moving in in terms of environmental justice and climate action."

Sacheen Littlefeather:

"I think that for now that the inclusion of people of color is just starting to bloom. I think for people of color, we have not had a big inroad until recently. I know in the past, when I was a young person in the media business that Connie Chung, when she was an Asian news anchor for CBS, this was so unusual back in the early seventies that she made the cover of Time magazine."

"The Federal Bureau of investigation led by J. Edgar Hoover was planning on sending everybody who was involved at Wounded Knee to a place like Guantanamo Bay, where they would never be heard from again. And when Marlon decided to mention Wounded Knee at the Academy awards and my delivering the message for him, that broke open that media blackout, because that was the first time in television Academy award history, that that award ceremony was broadcast via satellite throughout the whole world.  

Natasha Brennan:

"Being around family and friends is something that so many of the people that I talked to said that they missed the most. Especially about virtual pow wows. I did talk to some people who've gone to socially distant in-person pow-wows that have been happening. But some of the largest in the nation, like Gathering of Nations which happens this weekend are going to be virtual for a second year. And so that really means connecting on Zoom connecting on Facebook like the Celebrating Life pow wow that happened in Michigan last month, it started on Facebook."

Virtual Powwow preview

"And so many people are saying that they miss their family, they miss their friends and the food, which is something you really can't get with a virtual experience. And all of the organizers that I spoke to are saying that 2022, is their a year, they already have their arenas reserved for next year and our some are even starting to sell tickets. So we're really looking forward to pow wows happening next year and being able to connect in person. But virtual for now seems to be like one of the biggest ways that people are trying to connect."

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Mark Trahant, Shoshone-Bannock, is editor of Indian Country Today. On Twitter: @TrahantReports Trahant is based in Phoenix. 

Patty Talahongva, Hopi, is executive producer of Indian Country Today. Follow her on Twitter: @WiteSpider

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