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'They make these stories sing'

Today in our roundtable discussion we talk with three authors about what it takes to create whole worlds in their work. Plus we’ll take one more look at the Indigenous athletes who competed in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Erika T. Wurth, Apache, Chickasaw and Cherokee, is professor of creative writing at Western Illinois University. She is the author of one previous novel, Crazy Horse's Girlfriend; two collections of poetry, Indian Trains and A Thousand Horses Out to Sea; and a collection of short stories, Buckskin Cocaine.

David Heska Wanbli Weiden, Sicangu Lakota, is author of the novel Winter Counts. He is nominated for the 2021 Edgar Award for best first novel, as well as the Anthony, Lefty, Barry, Macavity, Shamus, Hammett Prize, VCU Cabell, Reading the West, High Plains, and Colorado Book Award. 

Kelli Jo Ford, Cherokee, is author of Crooked Hallelujah. She is the recipient of the Paris Review’s Plimpton Prize, the Everett Southwest Literary Award, the Katherine Bakeless Nason Award at Bread Loaf, a National Artist Fellowship by the Native Arts & Cultures Foundation, and a Dobie Paisano Fellowship. 

This year a record number of Indigenous athletes qualified for and then competed in the summer Olympics. Mohawks, Native Hawaiians, Maori and Aboriginals traveled to Tokyo to compete in an Olympics that was like no other. Dan Ninham, Oneida, joins us today to give us a breakdown of how the Indigenous athletes competed at these games.

Indigenous Olympians bring home the medals
— Indigenous athletes ring up Olympic wins

A slice of our Indigenous world

  • The Northern Cheyenne Tribe in Montana is under a State of Emergency due to wildfires. 
  • The head of the U.S. Energy Department is visiting New Mexico to promote renewable energy initiatives. 
  • You’ve probably heard the saying, “it takes money to make money,” and it’s true. That’s where, in some cases, venture capital firms come in. Aliyah Chavez has more. 
  • This year marks the 500th anniversary of Mexican independence and this year the focus is on the country’s Indigenous cultures.

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

Thank you for watching!

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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.

Aliyah Chavez, Kewa Pueblo, is a reporter-producer at Indian Country Today. Follow her on Twitter: @aliyahjchavez or email her at

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