Welcome to Native ChocTalk
History and Mission
My great grandmother, Ella was known for her sweetness and the time and devotion that she gave her family. With her frail brown hands, she’d make lovely items such as crocheted doilies and table runners – we still hold those creations as treasures today. But behind her kind Choctaw eyes, her memory held a story so gruesome that only a few of us knew the full extent of her past.
Many years, ago, one of my sisters wrote a paper in college about Ella’s history. Years later, I was reading that school assignment and decided to dig deeper into Ella and her ancestors’ pasts. What I found was both horrifying and inspiring, and yet knowing my grandmother and her positive and strong spirit, I never would have guessed how much evil and heartbreak she had faced in her lifetime.
Ella was sold into slavery by her mother at age 3, joining her aunts and uncles who were also slaves to one of Indian Territory’s (now Oklahoma) wealthiest white land owners. She spoke of leaping onto her big white horse as a teenager and riding off into the pasture as fast as she could make her horse go. Her guardian would tell her to slow down but she defiantly refused the advice. Ella told us it was the only time she truly felt free and confident. I somehow feel connected to that story. It gives me strength to know if she could live through her abuse, then I can face anything.
But what if my great grandmother hadn’t told us some of her stories? What if my sister hadn’t taken the first step to record Ella’s history? What if I hadn’t spent the last 10+ years researching and coming face-to-face with a history that many want to forget? Ella’s story would have been dust in the wind (along with the thousands of other Native Americans’ stories that are already gone).
I hope to make these stories come to life and to preserve them for future generations to listen, learn and grow. It’s the least that can be done for a people who were nearly wiped out in a genocide of which we know very little. Who better to keep these stories and our heritage, culture and history alive than our Native American communities? That’s why I created Native ChocTalk, a Podcast by Natives for All.
Thank you for honoring our ancestors by listening and we hope you will learn from and enjoy Native ChocTalk!
To create an opportunity for Native Americans to share and record the incredibly crucial stories of our ancestors so that these stories live on for generations to come.