Welcome to Native ChocTalk

Season 1

Season 1, Episode 17: “Steve & Seba Discuss Their New Book, “The Native American Contest Powwow: Cultural Tethering Theory”

Public Service Announcement: Y’all have to check out the Choctaw Powwow, coming up Dec 4th and 5th, 2021 in Durant, Oklahoma! You’ll get to experience the Dancer Contest, Drum Contest, Pow Wow Stickball Exhibition games and good fellowship. Feel free to post photos to my Native ChocTalk Facebook page if you get to go! 


And now, about today’s episode. Did you grow up going to contest powwows? Did you join others in the arena, the sound of drums pounding, everyone dancing in brilliantly colored regalia in a tribute to their ancestors?

Or have you attended without joining in? Have you always wanted to go to a powwow but were intimidated by the idea?

There’s no better time than now to understand the contest powwow, whether you’re planning to go the Choctaw Powwow or you’ve been attending for years but would like to hear an interesting perspective.

My guests, Dr. Steven Aicinena and Dr. Seba Ziyanak share details from their new book, “The Native American Contest Powwow: Cultural Tethering Theory” and I think you’ll find it fascinating and informative. You’ll learn about:

  • Why the powwows are actually crucial (not just social)
  • Can contest dancing be considered a sport?
  • The “stranger viewpoint” on powwows (observances by non-Natives)
  • Comparison of powwows to other cultures globally
  • Traditional powwows vs contest powwows
  • Are the contests spiritual or just for competition?

Let me know what you think and yakoke!

Season 1, Episode 17:Steve & Seba Discuss Their New Book, “The Native American Contest Powwow: Cultural Tethering Theory”:

All Podcast Episodes: https://nativechoctalk.com/podcasts/

Season 1, Episode 16: “Jim Thorpe – Great American Athlete (and Native Superhero)”

Life didn’t set him up for success. He didn’t have a wealthy upbringing, he suffered great loss many times over, he didn’t come from a long line of famous athletes. Nope. In fact, he was an American Indian - the most discarded race in America.


What transformed this despised Indian into a super star athlete (or as I call him, a Native “superhero”)? How did he go from discarded, to receiving gifts from the Czar of Russia and the King of Sweden and even his body being fought over after his death?

To the surprise of the world, this multi-talented athlete became a track star and also found success playing football for the New York Giants, rushing 191 times for 1,869 yards and also took on baseball, batting .252 in 289 games for the Cincinnati Reds and Boston Braves.

The Associated Press named him “the greatest American football player” for the first half of the century. In 1999 he was listed as the top three athletes of the century alongside Babe Ruth and Michael Jordan.

ESPN deemed him the 7th best North American Athlete of the Century.

His name is Jim Thorpe. And in 1912, this Native triumphantly bolted into his sports career by winning the Decathlon AND the Pentathlon at the Stockholm Olympics with 8,146 points (today’s current highest score is 9,126). One of his teammates once described him as “an oak tree doing a hundred yards in 10 seconds”.

But the journey was not easy. I sat down with Ashley Scott, Curator at the Jim Thorpe Home in Yale, Oklahoma to hear more about this Native American superhero - his success, the obstacles he overcame and the inspiration he brings to all people from all races and backgrounds!

Season 1, Episode 16: “Jim Thorpe – Great American Athlete (and Native Superhero)”

Listen-on-Spotify Listen-on-Apple-Podcasts-300x108-1 Listen-on-Soundcloud-300x109-1 Listen-On-Podbean

Season 1, Episode 15: “Jones Academy, Choctaw Nation Boarding School: Patrick Moore, (Pawnee) Discusses the Other Side of the Story”

In this episode of Native ChocTalk, my sister and I traveled to beautiful eastern Oklahoma to visit a friend of mine, Patrick Moore, Superintendent of the Choctaw Nation’s boarding school, Jones Academy in Hartshorne, Oklahoma.

Jones Academy is located at the base of the beautiful Pocahontas Mountains, surrounded by rolling hills and trees as far as the eye can see – a perfect place for this boarding school. This establishment serves Native American students from around the country who wish to continue learning about their culture, language and traditions while being surrounded by Native peers and the pleasing hills of eastern Oklahoma.

I wanted to introduce you listeners to Patrick so he can shed light on the fact that there are some excellent Native boarding schools in existence today. Considering the horrid treatment and cultural genocide of thousands of American Indian children over the years finally coming to light and flooding the news, I think it’s also important that we educate ourselves on the other side of the story too.

Although we mourn the atrocities that occurred and we certainly will never forget the injustices, I hope we will also recognize that boarding schools like Jones Academy are a far cry from the schools of yesteryear and are crucial establishments and an incredible experience for our Native children. It’s a place they can go to be surrounded by kids from 20 different tribes, and to continue their education around their own culture. There is much more to this other side of the story, so I hope you’ll take a listen!

In addition, you may recall episode 7, season 1, “Francine Locke Bray, Choctaw Ponies - the Unsung Heroes of the Trail of Tears” in which we talk about the history of the Choctaw ponies. After my sister and I interviewed Ms. Francine, we drove on over to Hartshorne to hear more from Patrick about Jones Academy and to see the Choctaw ponies in person! Listen to that episode here: https://tinyurl.com/fwm5aeca

Patrick specifically wanted me to invite you, our listeners to support the school and to visit Jones Academy any time – he’ll roll out the red carpet for ya’ and show you around. So come to Hartshorne, Oklahoma, check out that Native southern hospitality and truly get to know about the few remaining boarding schools that exist today to serve our Native children.



Season 1, Episode 14: “Choctaw Nation’s Chief Gary Batton & Tribal Prosecutor, Kara Bacon on McGirt vs. Oklahoma and About Tribal Government”


“The most impactful part of this decision was Justice Gorsuch saying, ‘On the far end of the Trail of Tears there was a promise’. And I think every Native that read that felt like, hey it’s about time. The US government is now going to be held to the treaties they made with our First Nations when they removed our people from their homelands”. – Kara Bacon

In 1989, a Seminole man named Jimcy McGirt, was convicted of child sexual abuse and in 1997, he was convicted of sex crimes against a 4-year-old child. A chain of events resulted that would affect the Native American world forever. Because McGirt was on Native (Creek/Muskogee) land when he committed the act, his lawyers argued on May 11th, 2020 that because of the Indian Major Crimes Act, he should be tried in federal court (rather than by the state). Hear the oral argument (left side of the page) here: https://www.oyez.org/cases/2019/18-9526

Friends, on July 9th, 2020, THE single most extraordinary and unprecedented Supreme Court decision in our lifetime was made for Native country. It was decided in McGirt vs. Oklahoma that Creek Nation lands would remain “Indian Country” jurisdiction. And other tribes would soon follow. This was a win – a big win!

But as much as we celebrated this victory, we also simultaneously thought, “But what does it really mean - for us as Natives, for our tribe, for our justice system, for our healthcare and so on?”

To squelch the confusion, I’ve called in the best of the best – our Choctaw Nation Chief, Gary Batton and Tribal Prosecutor, Kara Bacon. It’s important for everyone, but especially we as Chahtas to comprehend what all of this means. I highly recommend taking time to listen and soak it all in.

High fives to us all – to Indian country, to our ancestors and to our future generations who will hopefully carry the torch even further. Chahta sia hoke!

Season 1, Episode 14: “Choctaw Nation’s Chief Gary Batton & Tribal Prosecutor, Kara Bacon on McGirt vs. Oklahoma and About Tribal Government”

All Podcast Episodes: https://nativechoctalk.com/podcasts/


Listen-on-Spotify Listen-on-Apple-Podcasts-300x108-1 Listen-on-Soundcloud-300x109-1 Listen-On-Podbean

Season 1, Episode 13: “National Native American Heritage Month & Preserving the Stories of Those Who Came Before Us: Seth Fairchild, Choctaw”

“Cicero shot him”, Ella stated, as her declining 91-year-old mind recalled memories aloud from her childhood. She was near death now, preparing to go home to her Creator, but not without first reliving the event that had occurred when she was just 7 years old. She was a child, too young to comprehend why Cicero would shoot “him". But who was Cicero? And who was the “him” of which she spoke?

Ella eventually peacefully passed on, her family mourning the loss of this sweet matriarch. But this great loss also included her stories leaving with her forever…or maybe not. It would be 12 years following her death that the story of Cicero was resurrected, the mystery of his victim unraveled and the beginning of a fascinating historical journey.

Ella was my great grandmother and although she’s no longer with us, I’ve made it my mission to ensure the precious stories of her life live on.

Keeping history like this alive is why Native ChocTalk exists today. It’s officially Native American Heritage Month and I’m grateful in this latest episode to partner with Seth Fairchild – a man also on a mission to preserve our Native stories via the Choctaw Nation’s Chahta Foundation.

In this episode, you’ll hear about:

  • Ella’s mystery of Cicero solved and how it led to a family united
  • The mission of the Chahta Foundation
  • A new idea for your family over the holidays (hint: sit down and record their stories!)
  • How to best preserve your family stories
  • Tips on researching your ancestry
  • My own ancestral recording mishap (whoops!)
  • A real-life story of how making a fool of yourself can open the doors to your ancestral history
  • My never-ending quest to find Coleys and Cannards
  • Beautiful flute music by my sister as we take a moment to honor those who came before us

Friends, even if you’re not American Indian, Seth and I would like to invite you, our listeners to join us in preserving YOUR family’s history and stories!

We’re cheering you on and feel free to share your family history with us on my Native ChocTalk Facebook page – we’d love to hear from you! https://www.facebook.com/nativechoctalkpodcast

Chahta Foundation: https://chahtafoundation.com/

Season 1, Episode 13: “National Native American Heritage Month & Preserving the Stories of Those Who Came Before Us: Seth Fairchild, Choctaw”: post episode

All Podcast Episodes: https://nativechoctalk.com/podcasts/


Listen-on-Spotify Listen-on-Apple-Podcasts-300x108-1 Listen-on-Soundcloud-300x109-1 Listen-On-Podbean
Native ChocTalk
Native ChocTalk is an informative and educational podcast and resource center.


Be A Sponsor

To be a sponsor, contact Rachael Youngman at [email protected]