Welcome to Native ChocTalk

Season 1

Season 1 Episode 3: Chief Gary Batton on our Choctaw History, Heroes, and the Choctaw Spirit


In this week’s episode, I’m coming to you from the stunning Choctaw Headquarters in Durant, Oklahoma where I had the pleasure of interviewing our Chief of the Choctaw Nation, Gary Batton!

Chief Batton shares about some of the tragedies he has faced in his life and how his outlook and faith helped him to become what he is today.

And we’ll talk about faith, family and culture –  the “Choctaw spirit of looking to a better tomorrow”.

You’ll also hear about our unsung heroes - the Choctaw Code Talkers and how the Choctaw people helped during the Irish Famine.

And finally, we’ll discuss the Chahta Foundation which promotes education, wellness and tradition (see more information on my website and on my Native Choctalk Facebook page) which is a valuable resource for our tribal members.

I was thrilled for the opportunity to meet with the Chief, but what I didn’t anticipate was that our conversation would be more than just an interview. The Chief leads by example, living in positivity and faith and I personally walked away feeling encouraged, inspired and prouder than ever to be Choctaw. No matter your tribal affiliation or ethnicity, I hope you’ll also come away from this episode feeling the Choctaw spirit in your life!



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Season 1 Episode 2: Murder in Osage County: Mike Mushulatubbe, Choctaw


In 1928 a Chief of the Osage said, “Someday this oil will go and there will be no more fat checks every few months from the Great White Father. There'll be no fine motorcars and new clothes. Then I know my people will be happier.”

There’s a much-anticipated movie premiering in 2022 called Killers of the Flower Moon, directed and produced by Martin Scorsese, starring Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio and a whole cast of Native Americans such as Lily Gladstone, Tantoo Cardinal (Dances with Wolves), Nathaniel Arcand (Homeland) and more.

This movie is extremely significant for the Native American community in that an incredibly atrocious, yet vital story of the Osage is brought to light that is representative of way too many stories of our Native communities. But it’s also significant in that it’s one of the few movies that actually includes Indigenous people (finally!) and it’s being filmed in Oklahoma (finally, again!), in the areas where the incident took place.

The movie is based on the book, Killers of the Flower Moon and covers a time in the 1920s in what is known as “the Reign of Terror” in Osage County, Oklahoma.

During that time, with their rich mineral rights, the Osage reservation brought in $27 million a year via their 8,000+ wells. The tribe would distribute royalties from the profit to each Osage allottee which was called a headright. It was reported that with this newfound wealth, each Osage had approximately 11 cars, as well as servants, chauffeurs and mansions. Unfortunately, there were people out there who wanted a piece of that wealth and soon, many of the Osage went missing.

Listen to this week’s episode of Native ChocTalk where I talk with an extra from the movie, Mike Mushulatubbe Simpson, Choctaw. Mike is loved by everyone he meets and he himself is a great storyteller. I hope you’ll enjoy hearing from Mike about a statement Leonardo Di Caprio made during filming, about the interesting stories of the various Native Americans he met while on set. You’ll also learn about the background of this heartbreaking story of the Osage.

For those who haven’t heard the story, who do you think was responsible for possibly hundreds of murders among the tribe? Be sure to write to me on Facebook – I want to hear your take!


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Season 1 Episode 1: Captured by the Comanche, Lonnie Henderson

It’s our first episode ever, y’all! And I couldn’t be prouder to present to you this highly decorated Comanche and friend, Lonnie Henderson. Lonnie shares about his fascinating ancestral history in this episode, Captured by the Comanche. And because you can’t talk Comanche without mentioning Quanah Parker, we’ll cover some of the important aspects of his life and place in history.

And don’t forget to check us out on Facebook for photos and more information! https://www.facebook.com/nativechoctalkpodcast

Yakoke and thanks for listening! 


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S2 E21, “From Red Dirt to Mechanical Engineer: Phil Cross, Kadohadacho (Caddo); Guest Appearance by Lowell Edmonds, Caddo.”

Native ChocTalk presents: 

Native ChocTalk presents: “From Red Dirt to Mechanical Engineer: Phil Cross, Kadohadacho (Caddo); Guest Appearance by Lowell Edmonds, Caddo.”

He was raised in a home with no electricity and no running water on his family’s Indian allotment land in western Oklahoma – out where that bright red dirt could both stain your clothes and, in some ways, stir that Okie pride.

And not only that, but this lucky fellow also had the pleasure of living on land that sat on top of an ancient village that dated back to 1,000 AD. When the rains came, the layers of dirt would wash away, revealing gifts of pottery, arrowheads and more from long ago.

From red dirt, ancient-village-country-living to Mechanical Engineer specializing in aerodynamics, my guest’s stories do not disappoint!

I’d like to introduce you to Phil Cross - a historian, lecturer, Caddo traditional songs and dances lead singer, author, drummer, woodworker, flute maker and much more. And may I also point out, he’s from my hometown of Anadarko, Oklahoma (he gets extra points for that).

In this episode you’ll hear about:
• How Phil’s dad was born on their allotment in western Oklahoma in a dug-out house
• How he’s one of the only remaining experts that can build a koo hoot kiwat (Caddo grass-thatched house)
• His bow-and-arrow-making skills, using bodark wood (also known as Osage Orange)
• The Caddo’s Turkey Dance (in fact, you’ll also hear from Caddo, Lowell Edmonds on the subject as well)
• How his father played on the Haskell Indian football team
• His greatest regrets and words of wisdom for young men
• How Phil produced and wrote a documentary called “Disinherited: Caddo Indians Loss of their Homelands” about the removal of Caddos from their ancient homelands to their reservation in Oklahoma.
• How he’s related to Jim Thorpe!
• The Caddos’ battles with the Osage

Also, be sure to check out Phil’s website, “Chronicles of the American Indian” where you’ll find information on his archery book, his book about allotments, and more: https://chronicles-american-indian.company.site/

Yakoke, Phil for all your expertise and allowing us to learn more from you!

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S2, E20, “The Voice of the Chahta Taloa (Choctaw Song): Sarah De Herrera, Okla Chahta Clan of California”

Native ChocTalk presents: “The Voice of the Chahta Taloa (Choctaw Song): Sarah De Herrera, Okla Chahta Clan of California”

The Trail of Tears…it’s the story of heartbreak and sorrow for those who didn’t survive, as well as for those who did. And for us as descendants of the survivors, when we hear the phrase, “Trail of Tears” we are immediately taken to a place of mourning for those who suffered.

Yet, the Choctaw are known for their generosity, kindness, and strength. You’ll hear many Choctaws speak about this tragic event, but you’ll also hear about how today, we celebrate resiliency and survival. As much as there is acknowledgement of this tragedy, there’s also much hope and inspiration - this is truly the Choctaw way.

And such a story of inspiration was told by observers who recounted that as the Choctaw made their arduous journey, an unlikely sound could be heard sweeping through the trees – singing! Beautiful singing of Choctaw hymns, filled with courage and nostalgia, emanated from these weary travelers’ voices. How did they find such strength? How was it even possible to sing during the worst of times?  

Today, the Choctaw still gather at churches on Sundays and at special events, sharing their sacred and historical hymns. There are a few recordings of these lovely traditional songs. And I’d like to introduce you to a very talented woman, doing her part to preserve ALL of the Choctaw hymns. And when I say “all”, I mean all 163 of them – a feat that has never been attempted before!

My guest today, Sarah De Herrera is on a mission to record all 163 Choctaw hymns but it’s for more than just preservation. Her mission is to bring healing for generational trauma, through those hymns that were sung along the Trail of Tears and beyond.

You’ll love this episode, as you’ll not only hear Sarah singing some lovely songs in the Choctaw language, but you’ll also hear about:

  • The significance of a preacher named Cyrus Byington
  • The life of a Choctaw princess – it’s not as easy as you may think!
  • The story of her grandpa and the pucker-toed moccasins
  • Interesting stories written about her ancestor, Willie Spring

By the way, if there are any Usray or Spring or Fisher folks out there, let us know! Sarah is on the hunt to find more of her ancestors’ descendants.

Yakoke, Sarah!

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