Welcome to Native ChocTalk

Season 1

S2, Ep2 “Chief Mushulatubbee and the Traditional vs Progressive Struggle: Steven Hunter Oklatubee, Choctaw”

Buckle up, y’all. Because today you’re going to study with me about a time in history when the entire future of our Indigeneous people had come to a crossroads that depended upon crucial decisions. Would each tribe fight for the right to stay in the land of their ancestors? Or would they succumb to the pressures of colonization and the removal to the new, unknown lands of Indian Territory.

These decisions, which could mean life or death for many or all, were the burden of every Chief.

No one personifies this pivotal moment more than the man some described as, the “Last great chief of the Choctaw.” His name was Mushulatubbee. And my guest, Dr. Steven Hunter Oklatubee, is the fifth great grandson of this great “Minco” (or “Chief”, in Choctaw). Steven presents his extensive research and his paper about this Minco, who was tasked with balancing the elements of an ever-changing world that would change the tribe’s way of life forever.

What would become of his tribe’s traditional ways – those of their ancestors who were born of Nanih Waiya (meaning “leaning hill”, which many Choctaw believed was from which their people were born)? Or, if they adopted this new progressive way of life, endorsed by the newest generations of the tribes, would they face the destruction of their centuries old culture and traditions? There is much to be uncovered here.

Steven and I couple this intense topic, however with some much needed relief, discussing Steven’s goats (yes, goats) and well, my lack of being able to pronounce a few tongue-twisting words. It was a long day, y’all so this one was chalked full of bloopers that I edited out, but I may reveal someday in the future.

Chief Mushulatubbee is someone you need to know – and despite our bloopers, you’ll appreciate Steven’s great work to understand and preserve the life and trials of this leader who deserves to have his story told. And perhaps a new appreciation will be born for the hundreds of Mincos who suffered under the tremendous burden of decisions during these times.

May they never be forgotten…

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S2, E1, Part 2: “Rachael Youngman, Part 2, 1896 – A Year to Forget”

WELCOME to Season 2 of Native Choctalk, A Podcast by Natives For All!

My Producer and friend, Bee will be interviewing me in this 2nd of a 2 part series. I am honored to openly share in this episode about my ancestral stories, following the lineage of my great grandmother Ella, starting with her mother, Rosa Coley. I say “openly share”, because for too long, our ancestors were told to “be quiet”, to not speak their language and to disown their culture and traditions. I hope in some small way to be my ancestors' voice today, to keep their memories alive and to honor their journey.

You’ll hear about the journey of my Coley family, who were outstanding and prominent citizens in their Choctaw community. Yet, in the year 1896, with the fate of one single decision, their lives would change forever, and generations to come would stare poverty, loss, abuse and death in the face.

My family members endured the same story as many American Indians did in the 1800s and early 1900s, very similar to what you may have read in the book, Killers of the Flower Moon. Guardians with ill intent were given full rein to take on their wards’ Indian land allotments. And in my family’s case, these minors were treated as slaves and suffered unspeakable abuse.

We’ll also take a trip back to that excruciating time when the Choctaw were forced to leave everything behind in their Mississippi ancestral lands, and begin a journey by foot, hundreds of miles toward their new home in Indian Territory. You’ll hear what many of our Native ancestors experienced before, during and after that journey (which is now called the “Trail of Tears”).

Yet even in the midst of such sorrow, resiliency and faith and sheer Okie red dirt grit held this tight-knit family together. 1896 may have knocked some down, but they were not out, and they found strength in family and in rebuilding together.

The information I’ll be sharing is near and dear to my heart, and is a result of 12 years of research, many all-nighter research binges and following “rabbit holes” down any and every historical avenue I could discover.

Bee and I enjoyed recording these 2 episodes - we can’t seem to get together without laughing and carrying on. However, although we may occasionally burst into friendship mode and a laugh or two, we do care deeply about the people we’re discussing, and we take the issues at hand seriously.

I thank you for helping me to honor my ancestors as I keep their memories and stories alive today.

And yakoke to my ancestors for choosing to carry on, despite such hardships, and for living the example of strength and resiliency by which we, your descendants can forever be inspired.


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“Rachael Youngman, Part 1, The Choctaw Girl from Hog Creek”

WELCOME to Season 2 of Native Choctalk, A Podcast by Natives For All!

I’d like to thank each and every one of you who listened in Season 1 and supported this effort to preserve our American Indian stories, history, culture and traditions. I’m grateful and thankful for you and for my incredible guests!

And, in order to take my own advice about preserving stories, today’s episode is in 2 parts and it’s about my own story as well as that of my ancestors. And at the beginning of next season in the fall of 2022, I’ll go into parts 3 and 4 of this series.

Since I thought interviewing myself would be a little strange, my Producer, Bee is going to do the honors. I can’t imagine a world without Bee – she’s not just the gal who edits and posts the episodes to the podcast platforms, she’s my dear friend. So, I’m excited to introduce you to her and I think you’ll be inspired to hear some of her story too while we’re at it.

Bee and I enjoyed working together to recording these episodes - we can’t seem to get together without laughing and carrying on. However, although we may occasionally burst into friendship mode and a laugh or two, we do care deeply about and honor the people we’re talking about, and we take the issues at hand very seriously.

In this first of 2 parts in this series, Bee interviews me about growing up as 1 of 3 “feral” children in the country way out in Hog Creek, miles outside of Anadarko, Oklahoma.

You’ll hear about our making our clothes, growing our food and homeschooling (and why the Wal-Mart was a crucial part of our social life), and how squishy potato bugs, bull nettles, tornadoes and guinea birds were out to kill us.

And I’ll share the raw truth about the challenges that came later as I navigated life as a divorced, single mom, how giving up wasn’t an option, why it took 11 years for me to finish my degree, the inspiration I found in my favorite Bible verse and how it prompted this Okie girl to pull herself up by her bootstraps.

And listeners, be sure to keep an eye out for “Rachael Youngman, Part 2, 1896 – A Year to Forget”, coming up next!

Yakoke (thanks) to Chihowa (God) and to my chukka achvffa (family) for loving and supporting me. (And mamma, thanks for putting up with us feral children – you deserve an award!)

Chahta sia hoke!

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Season 3, Episode 11: "Researching Your Native American Roots with Gwen TakesHorse (Chickasaw & Choctaw)"

“Indian Makes Attempt to Kill”. That’s the newspaper article heading I mentioned a few years back in the Facebook group, “Indian Territory and Oklahoma History” in order to share about my Uncle Cicero Coley shooting through the window of his white guardian’s house in an attempt to kill him for stealing his land allotments.

I had come to what I thought was the end of my years of research about my Coley family members and I hoped that perhaps this last-ditch attempt might spur some interest. Wouldn’t you know, it worked! A distant cousin of mine reached out to me and introduced me to another cousin, uncovering some missing pieces to my family story puzzle.

(I’m still looking for more Coley family members so if you know of any Choctaw Coleys, please reach out to me!)

Tracing lineage and finding the history and stories of our American Indian ancestors is quite the challenge. But today my guest is here to bring you (and me) some hope. Meet my guest, Gwen Takes Horse, a Genealogist at Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma who’s here to help us understand how to trace our Native roots!

The information Gwen shares is not just for Choctaws – it can apply to several other tribes. And she also has some good tips for us in general that can apply to anyone.

Take a listen, y’all and feel free to share your family stories with us if you’d like – we love to hear them!

If you’re Choctaw, the Choctaw Nation Genealogy Department can be reached by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 800-522-6170 (ask for the Genealogy Department).

Check out the group I mention in the episode: Indian Territory and Early Oklahoma History, 1800 - 1957: https://www.facebook.com/groups/687213838053719

Tracing your Native American roots:
National Indian Law Library: https://narf.org/nill/resources/roots.html
Ancestry.com Research: https://support.ancestry.com/s/article/Researching-Native-American-Ancestors
Dawes rolls: https://www.okhistory.org/research/dawes
American Indian Records & Resources: https://www.okhistory.org/research/americanindians
Ancestry: https://www.ancestry.com/
Newspapers: https://www.newspapers.com/
Fold3: https://www.fold3.com/?group=1
Family Tree: https://www.familytree.com/

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Season 3, Episode 10: “The 3 Native Sopranos (or 2 Sopranos & a 3rd Wheel): Dr. Kirsten C. Kunkle (Muskogee) & Kate Raquel Morton (Cherokee)”

In season 2, episode 10, I interviewed Composer, Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate about his upcoming and unprecedented opera, “Shell Shaker, a Chickasaw Opera”, the first opera ever written in the Chickasaw language.

And now I’d like to introduce you to 2 award-winning Native opera singers who you’ll find performing in that upcoming opera, February of 2023 at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA

• Dr. Kirsten C. Kunkle (Muskogee) is a Spinto Soprano, Composer, and Artistic Director and Co-Founder of the Wilmington Concert Opera. Listen here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lfDoSR6Jkg

• Kate Raquel Morton (Cherokee) recently graduated from Oklahoma City University and is a Lyric Mezzo-Soprano. Listen here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjCNN-3UuaQ

As someone who used to sing opera myself, I suggested we 3 share our favorite opera picks for someone who’s just getting their feet wet in the genre (search on YouTube for the following):

Kirsten’s Picks:
• Opera: Amahl and the Night Visitors by Gian Carlo Menotti
• Opera: La Boheme by Giacomo Puccini
• Opera: Carmen by Georges Bizet

Kate’s Picks:
• Opera: Le nozze di Figaro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with Isabel Leonard as Cherubino
• Opera Singer: Jessye Norman

Rachael’s Picks:
• Aria (song): Nessun dorma from Turandot by Giacomo Puccini, sung by Luciano Pavarotti
• Opera Singer: Beverly Sills

In this episode, you’ll hear about:
• Intermountain Opera Bozeman: https://www.intermountainopera.org/
• Kate’s foil fencing, Cherokee language speaking, guitar playing, the fact that she’s an “Okie from Muskogee” and the one thing she cannot do
• Kirsten and Kate’s own Muskogee and Cherokee family histories
• Baby Diva (a force to be reconned with)
• Yellowstone’s 150 year anniversary in which Kate sang and Kirsten wrote and performed a piece called “Reclaim the Land”.

To learn more, check out:
• Kirsten: https://www.wilmingtonconcertopera.com/
• Kate: https://www.kateraquelmorton.com
• Jerod: https://www.facebook.com/jerodtate

Yakoke, y’all!

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