Welcome to Native ChocTalk

Season 4

Season 4, Episode 11: “Canada’s First Nation Bear Hunter, Brittney (Wasauksing) & husband, Taylor (Haiwatha) Musgrave”

On the beautiful island of Parksville, on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada you’ll find yourself surrounded by breathtaking sandy beaches and the magnificent Insular Mountains.

You’ll also find a fierce bear hunter named Naukwe (Noon Day Woman), who I know as Brittney Musgrave. But Brittney, who is Wasauksing, Ojibway and Cree, doesn’t hunt for sport. She, like her ancestors before her, utilizes many parts of the bear for good use, including making bear grease into a healing treatment for herself and others.

You’ll hear from Brittney and her husband, Taylor (Haiwatha First Nation) about:

  • The benefits of bear grease (including healing for skin rashes, promoting hair growth and more)
  • Okwarì;Kowà* Supplies which offers bear grease, cedar, sweetgrass and more
  • Brittney’s black bear hunts with a compound bow in Ontario (their treaty area)
  • Was Brittney actually charged by a bear once? You’ll just have to listen to find out!
  • How one transports a bear back to their vehicle – one of the answers may surprise you

*Okwarì;Kowà is pronounced “ah-gwari-gowa” and means “big bear”

Yakoke, Brittney and Taylor for sharing about your adventurous world there in Canada and the good healing agents you’re making for others!

Check out Okwarì;Kowà Supplies here: https://www.facebook.com/OkwariKowaSupplies

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Season 4, Episode 10: “Mark Billy, Choctaw Baritone on Shell Shaker, a Chickasaw Opera & the Value of Small Town Roots”

Since season 2, I’ve had the pleasure of following the journey of Shell Shaker, a Chickasaw Opera by Composer, Jerod Impichchaachaaha Tate.

This opera is still being composed, and will be the very first of its kind. Even the libretto is in Chickasaw, and every inch of the production, composition, costuming, etc. is led by Native Americans. The premier date has been changed and the new date will be announced soon. I hope you’ll join me at the premier!

After I interviewed Jerod Impichchaachaaha Tate, I then met with the ever-talented, Kirsten Kunkle and Kate Morton (season 3, episode 11) who will perform leading roles in the opera.

Now, meet Mark Billy - a Choctaw baritone who will also star in the opera and who took some time out of his performance schedule to visit with me. In this episode, we discussed:

  • His fascinating role in Shell Shaker
  • What it means to be a Verdi Baritone
  • Our view on small towns and Wal-Marts
  • His exciting new performance announcement!
  • A harrowing health scare that resulted in Mark losing a year of his life

By the way, we know there are a lot of Choctaws out there with the last name Billy. Feel free to give us a shout if you’re a Billy and want to connect with Mark – he’d love to hear from you!

This unprecedented opera will be a pivotal moment in the Native American arts. I hope you’ll join me in supporting these artists, this composer, and their upcoming performances!

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Season 4, Episode 9: “The Case for American Indians in Space: Dan Hawk (Oneida), Principal Scientist at United First Nations Planetary Defense”

“What might the first World Indigenous Skyworld Space Stations look like? We think in circles with no beginning or end. We go into space as a human right and right of self-determination. We go into space for development, exploration, and cultural preservation.”

These are the words and the vision of my guest, Dan Hawk of the Oneida Nation, and Principal Scientist at United First Nations Planetary Defense who answers the question for me, “Why should Native Americans go into space?” The answer goes well beyond going to the moon and to Mars and beyond. This is about helping national security and all Indigenous populations. A program for Native Americans in space is the way into space for other communities as well. And Dan is pioneering the way for such a program for our Indigenous people.

Today, you’ll hear from Dan about:

  • Who owns space
  • The Oneida people
  • Stories of Dan’s ancestors
  • What is “space sovereignty”
  • United First Nations Planetary Defense
  • Growing up on the Oneida Reservation in Wisconsin
  • A view of the dust bowl you may not have heard about
  • The story about what inspired Dan to go into his profession
  • Dan’s work with NASA, his support of the Montana Space Grant, and more
  • The story of the Golden Eagle Rocket that’s now in the Smithsonian institute
  • How an American Indian space program can help Missing & Murdered Indigenous People

Check out these links:

Yakoke, Dan for your commitment to sovereignty for Native Americans beyond the boundaries of earth.

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Season 4, Episode 8: "Chief Gary Batton on Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma’s Latest News"

I’m incredibly proud to be a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. But I’m even prouder when I reach out to our Chief and he’s willing to share with us about the latest goals and the future of our tribe!

Chief Gary Batton and I met in Hugo, Oklahoma to talk about:

  • This year’s election
  • Future plans for the tribe
  • Upcoming capital projects
  • Choctaw Nation’s Cultural goals
  • Conversations with Governor Stitt
  • The LEAP program (lease to purchase)
  • The latest on the aftermath of McGirt vs Oklahoma
  • The excitement & info around the upcoming new Choctaw Landing gaming resort in Hochatown
  • I asked how he does it all, being constantly on the go (you’ll be interested to hear his answer when I asked how many hours of sleep he actually gets!)

Yakoke, Chief for being transparent and forthright with us. We appreciate your many hard hours and care and concern for the Choctaw people. God bless!

Link to the LEAP program: https://www.choctawnation.com/services/?_sft_category=housing

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Season 4, Episode 7: “Another Fascinating New Look at Our Choctaw History by the Decade: Megan Baker (Choctaw), Historic Preservation Dept., Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma”

In season 2, episode 18, I got together with Megan Baker from the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Historic Preservation Department. We talked through her extensive work in tracing the history of our Choctaw people, decade by decade, in monthly articles of the Iti Fabvssa in our Choctaw paper called Biskinik.

Back by popular demand, and here to share more insights about our Choctaw history - welcome back Megan!

We left off last time in the 1900s at a time when President Theodore Roosevelt made it known that Oklahoma and Indian Territories would enter the Union as a single state (rather than two), as had been proposed. With this, Indian Territory faced a future in which they would be enjoined with Oklahoma Territory.

The next few decades were crucial. You’ve got statehood and life for the Choctaw after land allotments, a fight against termination of sovereignty and more.

You’ll also hear more about:

  • Megan playing stickball in front of the Eifel Tower. What? Yep!
  • What homestead vs. surplus meant, land restrictions, per capita payments, guardians, land allotments, the Indian New Deal, the Indian Welfare Act, taxation and more
  • The Oklahoma Land Run
  • Sonic Drive-In, and how their headquarters being in Oklahoma is significant to us Okies
  • Chief Belvin (bless his heart)
  • Why Carl Albert was underestimated (and why Megan is a nerd and is his #1 fan)
  • The newsletter called “Hello Choctaw” and how it helped to maintain Choctaw sovereignty
  • The Bingo Palace (and should Megan and Rachael start their own bingo hall?)
  • The history of gaming in Choctaw nation

Yakoke, Megan for your expertise, and I’ll be gathering some materials in case you’d like to open that bingo hall with me!

Check out Choctaw Nation’s Biskinik paper online where you can find the Iti Fabvssa articles that feature Megan and other wonderful Choctaw Nation Writers at: https://www.choctawnation.com/biskinik-archives/

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Native ChocTalk
Native ChocTalk is an informative and educational podcast and resource center.


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