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Season 4

Season 4, Episode 3: “Three Cheers for the Yurok Tribe’s Linda Cooley, CEO of Mad River Brewing Company!”

Meet Linda Cooley (Yurok tribe), CEO of Mad River Brewing Company in beautiful Blue Lake, California!

And look out, world – because this American Indian CEO is out to help her tribe and the planet too.

After profitability, Linda set out to put a portion of Mad River Brewing funds to good use by helping her Yurok Nation and the land in the area. For instance, their Undammed Seltzer promotes the removal of dams in Native country. This effort resulted in the largest undamming in history, with hopes of restoring the salmon spawning grounds back to their original glory. Mad River also partners with California State Parks for good causes so take a listen to hear more!

We all know there is great sensitivity around substance abuse in our Native American population, and I took this factor into consideration when contemplating this episode. Linda herself experienced the detrimental effects of her father’s addiction, and she determined to utilize her work in the beverage industry to bring awareness to the topic, while also doing good for her tribe and community.

In this episode, you’ll also hear about:

  • Linda’s family and ancestral stories
  • How Linda got started in the industry
  • Tourism being an economic driver in Native country
  • The Yurok tribe and the challenges the brewery is trying to help solve
  • Mad River Brewing’s intertribal partnerships
  • Linda’s first pitch with Mad River Brewery’s partner, the San Francisco Giants
  • The brewery’s gold-winning brews

Mad River Brewing is family and dog-friendly (yay!), has live music and some of the best BBQ on the planet!

Linda is on a mission to do good in an unexpected way, with results that are actually working. Her strong leadership skills, determination to make change, and care for her tribe and surroundings is a legacy many can only hope to leave behind.

Yakoke, Linda for all you’re doing and for making Indian country proud – cheers to you!

Please consider supporting Mad River Brewing by liking and sharing their page at: https://www.facebook.com/madriverbrewing

Website: https://www.madriverbrewing.com/.

Native ChocTalk Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/nativechoctalkpodcast

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

Season 4, Episode 2: Chairman Andrew Alejandre (Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians) & How an Indian Taco Sale Restored Tribal Sovereignty

This is the story of the resurrection of a tribe who had lost its sovereignty and ultimately, its hope. It’s the story of a retired elder who had a vision and devoted his remaining years to bringing the tribe back to its glory.

It’s also the story of a young new Chairman who led a tribe from corrupt and chaotic leadership to flourishment and victory.

Today, you’ll hear the inspiring story of Andrew (Dru) Alejandre, Tribal Chairman of the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki, and Board Chairman of Tepa LLC.

(“Chairman” to the Paskenta is equivalent to the title, “Chief” in other tribes.)

In this episode you’ll hear about:

  • Chairman Dru’s ancestor, Andrew Freeman, and listen to a fascinating recording of him speaking in his Nomlaki tongue
  • The 300-member Paskenta band of Nomlaki Indians and their reservation in Corning, California
  • Paskenta Brewery and Distillery in the Rolling Hills Casino
  • The unlawful termination of the tribe and its restoration in 1994, due to the vision and determination of Chairman Dru’s grandpa, Everett Freeman – spoiler alert, Indian taco sales were a contributor to the cause
  • How Chairman Dru set out to bring corrupt tribal leaders to justice. We’re talking a story of private jets and lavish trips with funds stolen from the tribe, culminating to a cyber-attack on the casinos and the need for armed guards – stuff you typically only see in the movies.
  • The tremendous growth of tribal commerce now that the proper leadership is in place.

And speaking of - shout out to Justin Chester of the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians-owned Tepa Companies, who was instrumental in introducing me to Chairman Dru. Yakoke, Justin!

Tepa provides construction, engineering, environmental technology and more. Preference is given to American Indian applications, so check them out! @tepacompanies https://www.tepa.com/

Chairman Dru honors his grandpa, Everett Freeman’s legacy by leading with wisdom and strength, while also exemplifying humility. Here is a leader that should not be underestimated. And here is a tribe whose sovereignty was regained and whose determination will not be shaken. Not bad for a man with a vision, and an Indian taco sale or two that helped make it all happen.

Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/paskentabandofnomlakiindians/photos

Native ChocTalk Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/nativechoctalkpodcast

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

Season 4, Episode 1: “The Story of Little Bird, with Author, Mary Ruth Barnes (Chickasaw)”

“I tossed my hair, my braids glowing in the sunlight. I walked my horse forward, recalling Papa’s words, often said in a most authoritative tone. ‘Get off that pony and walk in the wildflowers, Little Bird. Touch the flowers and feel their petals. They are soft, like feathers. Touch the bark of the trees. Their bark runs in circles, like our lives. The tree grows roots and spreads leaves over the earth. The lines of the bark tell many stories of our ancestors. It is a time for you to remember and enjoy the beauties of God’s land. Get off your horse, Little Bird.’ I would be mesmerized by his words. I looked up to see my three favorite crows on a branch above. They took off, leading the way home. Their feathers glistened in the sun, like my hair.”

In today’s episode, you’ll hear the true story of Esther McLish, told by Chickasaw/Choctaw/Cherokee Author, Mary Ruth Barnes from her award-winning book, “Little Bird”. I was so intrigued by this story that I stayed up nearly all night to finish it – it truly is a must-read!

Check out this beautiful Little Bird trailer: https://mbarnes.faso.com/video/7545

You’ll hear about Esther’s relationship with the crows that always seemed to have a message for her, the encounters with the Comanches who lived in Reck, how Esther would travel multiple times to challenge the Dawes Commission, and her heartbreaking journey of much loss, while maintaining her enduring strength and spirit.

Mary Ruth also shares with us the story of the pecan trees on her property, what Chihawa lowa means, and the inside scoop of her ancestral stories.

“In the light of the moon our silent ancestors walked, moving among us, giving us hope and truth. The truth of their ancient promise is not made with their words, but with the lives of those who have experienced the past. Please keep researching.” Those were Mary Ruth’s beautiful words at the end of our visit, and I couldn’t agree more.

Rumor also has it there’s a sequel coming out, so as for me, I’ll be ready for another all-nighter to read more about Esther’s life! Check out “Little Bird” at:

Chickasaw Press: https://chickasawpress.com/Books/Little-Bird.aspx

Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/2sek8xd8

And at First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City!

Mary Ruth’s Website: https://www.maryruthbarnes.com/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/mary.ruth.barnes

Native ChocTalk Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/nativechoctalkpodcast

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

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


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