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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