Reconsider Everything: The American History Project

Indigenous History Education in America Pt.1

October 10, 2022 Season 1 Episode 1
Reconsider Everything: The American History Project
Indigenous History Education in America Pt.1
Show Notes Transcript

In the first episode of Reconsider Everything on Indigenous Peoples' Day, Lyric Aquino shares insight into her tribe Ohkay Owingeh and what it is like to be an Indigenous person in America where there is a lack of Indigenous history taught in schools. Joshua Arce, the president and CEO of Partnership With Native Americans, also speaks about food insecurity Indigenous people face today as a result of colonization and the importance of Indigenous history education in America. Dive further into Indigenous history at the resource list: https://linktr.ee/indigenoushistoryresources And follow us on social media: https://linktr.ee/reconsidereverythingpodcast

And that is US History. We are US history to have a whole class that is focused on United States history and only have little battles that you talk about where indigenous people are defeated or wiped out. We are so much more than the pain that we went through and it's like if America wants to talk about us, it, they only want to talk about the pain. Welcome to reconsider everything. A podcast that dives into the impact of how American history is and isn't taught in the us. The lack of multicultural history taught in schools have been brought up more and more the past few years in mainstream conversations. But have you ever thought about what that means for those whose history has not been told or celebrated for centuries? This season, every week you will hear stories from people of various backgrounds who answer that question and gain insight from those working in education. I'm your host, Marissa Nichol, and this is just the beginning of what I call the American History Project. Hopefully you'll learn a lot of new history that will make you reconsider everything you. And the empathy you have for the people around you. I'm so excited to introduce the first episode of Reconsider Everything. I started this project because as a white woman, I grew up without the knowledge of how whitewash the American history I learned in school was. When I started college, I enrolled in more multicultural courses because I was sick of learning about the same events in history, but I never could have predicted how that knowledge would impact the way I view politic. Social justice issues and how I interact with people and the words I use every day. It's not hard to find information about how multicultural history needs to be represented more in schools today, but as I researched ther of that history the past two years, there was one missing piece. I needed to understand the issue, the human experience. I wanted to know more about the connection between the lack of history, people know about different cultures in America, and how groups of people in America are treated. So for the past eight months, I sat down with people from around the country and asked them why learning about this history matters. This is a podcast for everyone. Whether you're someone who wants to hear from people who have had similar experiences to yours, or someone who is hearing conversations like these for the first time. I want you to leave each episode with new stories in history and more compassion for the people around you today. I knew there was no other way to start off this podcast than on indigenous people's. Which is today. If you're listening on Monday, October 10th, I hear all the time from people I know who aren't indigenous, that they don't know anything about indigenous history, and I didn't either before starting this podcast, and that, in my opinion, is one of the most disrespectful and biggest failures of our education system. After every episode this season, you can find a link to a resource list in the description below where you can learn more about what we discussed. And for this episode, I'm also including some organizations you can check out to learn more about indigenous tribes and what's going on in these communities today. After this week, our episodes will come out every Tuesday. So with that, I am so excited to introduce the first guest. She's a dear friend of mine, one of my favorite people I know has the most enthusiasm for everything she does in her life and makes me laugh my ass off every time I'm with her. So I'm very excited for you all to meet Lyric Aquino. She's a science journalist currently getting her masters in journalism at nyu. We actually met at journalism school in Ohio, and it's kind of crazy that we've known each other for about seven years now. Lyric uses her talent in storytelling to shed light on important indigenous topics. Her tribe is called, Okay Wge, and is based in New Mexico. We sat down together on her terrace in Brooklyn this past summer, and she told me beautiful stories about her culture and also about how the lack of knowledge about indigenous people in the US has impacted her person. As well as what it's like to be an indigenous, black and bisexual woman in America. Thank you for being here. I don't think we talked that much America, Ken. We both went there for journalism. But it wasn't until you moved here, I feel like a year ago we like really started hanging out and getting to know you, but I always admired you as a person, so I'm definitely really happy that we became closer friends. But yeah, thanks for being here. Oh my gosh. Yeah. Seriously. That makes me so happy that you just said that. . Um, I definitely always felt the same, so I was always like, she's so beautiful. I love the way she dresses and her features are great. Oh my gosh, thanks . I had a lot of people like that, like at Kent, where I would be like, Oh my God, I'm obsessed with that person, but like, literally never talk to them. Same, um, literal. Thing, . So now you're going to NYU for your masters. Can you tell us about the program you're doing now? Yeah. So I am in the science, health and environmental reporting program at nyu. Uh, basically it's dedicated to, uh, reporting on really important things, uh, going on within the environment. Health and science, of course. Mm-hmm. . But, uh, yeah, it's really, really cool. And we work with, um, our professors to make sure. Our, uh, student run publication science line is up to date with really cool articles. And then we also work with, um, big publications like National Geographics, Smithsonian Inverse Popsi, and a bunch of others to get our work out there that we do in the class. So it's really, really cool. Yeah, I just think that's so impressive. And didn't you get a scholarship too? I did, yeah. So I am one of the first, uh, recipients of the Native American Journalist Association Scholarship with nyu. So, um, one other student received the scholarship and he is in the journalism documentary program. Um, they were originally supposed to choose one, but they thought we were both going into different fields and they. Uh, they wanted us both in the program, so they ended up selecting us, uh, together for their first annual. Scholarships. Oh, wow. That's cool. And then, so you're the editor in Chief of Science Line. Mm-hmm. , which is, is that the students in that program? That's the publication you all work on together, right? Yeah, Yeah. And then you're doing an internship. Can you tell us about that too? Yeah, so right now I'm interning with Scholastic Inc. Um, I am writing content for children in their math and science magazines, primarily math. So right now I'm working on a story about Navajo weavers and beaters and how they've been using geometry for centuries in their patterns and, um, artwork. So really excited. I just can't wait until you're writing for National Geographic . That's the dream. The dream. Wait. Also, I have to make a note that while I was prepping these questions for you, I was listening to Harry Styles and I thought that was fitting. Oh. Which I jealous. So Lyric goes to, um, all the hairstyles, concerts, but , it's blood. Frontiers baby. Um, so I wanna talk about where you grew up. So you grew up in Lorraine, Ohio, right? Which is like an hour from where I grew up. Um, but what was. Growing up there like, Yeah. So it was a really, really, and still is a really diverse city. Um, we are known as the international city and we have a festival dedicated every year in the summer, uh, to other people's nationalities and food and culture, celebrations and dances. So there was definitely that aspect, which was really nice. Um, another thing, uh, about Lorraine I would say is that it's. The most wealthy town. It's also not the poorest, but mm-hmm. , it's, it's more on the poorer side. So definitely, I would say humble beginnings for all of us. But I feel like that made us, um, A lot more appreciative of what, you know, where we came from, what we do, and especially like where, uh, you wanna end up in those dreams and like, having those goals and like me, you know, moving to New York City, it's kind of one of those things where all of my mom's friends are so proud. And it's just one of those things where like the whole community supports you cuz it's like small girl to the big city. Mm-hmm. , so kind of thing. Oh, that's awesome. Lyric went to private schools from preschool through eighth grade and to a public high. She said everyone in her family goes to the same schools she went to from preschool to fifth grade. I asked her what the demographics of these schools were at the. So, uh, for the Catholic schools, I will say it was pretty, uh, white based. Mm-hmm. . Um, one time in fourth grade I did play a slave in a play. Um, it was actually really crazy. My teacher was like, Hey, who wants. The leads and me and this other kid, Miles, we didn't know what the leads were. By the way. Miles was also black and he raised his hand and she was like, I'm gonna randomly choose Miles and Lyric. And then we realized we ended up playing slaves escaping under Underground Railroad with a baby. That's crazy. We were the only two black. That's bizarre. Kids in the class. What was that like doing that? I was so happy you had the lead in the play. , looking back. I was a child slave with a baby. Like the only, they had two black. You reenacting that? Yeah, that's, Yep. . Absolutely disgusting, but I can't help but laugh because I was so naive. Yeah. And I was just like, I'm so excited, mom. I have the lead. What did your mom think about it? She, at the time was happy because I was happy and I don't think either one of us like really realized. Mm-hmm. the significance of that. And it's one of those things where she didn't even remember until I brought it. Couple years ago. Yeah. And one of my best friends, David, he was, um, in that class and he was like, I totally forgot about that. And then I had to pull up pictures of me and Miles. Oh my God. . So they were, so that's what that was like going to school there. Yeah, definitely. Definitely. They were, um, I feel like I didn't really experience like targeted racism or anything like that. Okay. I would say just like naive comments and questions. Mm-hmm. , um, the schools tried their best for their education. I will say that, um, When I was in Catholic school and public school, the same thing, um, always happened when we came to the Native American unit mm-hmm. , I always became like the 4runner and the expert on all native peoples. Mm-hmm. according to my teachers and students. And that was something that, looking back, I was embarrassed about because I didn't have all of the knowledge, but I also didn't wanna seem stupid, so I would do my best. And I remember feeling. Really, um, apprehensive when I was younger, getting to those, those, uh, periods in the curriculum because I knew it was gonna be my turn and people asking me questions mm-hmm. and asking me if I was like an Indian princess. So, yeah. So like at what age did that start in school? Kindergarten. Oh my gosh. I would say kindergarten. So like your earliest memory, like your whole school experience? Yeah, I would say. I would probably argue that it started in preschool. I don't have any like proof, but it started really young. Definitely in kindergarten. Do you feel like that put some sort of like responsibility on you to like represent the indigenous community? Oh, definitely. Definitely. I mean, I remember even one time in high school my uh, teacher for ethnic minority studies was reading out loud in our textbook and couldn't pronounce one of the tribes names and asked me how to pronounce it and it was. and I just feel like that's a really common tribe name. Yeah. But so she was just like randomly like, Lyric, do you know how to say this? And I was like, I do. Mm-hmm. . But why would you assume ? Yeah. And then you're always being called out. Yeah. For being like a part of a group of people, which this is a theme. I feel like, as I've been talking to people, that there's always other people kind of pointing out like who you are. Mm-hmm. and grouping you in. Um, but that's, yeah. I feel like that's a lot of responsibility to put on like a kindergartner. When we learn about Native Americans and the new world, we have this one image of indigenous people and that's, I mean, that's also like my memory of it and mm-hmm. , but I feel like if you look at any textbook, um, typically it's an indigenous person wearing like the same type of clothing all the time. So I know that's something like we talked about. Um, so can you just start by telling us, You're a tribe and you're, I know you have family in New Mexico, right? Yeah. So my tribe is, um, okay. Wge. We are formerly known as the play of San Juan. Um, we are a, I mean, a tribe that is filled with joy in art and culture and rich, rich traditions. Um, my family right now, Most of them reside in Espanola, New Mexico. And that is where our reservation is just based. So there's Espanola and then um, half an hour away is Santa Fe, and then on the other side of Espanola is Okay. Wing game. When you were asked questions like mm-hmm. , do you feel like teachers maybe ask you questions about a certain tribe that maybe you didn't really know about and your point in that position? Like what would you do in those situations? Yeah, definitely all the time. So when we would get to these units, especially around Thanksgiving of course. Mm-hmm. , um, they were mainly talking about, um, a couple coastal tribes mm-hmm. and also like Plains Native Americans, which I am not. So I am from the Southwest. Mm-hmm. . And we are, um, a group of, we are the play people. Mm-hmm. . So like there are different S in the southwest and that culture is so different. Mm-hmm. . Plains Indians and Coastal Indians. And so I'd also like to add that I'm using Indians, um, in like kind of interchangeable with Native Americans, but that's something that like only indigenous people do. Okay. Like people, indigenous people do think like Indian is, um, a slur. . Mm-hmm. , it's only okay when like other indigenous people do it. Gotcha. But that's something that's not really taught like right about in school. Well, that's something I was gonna ask you because like, Never knew what people preferred. Yeah. So there's been a really big reclamation on, in claiming, uh, the eye in indigenous. Mm. So, um, I know most people would, um, a lot of people prefer, um, indigenous, but then there's also the argument of Native Americans, cuz technically anyone can be native to a America if you're born here. But, um, I would say indigenous is really the big Okay. But, um, going back, , Sorry. That's okay. Yeah. Um, when I was little, people would ask me these questions about what Thanksgiving meant to me, or like, you know, what, what do you wear like around this time of year? And I mean, I would only be able to answer these questions based off of my own tribal knowledge, not what they think I know. Mm-hmm. , I mean, the culture. Has some similarities, but it's completely different. And so I would just try to say what I knew, but I would also at a young age also try to, you know, say that I don't really know what these people do. Right. Um, I'm not, I'm not the one who can speak on that, but I'll speak to what I do know. And so there was a lot of pressure because I felt like people. Didn't really believe that I was indigenous because they couldn't answer their questions. Right. Right. And it wasn't what they were looking for. And so it caused a lot of self doubt and also, uh, a lot of internal conflict. Yeah. Because I was like, okay, you know, Being indigenous is about your connection to your culture. Yeah. And although I feel connected, I'm not giving the answers that people want. Yeah. So it was difficult. That's something else I see a lot with. However you identify or whoever you are, people in America almost want you to always prove it, and I feel like that happens a lot with sexuality. Like if you identify as bisexual and you're a woman, but you're dating a man, I feel like people are like, Well, are you sure you're bisexual because you're not dating a woman? Like things like that. I feel like. it. People always want you to like prove it or something. And it's like, how would they even base that? I know I can definitely attest to that as well. As a bisexual woman, um, who is dating a male, uh, people are just kind of always like, Hey, uh, doesn't seem very clear of you. And I'm like, Okay, listen. I've never been one to follow these. Different depictions of what you think I should be in your head. Mm-hmm. , and I guess I never will. Um, it's not something that I actively try to do, but it's just, I don't know. I feel like it's kind of impossible these days. Yeah. Yeah. I agree. And so for people who listen and might not really understand, because again, it's something I, I didn't learn growing up and people don't learn about an indigenous history. What tribes are, because I feel like that's never actually explained. Mm-hmm. . Um, so what, when you say there's different tribes, like what makes a tribe different? Is it like where they were based or how they live? Like can you explain that a little more? Yeah. So I would say, and you know, that's kind of difficult. I tribes are based off of geographical location. Okay. Um, where, you know, your ancestors settled, but it also is about language and culture. . Um, the PO bowls are relatively close to each other. Um, not super far, but we have different names and we have slightly different traditions that other tribes don't know. Okay. Are we within like a 30 mile radius or less? Mm-hmm. ? Yes. Do we have a similar sounding, um, language? Yes. But there are some variations. Mm-hmm. . And so it's, I mean, and I know people like to say that when they found their people, they found their tribe. But like a tribe really is like your people, um, who grew up, um, in a certain area and kind of, you know, have your own traditions and your own culture. Mm-hmm. And so we, we have a bunch of them. Is that something that bothers you when people just use that term it as. , like they're part of a tribe . Yeah. Not actually sickens me. Yeah, . It's really, really frustrating because, um, You don't have a tribe, You will never have a tribe. I know that sounds harsh, but mm-hmm. , my tribe is a big part of who I am. Mm-hmm. . Um, we have traditions, we have history. We, it, it's so much more. Then what people think it is. It's like this rich ancestral knowledge that's passed down through so much. And it's just ridiculous to think that people can say, Oh, I've been friends with this person for five years and I've definitely found my tribe. Mm-hmm. , I mean, you, you haven't, you haven't gone through what our tribes have mm-hmm. and it, it just means so much more, uh, than what people give it credit for. Yeah. And I, I think it irritates me when people don't even. Think about what they're saying, but I also feel like, I mean, do you feel like that has to do with not even being taught the history of what that word means in other terms that belong to indigenous people? I definitely think it has. It. It is part of the reason. Mm-hmm. , But I also think people kind of just don't care. I feel like people think that they can take whatever words they want and make it into whatever definition they feel fit, and they could be like, Oh, you know, I don't mean it in any kind of negative way, but is negative and disrespectful. Right. So I think maybe if people realize the significance, it might deter a few people. Mm-hmm. , but. I'm not really hopeful. Yeah. Well that's such a thing for people to just say, but I didn't mean it in that way. Instead of listening to you saying, Yeah, that's offensive. Um, something I've noticed recently with, and obviously from being around Cleveland, you're probably very aware that the Indians changed The guardians. Mm-hmm. . But I'll see people post, Oh, at the Guardians game, Go tribe. And I'm just like, Are they really just not putting together that, that's still kind of. part of the issue, but like, you know what I mean? It's like I feel like, are they. Trying, but they actually aren't putting it together that maybe we also shouldn't say go tribe. Like it just seems embarrassing I think when people post that. Yeah. You know, that's really funny because that discourse is something that's really popular in my family right now. Oh really? Yeah. So, um, A lot of my family is actually upset that they changed from the guardians to, um, or changed from, uh, the Cleveland Indians to the guardians. Okay. Because they felt like it was representation of indigenous people. However, I will say it was my grandma's generation and a lot of my cousins, um, and people my age are really. Happy in my family. Okay. That it changed. So I, I, I really think it's a generational thing. Yeah. Because they had no representation in the media when they were growing up. Mm-hmm. , they had no representation in anything other than their sports team. So I think that's why they're really clinging to it. Mm-hmm. . Whereas we're starting to see more depictions of indigenous people in the media and just in general. I mean, I've always been a little ed out by Chief Wahoo. First of all, wahoo. Are you kidding me? But also he's literally painted red. Mm-hmm. , l like, are you kidding me? So I, I just think that's something that. Once again, maybe people don't realize that tribe means more than . They, they think it does. So, yeah, like I feel like they're just like, Well I guess I'm supposed to say this now. And it's like they don't put any more thought into Right. The problem. Um, and I remember this came up in a class that we had journalism class, and I remember you talking about it, but I don't remember if you were like, called. To explain or was that something you voluntarily wanted to talk about? Cause that's like a vivid memory in my mind. Oh my gosh. Yeah. It was our ethics class. Yeah, it was our ethics, ethics class. Senior year. I raised my hand. I do remember that . So it was better than you. I was like, Does she want to like be the spokesperson for that in this case? I did. Okay. I, I feel like I, I had some strong thoughts and opinions because it's been a really big debate in my family for a few years. So it was something that I actually wanted to talk about and something that I'm kind of still firm on, even though some people in my family don't agree, I don't know. Okay. Yeah. So I know we talked about obviously having to be called on when you were younger in class, but did you feel like when indigenous history was taught in classes from, you know, kindergarten through. I guess all your education, were there specific topics that you felt like weren't mentioned at all that should have been, which I'm sure there are many or ones that were touched on, but just were totally incorrect. Yeah, so the whole depiction of Thanksgiving of course, definitely incorrect. Um, I know that's like the classic go to, but I really did have to start off with that one because that is really, really incorrect. Mm-hmm. . And to be fair, it's one of the only things we really learned Exactly. Over and over and over. Exactly. And so I just really think. , you know, that's a story that's focused on that really shouldn't be. Um, the tribe who actually, um, helped support the pilgrims actually came out and said that , they regretted that and they wish they wouldn't have just because of the suffering it produced for further generations of their people. So I just think that's something that we should also add. Mm-hmm. . And to textbooks because I mean, that speaks volumes, honestly. I mean, people think that, oh, it's all, it's all hunky dory. Like, you know, we all work together and it became a bountiful happy land and, you know, that's just not the, the truth. Then I would also say one thing that's not talked about, um, are the little. Uh, bits of history that I think people in America want to forget. Uh, like the various, um, smaller versions of what we could equate, I guess, to the trail of tears. I feel like, um, people don't wanna talk about other forced migrations that have happened in the United States, but it did happen. And in that time, people actually lost, um, not only, you know, their homeland and. Family members, but they also lost one thing that is so important to indigenous people in that's culture. Mm-hmm. . Because in that time, people, um, were not able to actually, um, really bring what they needed to with them. Mm-hmm. and if they did, it was discombobulated and disorganized because it was a forced march. And so people lost really important seeds and their crops that they needed for. Traditional diets. Mm-hmm. and also, um, ceremonies, rights of passage, different things like that, that really make up the culture. Mm-hmm. , I mean, food is a very important part in our culture and various plants are used for medicines and ceremonies and just things that really make up, um, a bulk. Of those really important aspects, um, of who we are. And of course I think that we persevered and I, I'm so proud of my ancestors and, you know, my cousins, um, for doing that. But I also think that things could have changed significantly and would've been significantly different if we were allowed to. Mm-hmm. have kept those things that are sacred to us. So how, what do you think is like the lasting impact of. , I would say it caused for a lot of displaced indigenous people. I mean, even now, um, I'm writing articles about the food sovereignty movement and that's where, uh, people are trying to get back to a cultural diet of indigenous foods because we can't process these, uh, colonizer foods and it's actually really hurting our bodies. And, um, leading to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and. Um, multiple other health problems just because we simply cannot process, um mm-hmm. what has been given to us the last couple hundred years. Mm-hmm. , And I'd also say additionally, um, it's also led to a seed keeping movement, which I will say is, uh, something that's really nice to see. Um, there are people who are going back to farming and indigenous youth are going back to traditional ways of planting and harvesting to really, you know, bring back that traditional ancient knowledge that we've had. Mm-hmm. . I mean, I see a lot of negative effects, but this generation is coming up with a lot of solutions to these problems, and it took a while, but I'm, I'm really proud of that. When you say this generation, do you mean generation of indigenous people or just generation of all people? Um, I mean this generation of indigenous people. Mm-hmm. , I would say unfortunately, I really think only indigenous people focus on indigenous issues. Right. I wish I could say something different, but unfortunately I feel like it's always us who are coming up with the things that we need. Partnership with Native Americans is a nonprofit organization that provides consistent aid and services for Native Americans with the highest need in the us. One area they focus on is bringing immediate relief from food insecurity across dozens of reservations, including through food pantries, emergency food boxes during holidays, and gardening. I spoke with Joshua Aay, the president and CEO of p n a on how food insecurity for indigenous people today is deeply rooted in colonial. When you take away a major food source, um, like the buffalo and the bison, they were so decimated at one point in time. You know, where would you have gotten your food from? Um, and so there became this reliance on government, um, commodity programs. Um, and those were used and they, they were used to manipulate communities. Um, they were rations that were given to communities, but they also were foods that were highly processed. And so introducing those highly processed foods into communities then begin to break down. The, the person internally. And so that's where you start seeing high, uh, rates of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease. And we're trying, we've got a lot of movement in the food sovereignty area and we're trying to break free of those chains and that oppression that has, um, held us back for so long. And it's great to see other communities jumping on. definitely. And so what would you say has caused the contaminated drinking water and reservations as well? Oh, so, uh, I, in, in some areas it's very similar to, um, in, you know, the other major areas, lack of infrastructure. First of all, and so your lack of infrastructure and um, uh, filtration systems in communities because the tribal communities that were moved to these very rural, remote, geographically challenged areas. We're so far away from the city, and so they, they didn't have the infrastructure for water, electricity, and, and now we also know through Covid 19 internet, you know, those are the big three that are, are just a absolute, you know, cornerstone that you have to have in today's. World and our tribal communities still lack that. So in addition to, um, not having access to, um, clean drinking water, in some areas it's particularly in the southwest. They were mined so heavily and there are still, um, uranium, trailings and, uh, piles that are deteriorating that goes back down into the land, which goes into the groundwater, which then gets consumed. And so why is, you know, the work being done now to solve the issues of food insecurity and contaminated water? Why is that so important to solve that? Which I think you touched on a little bit, but just to kind of give people more details. So I, you know, I heard a re elder recently say that, um, we're not sovereign until our food is sovereign. And so that really hit home because, you know, taking back that ownership of the traditional foods of, uh, the food ways, those diets, you know, it starts with what we we're putting in our body, how we feed ourselves. And I think that that's one of the cornerstones for, you know, a. It's like to have a healthy nation, you have to have your land, you have to have your law, you have to have your languages. And in that is the food. You know, part of that is having healthy food ways, so that way there's more to healthy food ways and traditional food ways than just. Consumption. Mm-hmm. , you know, we're starting to see more of how effective, you know, the storytelling is and how you get to spend time with one another, you know, and how you're sharing more than just food through the process of cultivating the things that you're consuming, you know? And, and I think that you're starting to see a greater value on of the little things after speaking with Joshua and. I got an understanding that there's a misconception that indigenous people are only thought of as long ago. In the past, Joshua spoke about how accurate history, education can change that when you don't know about something, there's a joy in learning, right? And so people gotta understand that there are some very dark things in our history that have taken place, um, but it's better to know them. and to respect, uh, the people that it, that it had harmed, uh, that it to respect, uh, the people that have survived it and to grow from it. So that way we don't get stuck in this post traumatic stress disorder, but let's get into a post traumatic growth opportunity and so we can become more than what we have been in the past. Um, and if you think. What you learned and where you learned it from. As far as it relates to Native Americans, it's a very small percentage, and it's probably largely influenced by maybe pop culture. Um, but when you have an experience or you get to learn a little bit more, you get to visit a tribal community, a reservation community, and you really see, and, and it authenticates it, it validate. All the things that we're saying that we've experienced, because otherwise you are never gonna know about the boarding school era. You know, you're never going to know about, um, the, the process of removal and relocation. You know, you'll never know about these huge, impactful things on. Indian communities that have taken place. Um, unless you're willing to learn, you know, unless you're willing to open up to dig a little deeper, um, to believe something that's otherwise unbelievable. Um, but, uh, you know, definitely, um, something that we're excited as an organization, we're excited to teach people about. We enjoy, um, teaching other people. Um, but it's, I think it's critically important. Um, As even in the school systems to make sure that's integrated so that way we get seen as contributors. You know, we get seen as the neighbors next door, um, and we're not necessarily. You know, put, uh, you know, a hundred years in the history, but we have current impacts, you know, in today's communities. Mm-hmm. . Right. Um, could you talk a little bit more in detail about specific contributions? Just cuz I think that is something, um, more people should know about. Maybe there's like some favorites that you have. Sure. Well, I mean, there is, uh, recently, um, Mary, I believe her name's pto. Ran for seat in Congress in Alaska, and she defeated former governor Sarah Palin. I think that's pretty significant. You know, I think. Um, uh, Deb Holland, who is currently the Secretary of Interior, the first native person on a, um, at, at that level interior, uh, in interior, but at a cabinet level. Um, that's huge. You know, that's, that's monumental, um, and historic for native peoples. So in some ways, as much as it's a win. For Native Peoples. I think it's a win for mainstream culture because now you have, um, you know, you have a fair representation of the community that the government's serving. Um, startling Harjo is, uh, the, the writer and director for reservation dogs. Um, it's a Hulu series. That's fantastic. You know, a lot of the actors that are up and coming through the recent, um, uh, television shows pre, uh, which was a, uh, uh, a movie about the kind of the initial predator prequel. Um, you know, Amber, Mid Thunder. Uh, you know, those types of people are truly inspiring, not just to me. Um, and some of 'em are much younger than me. Um, but it's great for representation and visibility. Mm-hmm. for other younger, um, you know, uh, tribal members to know that, uh, that, you know, they could, they could achieve their wildest dreams with so much indigenous history there is to learn. It's really sad to think of how much is left outta school curriculums. But I wanted to get lyrics perspective on a little bit of history that we do learn about. So you mentioned we only learned about 10 tribes growing up in school, one representation of forced migration. Why do you think those were the ones selected to teach in school? You know, that's a really interesting question. I. I think because they have to teach about something. Mm-hmm. , because we are still here. They know we're still here. I think when you get to other tribes, it gets. Messier. If you start talking about the plains Native Americans, then you have to deal in, uh, deal with, um, children learning that their great, great grandparents and ancient settlers used to actually not ancient. Let's, let me clarify that their, you know, Settlers used to kill off bison just for fun. To deplete Native American resources and food sources, you have to learn that they burned down crops. So children would star, You have to know that they would bash babies and shoot them because they didn't want. children, Indian children to live. I mean, they used to say a dead Indian is the only good Indian there is. So it's, it's things like that where it gets really dark, but it's, it's really important. Mm-hmm. , I mean, there's not only the burning, raping, killing, pillaging and just flat out wars, I would say. There was also, there were, there were slaves kept, I mean, there were indigenous slaves kept, We, we do know that. There's, there's just so much dark history. Mm-hmm. . And then you also get into things that are complex, like with the, uh, play blow tribes. We were actually, um, went under a double colonization that people don't talk about a lot. So we were first colonized by Spain, um, when the kta doors were, uh, pillaging. Like the, uh, ancient Mayan, uh, empire, they moved up because borders didn't exist. I mean, they were in South America, which isn't far from New Mexico. Mm-hmm. at all. So they, um, ended up traveling and it like, um, finding that there are other civilizations in Arizona and New Mexico and, you know, other states that are, well, other places that are now states. Mm-hmm. and. They went under a form of colonization as well, where they were forced. Christianity and, um, various other, uh, cultural, um, I guess destruction. Mm-hmm. . So there was that, and then it happened once again, this history that, you know, is this something that was just always talked about at home? Like were you always very aware of it from a young age, I would say no. Honestly, it had to, it was something, there were a lot of things that I knew from a young age, but I would say the darker. They, they kept away until I was a little bit older and able to understand. I mean, I knew about it because I did my own reading. Um, I was a vivacious reader, so I got my hands into things that like I wasn't supposed to. Mm-hmm. And I would ask questions, um, that I wasn't supposed to know the answers to, and my cousins would tell me because they were older. Mm-hmm. . Um, but I think it's something. My grandmother didn't really want to talk about, and I think that's also because she kind of had this trauma, um, growing up that was associated with these things and. I guess, I mean, I could, could I talk about that a little bit? Yeah, I was gonna ask about that next. Yeah, So I think one reason why I didn't get to hear about this stuff as much growing up was because my grandmother, um, is traumatized from what she endured at Catholic school when she was a child. Um, she traveled from New Mexico to Ohio. In the fifties. Um, and she went to a Catholic school. Uh, she didn't know any English. All she knew was Tawa, which is our language in OK Wge. And she was beaten for it. Um, she was beaten until she couldn't speak Tawa and learned English. So it was there when she kind of, I guess, stifled a little. Of who she was to kind of fit into these, these norms. Mm-hmm. , um, up in Ohio and the nuns were relentless and weren't letting her, um, Have kind of any semblance of home. Mm-hmm. . And so I know one thing that my great-grandparents, Mysa s's grandma's grandpa, um, I know my sayan would do, um, would be to kind of keep, um, indigene in their home with. Decor and talking and like trying to keep to traditions, um, with other people in Lorraine who were indigenous because they kind of moved up as a cohort. Eventually a lot of 'em moved back to New Mexico, the cohort, and my did as well with some of the grandkids. But, um, I will really say that my curiosity of my indigenous heritage throughout my life has really helped my grandma blossom. Mm-hmm. . Um, she, my nana, I use nana and grandma interchangeably. My nana, um, Really couldn't shut me up with the questions when I was a kid, And so I think through that I was able to learn a lot more because she began kind of processing and telling me like what happened when the nuns did what to her, and then mm-hmm. , you know, Oh, like, you know, your Aunt Josie and I used to do this on the reservation when we were children. It definitely gave her more of the, of a chance to talk. And I think the reason my mom and my sisters, or her sisters didn't do that as much was because they actually spent summers in New Mexico learning from mys my, So they didn't really have these questions. Mm-hmm. , Um, and they learned from them. And then, I learned from my grandma. Mm-hmm. . And so you said she's learn, trying to relearn that language now. Yeah, so it's really interesting because she grew up, um, only speaking Theoh, and so that was the household language. I mean, everyone spoke theoh and. , she ended up forgetting it all. Um, after she was beaten by the nuns, she couldn't remember any of it. And so now I'm trying to learn the language through a tribal, uh, language restoration program. And so is she. And so what I think is really interesting is that it's still not really coming back. Mm-hmm. , but that's her first language. Mm-hmm. . And it's so sad to see, you know, her back home on the res, and she's able to pick apart what people are saying and she knows what people are saying and she can, can get that context, but she, she isn't, uh, able to speak it fully still. Mm-hmm. . And so I, it's something that really breaks my heart and really, really angers me because that's another thing I feel like people don't talk about. Mm-hmm. is the brutality of, um, Christianity, but also just. America in general. Mm-hmm. on, on indigenous people, especially children, because my grandma's only like 67 years old. Mm-hmm. , and she's here to tell me the stories about how the nuns beat her and made her cry because she didn't know any English. Mm-hmm. and how they belittled her and how people told her prairie dog, go back to where you came from. It's those things where, You know, that wasn't far away. Mm-hmm. and it, it's, it's really honestly disheartening for me to see, you know, my grandma tell these stories and know that she had to go through that. I mean, she's my grandma. Yeah. And I love her so much. And it's so sad to think that there was ever a time where she was afraid to kind of be herself or dude that she shouldn't. And you're seeing the lasting effects of it too. Yeah. I, I definitely am. I mean, it affect, it affected my generation. It affected my mom's generation and all of us. I mean, with this, um, with I guess this brutality that we faced, um, it really. Kind of put a hindrance on the tribal knowledge that was passed down. Um, we have to learn traditions in a different way. We have to learn the language in a different way. Everything is more difficult than it used to be, and there's no help. At all from the American education system. Mm-hmm. , if you want to learn the history of your tribe mm-hmm. , I mean, um, there are so many things that they focus on, like, why do I care about the French? I don't, I don't, sorry, . Um, but would I care to hear more about like the indigenous tribes, Like whether you are in Alaska or Florida or Oklahoma? Yeah, I would love to because that's what's making up America. I'm sorry, I don't need to learn about these old dead white men. Yeah. I'm sorry. I think our, our. Education system focuses so much on European history, even when talking about, I think US history, it's just like how you were mentioning there's, there's so much complex history of indigenous people, but it's like we could be spending the time learning that. Yeah. And I will say I took AP US History, um, as a sophomore in high school, and I think we learned about a couple extra wars with indigenous people. , nothing. Mm-hmm. really about indigenous people and that is US History. Mm-hmm. , we are US History. Mm-hmm. . And so to have a whole class that is focused on United States history and only have little battles that you talk about where indigenous people are defeated or wiped out, and then you once again bring up the Trail of Tears. Literally one of the most traumatic things to happen to indigenous people to date. Like that's what you focus on as opposed to rich culture, cultural sharings. Right. I mean it's, we are so much more than the pain that we went through and it's like if America wants to talk about us, it, they only want to talk about the pain. Yeah. And then I think with different minority groups in America, after they will tell that, they'll be like, And then everything was normal. Or they won't even talk about the lasting impacts of that. There's still indigenous people living here today and we don't even know anything about them really. Oh my gosh. Yeah. I mean, I will say that when I was at Kent State, um, I was president of the Native American Student Association and someone wanted to join the club because they had a fascination with Native Americans. Sounds more like a fetish to me. But, um, when I started talking to him, he said, Oh my God, I didn't. there, like you still existed. And it's, it, it took a moment, an interesting thing to, for me to realize that he was serious. Yeah. And I was really uncomfortable and I couldn't help but feel like annoyed and angry. But then I also really feel like our education system failed him. Yeah. Because, yes, it was an ignorant question, but if he was educated properly, if he went to any school that would've taught him. Basic things about indigenous people. Mm-hmm. , he wouldn't have went his whole life into, you know, adulthood, not knowing that we existed. Right. So it it's just, I, yeah. Something I remember learning, um, in college is the fact that Africans were living with indigenous people before. Yes. Christopher Columbus store. Yes. The land. Um, but that was something else that it's just no one ever introduced that history. To me, So it, it wasn't, it was just something I never thought about. It was just literally never anything that was brought up. Yeah. We had trading route with, um, Pacific Islanders and Africa and South America. Dude, we had melons. We're not, we weren't supposed to have melons, but we were already cultivating them because we had trade route. Mm-hmm. , it's absolutely insane that people like you. In America still like to say that, you know, we were uncivilized, we, you know, hardly wore any clothing and we just hunted for food in a savage demeanor. Mm-hmm. , um, no, just, no. I mean, all of that is so wrong and all of the credit of anything that was already civilized mm-hmm. unquote, is what they would use. , that all goes to, I guess, Europeans. Yeah. They like to think so. They really like to think so. And I will say one thing that I find really funny is that, um, a lot of tribes dress differently, right? So in my tribe particularly, we wear something called amanta and that's like a dress. And so it's an off the shoulder dress, quite fashionable with like a little bell and a Shaw and jewelry. And so it's really nice. And when the Conta doors came, um, to colonize us. Commented on how uh, we dressed like we were quote civilized. So it's one of those things where even before y'all showed up, we were popping. So like what? I just don't understand where this idea came from. Thanks for listening to part one of the first episode of Reconsider Everything. I hope you're learning a lot already. Stick around and listen to part two, which is also available now to hear more from Lyric and Joshua about indigenous history and culture. If you enjoyed the conversation today, subscribe for more episodes of Reconsider Everything and Leave a Review. I'm your host, Marissa Nichol. All sound design is done by Tim Perak. All music was composed by Alex Wa. And Cover Art was created by Olivia Nichol for this episode. The Cross-Cultural Design Class at Indiana University's Hair and School of Art and Design created artwork specifically based on what we discussed today, which you can find featured on our social media handles in the description below, along with resources to continue your education.