Monday, April 26, 2021 – Falling for ‘Rutherford Falls’
A new comedy on NBC’s streaming service, Peacock TV, proves border towns can be funny. The setting is a town near the fictional Minishonka reservation. The two main characters, Nathan Rutherford, played by Ed Helms, and Regan Wells played by Jana Schmieding (Mniconjou and Sicangu Lakota) are best friends who are trying to get their communities excited about history and culture. Half of the writers are Native, as are the showrunner and main character. Sierra Teller Ornelas (Navajo) is the first Native American to run a TV comedy. We’ll talk with Teller Ornelas, Schmieding and writer/actor Bobby Wilson (Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota) about this history-making TV series.
Tuesday, April 27, 2021 – Racing against the pandemic
The pandemic is a serious threat to people of all Native nations. But it posed an added danger when Yuchi elder Maxine Wildcat Barnett got sick with COVID-19. She is the last fluent speaker of the Yuchi language. Fortunately she recovered. But it puts into perspective the importance of Native language revitalization programs. Some language instruction turned to online classes and social media to keep up momentum during the pandemic. The Cherokee Nation is among those that prioritized fluent language speakers for the vaccine. We’ll check in with Native language program organizers about how they refuse to let the global pandemic slow the progress of language revitalization.
Wednesday, April 28, 2021 – Book of the Month: “Copper Yearning”
by Kimberly Blaeser
White Earth Ojibwe poet Kimberly Blaeser is helping us celebrate National Poetry Month by sharing her book “Copper Yearning.” It’s full of poems that speak about Native people’s place in the world. That includes the connection to sacred places and lands and waterways that are challenged. Other poetic gems give the details of Native life center stage, down to the ribbon and jingles on a dancer’s dress. Join us for our April Book of the Month and our visit with Kimberly Blaeser.
Thursday, April 29, 2021 – “Super Indian” returns
Hubert Logan, Wampum Baggs, Blud Kwan’Tum and the other characters created by Arigon Starr (Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma) are coming back to life in an audio podcast. It’s full circle for the Super Indian cast that started as radio theater in 2006 distributed by Native Voice One. Starr then developed the idea into a graphic novel. Now the enterprising writer, artist and musician revives the Super Indian story with three installments of a streaming audio podcast. We’ll catch up with Starr as she re-introduces the “Super Indian” team.
Friday, April 30, 2021 – April in the news
The fate of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal coronavirus relief money is now in the hands of the United States Supreme Court. The High Court heard arguments over whether Congress intended to include for-profit Alaska Native Corporations in aid intended for tribes. The arguments hinge on the language of one particularly confusing sentence in the legislation. Also federal health officials are considering resuming the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after complications surfaced. We’ll talk with a medical professional about the latest. And #NativeNerd Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) will round out the hour with the latest in pop culture including his new favorite show, “Rutherford Falls”.