A new study by North Carolina State University finds the number of acres destroyed by wildfire in the United States in the past two years is double the number just 30 years ago. Their researchers point to warmer-than-average surface temperatures and shifting precipitation patterns, which they predict will only get worse. Those trends mean forestry officials have to work both to prevent the most destructive fires and restore areas that burned. Traditional tribal ecological knowledge can inform that work and some non-tribal officials are taking notice. Today on Native America Calling, Shawn Spruce speaks with Daniel Denipah (Ohkay Owingeh), forestry director for Santa Clara Pueblo; Valentin Lopez (Amah Mutsun Tribal Band), Chairman of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band; and Tommy Cabe (Eastern Band of Cherokee), forest resource specialist for Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
Among the deluge of podcasts, Native producers are tackling subjects ranging from mental health and sobriety, issues within their own tribes, and language revitalization. Today on Native America Calling, Shawn Spruce samples some podcasts that are reaching their audiences through the spoken word with Paige Willett (Citizen Potawatomi Nation tribal member), host and producer of the Hownikan Podcast; Majerle Lister (Diné ), PhD student at the University of Arizona and host of the Wósdéé Podcast; Ralph Sara (Yup’ik and Sami), host of The Anonymous Eskimo Podcast; Dr. X̱’unei Lance Twitchell (Lingít, Haida, Yup’ik, and Sami), host of the podcast Tongue Unbroken.
At a time when some holdout sports teams ignore calls to end problematic mascots and imagery, some teams are turning to Native American designers for appropriate designs. The NBA’s Phoenix Suns are debuting new uniforms, jersey logos and center court design created in collaboration with a Navajo artist that honors the state’s tribes and cultural references to tribes elsewhere. Today on Native America Calling, Shawn Spruce meets the Native artists behind the team’s graphics with Shawn Martinez (Navajo), senior director of live presentation for the Phoenix Suns and the Phoenix Mercury; artist and designer Jeremy Donavan Arviso (Diné, Hopi, Pima and Tohono O’odham); and Patrick Hunter (Ojibwe), two-spirit woodland artist and graphic designer.
Whitney Rencountre (CrowCreek Hunkpati Dakota) is the new head of the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation. He takes over from the heirs of the sculptor of the rock carving of Tasunka Witko that was started before World War Two. The carving has grown to include the Indian Museum of North America, the Native American Educational and Cultural Center, and the Indian University of North America, the latter of which Rencountre served as associate director since 2021. Today on Native America Calling, Shawn Spruce talks to Rencountre about the goals for the iconic monument as well as enrollment manager Dianne Amiotte-Seidel (Oglala Lakota), and Andrew Dunehoo, director of museums and cultural affairs, from The Indian Museum of North America of the Crazy Horse Memorial.
Everything changed for Anishinaabe hip-hop artist Tall Paul when he first heard about iconic Sac and Fox athlete Jim Thorpe. The more he learned the more strength he drew from the story of Thorpe’s against-the-odds achievements. Tall Paul took that story and embarked on a journey—both literally and artistically. That journey culminates in the album, “The Story of Jim Thorpe”. Friday on Native America Calling, Shawn Spruce hears from Tall Paul about the touchstones and inspirations for the new album.
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