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Finding Your Inner Warrior’s Voice with Jessica Smith

February 14th marks a day of honoring relatives lost in the ongoing epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Relatives (MMIWR). A recent report from the Minnesota Task Force on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women reveals a heartbreaking statistic: while Indigenous people make up just 1% of the state's population, a stunning 9% of all murdered girls and women in Minnesota over the last ten years were American Indian. Today we talk with Jessica Gidagaakoons Smith (Bois Forte Band of Chippewa) who is a mother, survivor, Two-Spirit warrior, Indigenous scholar, and researcher, MMIWG2S Legal Advocate, and so much more. Jessica shares how her own experience seeking healing as a survivor of domestic violence and human trafficking, led her on a path to become a national speaker, leader, and advocate for others. We hear Jessica’s powerful story of how her “Inner Warrior” pushed her to step forward and speak up, sharing her own story of survival, to advocate for legislation aimed at strengthening law enforcement’s ability to track and solve cases of murdered or missing Native Americans. We are thankful for Jessica Smith’s powerful voice and for all the work she is doing to help others find safety, healing, and their own voices.  You can learn more about Jessica Smith and her work at www.gidagaakoonsresearch.com Sovereign Bodies Institute (SBI) builds on Indigenous traditions of data gathering and knowledge transfer to create, disseminate, and put into action research on gender and sexual violence against Indigenous people. www.sovereign-bodies.org If you or someone you know needs help right now, you can reach out to these hotlines: StrongHearts Native Helpline provides culturally appropriate support and advocacy for American Indians and Alaska Natives, including resources for victims, families affected by domestic violence and dating violence, and it is anonymous and confidential at: 1-844-7NATIVE or 1-844-762-8483. National Human Trafficking Hotline serves victims and survivors of human trafficking and anti-trafficking community in the US: 1-888-373-7888

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Native Lights – Dani Pieratos’ Journey to Reclaiming Food Sovereignty.

Dani, and a community of people interested in food sovereignty, are planning to bring fresh food to the Bois Forte community year around using aeroponic indoor growing systems. Her passion for reclaiming Native food sovereignty leads her work and is driven by a care for community health and undoing the effects of historical trauma and colonization. Chi-Miigwech to Dani for being on the show!


Bivalent Booster & Testing: Tools To Push Back on a Fall COVID Surge

With kids back in school and people spending more time indoors, health experts predict an increase in COVID infection rates in upcoming months. They encourage getting the new bivalent booster and to continue testing for prevention.


Native Lights – Corey Medina: Connecting With Community Through Music

Today we chat with Corey Medina, a blues-rock artist from Shiprock, NM, and member of the Ásh??hí clan of the Diné Nation. His band, Corey Medina & Brothers, has a reputation as an on-stage powerhouse, bringing its blues-tinged rock and roll to stages across Minnesota.


Minnesota Native News: AIM Begins 11 Week Walk for Leonard Peltier

A walk to justice. The American Indian Movement is leading a group from Minneapolis to Washington, D.C. to raise awareness for Leonard Peltier, one of the nation’s longest-held political prisoners. Feven Gerezgiher reports.


Native Lights – Jamie Becker-Finn’s Path to Bringing Community Together

Today we’ll be chatting with State Representative and Entrepreneur Jamie Becker-Finn (Leech Lake). Recently she celebrated the opening of her coffee shop – Makwa Coffee. We talk with Jamie about how the first few weeks of Makwa Coffee has been, how she got the idea amidst the pandemic and how the community has supported Makwa so far.


MN Native News: Indigenous Futures: Decolonizing Teaching in Minnesota

A new program at Saint Cloud State University aims to put more Indigenous teachers in front of Minnesota students. Emma Needham has more on two scholarship programs for Native teachers plus a new curriculum plan to help teach Native issues to students throughout Minnesota.


Native Lights: Marisa Miakonda Cummings’ Gift for Leadership and Empowering Native Women

On today’s show, Leah and Cole chat with Marisa Miakonda Cummings (Umonhon). She’s the President/CEO of the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center. The MIWRC empowers Native women and families to exercise their cultural values and integrity, and to achieve sustainable lifeways, while advocating for justice and equity. Marisa shares about her journey to becoming the CEO/President of MIWRC, she tells how her family empowered her from a young age, and how she leads with traditional knowledge in her work.


MN Native News: COVID Boosters Still Recommended By CDC

Another vaccine booster is likely in our future as we navigate the pandemic and live our life with COVID as a part of it. Right now, the CDC recommends everyone 5 years and older should get one booster shot and adults 50 years and older 2 boosters. Some people 12 and older who are moderately or severely immuno-compromised should also get 2 boosters.


Supported by...

McKnight FoundationPohlad family foundationThe Minneapolis FoundationSaint Paul & Minnesota Foundation