Native America Calling

Weekdays 11:00AM - 12:00PM
  • Hosted by Tara Gatewood

Native America Calling is a live call-in program linking public radio stations, the Internet and listeners together in a thought-provoking national conversation about issues specific to Native communities. Each program engages noted guests and experts with callers throughout the United States and is designed to improve the quality of life for Native Americans. Native America Calling is heard on 52 stations in the United States and in Canada by approximately 500,000 listeners each week. 

Update: Disputed Mine Proposals

Feb 6, 2017
Mining excavator by Vic Tor/Wikimedia/CC

Tue. 02/07 11a:  Since taking office, President Trump, has taken action on promises to cut environmental regulations and advance energy industry projects from coal to oil pipelines. With that in mind, we’ll take a look at two proposed mines that could also get caught up in the pro-industry momentum. The Back Forty Project in Michigan promises large deposits of zinc and gold. But the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin opposes the project for environmental reasons and because of its close proximity to sacred places.

The Columbia River near Kennewick, Wash. (Photo: -Flickr: Ken Lund via Flickr/CC)

Thu. 2/2 11a: We’re within weeks of the Ancient One, also known as Kennewick Man, of returning to tribes in Washington state. It’s been a 20-year battle to get to this point. The argument between archeologist and tribes was finally settled by a DNA test and several court rulings. We get an update on the status of the 9,000-year-old remains and find out how tribal leaders in Washington are preparing for their return.


Tue. 6/2 11a: The sun is shining right now across Native America. Is your tribe taking advantage of this form of renewable energy? There are many ways that individuals and tribes can access solar power, but it costs money to establish a system to capture that energy and use it in homes and businesses. Would you like to see more solar systems in your community? Join our conversation about the solar industry in Native communities.


Retire Chief Wahoo?

Apr 27, 2015
Jim Chambers via Flickr

Thurs. 04/30 11a: This year marks the 100th year that the Cleveland baseball team has used the “Indians” name. The Cleveland Indians mascot, Chief Wahoo, has often been criticized because of its cartoon-like caricature of a Native American. With all of the attention on the Washington DC Football Team’s trademarks, where does the Cleveland Indians fit in the mascot fight? Are you offended by Chief Wahoo? Do you think it’s time to retire the mascot? Or do you feel that the mascot is not offensive to Native Americans?

Do You Powwow?

Apr 27, 2015
Sharon Sperry Bloom via Flickr

Wed. 04/29 11a: Some say powwow is more than just the dance and the gathering – it’s a way of life. Today we take a look at what powwow means to Native America and the people who hit powwow highway each year. Does religion play a big role when you step into the powwow arena? Has powwow lost its original meaning over the years or is it as vibrant as when you first danced? Is powwow a true representation of our tribal nations? How do the events on the powwow trail compare to our Native traditions? Join us as bring you voices from the 2015 Gathering of Nations Powwow.

Generation Indigenous

Apr 27, 2015

Tues. 04/28 11a: Native communities around the nation have been talking about Generation Indigenous – a big push by the Obama administration to support Native youth – that focuses on “removing the barriers that stand between Native youth and their opportunity to succeed.” Sounds good, and the White House is playing up the projects being completed, networks being built, and the listening sessions and gatherings designed for youth. But what exactly is Generation Indigenous? Is it funded? Are its impacts measurable? What do it’s participant have to say?

#NotYourHollywoodIndian Goes Viral

Apr 27, 2015 via Flickr

Mon. 04/27 11a: Hollywood has always known how it likes its Indians: drunk, dressed in feathers, or getting killed off by the cavalry. But late last week nearly a dozen Native actors walked off the set of a western parody starring Adam Sandler, citing racism, sexism and derogatory jokes about Native people in the script. Within hours #NotYourHollywoodIndian began trending on social media, sparking a national conversation on what it means to be an Indigenous person in front of the camera.

Indigenous Reggae Rhythms (Part II): Turtle Island

Apr 20, 2015
Al Burque via Flickr

Fri. 04/24 11a: Today we pick back up on our Indigenous reggae journey. This time we hear from Native music makers from North America like Casper, Quese IMC and the band Native Roots. Over the years, these Native reggae musicians have joined us in Studio 49 to talk about their connection to reggae music. In this pre-recorded edition of Native America Calling, we take a look back at two decades of Native broadcasting and the influence reggae music has had on our tribal nations.

Mister Native American Pageants

Apr 20, 2015

Thurs. 04/23 11a: If you think about pageant royalty, you probably imagine smiling young princesses, queens and misses looking their best and wearing a crown and sash. In Native America, Mr. Indian pageants may be gaining in popularity. What do their pageants look like? Who are the men running for these titles? What do you think about the idea of young men representing our schools and tribal communities with a crown and a sash?

Sainthood for Junipero Serra

Apr 20, 2015
Rogério Tomaz Jr. via Flickr

Wed. 04/22 11a: Junipero Serra has been called “the evangelizer of the west” for his legacy founding missions in California. In January, Pope Francis announced that he will make the 18th-century missionary a saint. But for tribes in California, Serra represents colonization, the eradication of Indigenous language and culture, and a religious system responsible for death and destruction of tribes and their members. Are the experiences of Native people at the hands of Catholic missionaries being swept under the rug by the church?

Emotions And Language Revitalization

Apr 20, 2015
Travis via Flickr

Tues. 04/21 11a: We all agree that it is important to speak our Indigenous languages. Learning a language is hard work and it’s even harder to for an entire community to start speaking again. Some feel that it is critically important to continue a language with only a few speakers left. But not everyone is able to spend the time learning their Indigenous language. This can lead to a range of emotions, including guilt. Is feeling guilty for not speaking your language a good thing? Can it motivate you to get moving? Or does it create an overwhelming feeling of fatalism?

Indian Child Welfare Act Update

Apr 20, 2015
Seema Krishnakumar via Flickr

Mon. 04/20 11a:A proposed new rule and ongoing lawsuit may lead to changes in the Indian Child Welfare Act, or ICWA. The Bureau of Indian Affairs proposed last month that a new subpart of ICWA be created to improve the law by updating regulations for state courts and child welfare agencies. A lawsuit, Oglala Sioux Tribe vs. Van Hunnik, is moving to trial. The plaintiffs (Oglala Sioux Tribe) received a favorable ruling when a federal judge, Chief Judge Jeffrey L. Viken, agreed the state was violating ICWA.

California Drought

Apr 13, 2015
Bert Kaufmann via Flickr

Fri. 04/17 11a: California is in their third year of a drought that has cost the state billions in agriculture revenue and thousands of jobs. On April 1, California Governor Jerry Brown, speaking from a dry patch of dead grass, issued an executive order to implement mandatory water restrictions across the state. Communities are now required to reduce water usage by 25 percent, although some cities and towns will have to cut current usage more than others. How has the drought affected California tribes? Are tribes required to enforce the mandatory reduction in water use?

Honor Runs

Apr 13, 2015
Adam Singer via Flickr

Thurs. 04/16 11a: Some Native Americans remember violence experienced by their ancestors through journeys across the lands where those events took place. They remember the Fort Robinson outbreak and Sand Creek Massacre with healing runs, the Wounded Knee Massacre with a horse ride and the Trail of Tears with a bike ride.  What is the purpose of remembering these events through walks and rides? Do you think it is healing or harmful to retrace these trails and remember those atrocities?

Amy McMullen

Wed. 04/15 11a: Trevino L. Brings Plenty (Cheyenne River Sioux) started writing when he was a teenager. Over the past 10 years, his writing has evolved from a hobby to published works of poetry.

Online Gambling For Tribal Nations

Apr 13, 2015
John Seb Barber via Flickr

Tues. 04/14 11a: Gaming has been profitable for some tribes, but others struggle to turn a profit and repay loans. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 made online gambling illegal, but states can also create laws that allow some types of online gambling.  Only three states in the US have legalized online gambling, although more are currently considering legislation.

Autopsies vs. The Sacred

Apr 13, 2015
Karol Franks via Flickr

Mon. 04/13 11a: In February, the families of Autumn Irene Martineau (Fond du Lac) and Mushkoob Aubid (Mille Lac) successfully fought to keep their deceased loved ones from undergoing autopsies. According to the families, autopsies would have violated their religious and cultural practices. Minnesota state lawmakers are now considering legislation that would allow religious objections to autopsies. In some cultures, autopsies are considered a spiritual violation and a disruption to the grieving process.

April 2015 Music Maker: Karina Moeller

Apr 6, 2015
Karina Moeller via Facebook

Fri. 04/10 11a: The soulful music of Inuit singer Karina Moeller is one way to jump into spring. Many people know her as one of the voices of the funk-inspired group Pamyua. Her new album “Simplify” puts the spotlight on her voice and musical ability, including her songwriting skills. The 12-track CD includes the sound of her loved ones and her Inuit culture. There are also gracefully constructed songs that are sure to feed any listener’s thirst for a little Indigenous R&B. We invite you to join us as we open our hour to Karina Moeller, our April Music Maker.

Polynesian Football

Apr 6, 2015
Matt McGee via Flickr

Thurs. 04/09 11a: A new documentary takes viewers inside the world of Polynesian football hopefuls. “In Football We Trust” premiered this year at Sundance and focuses on four high school football players in Utah who hope to become NFL stars. They also experience larger concerns in their journey: poverty, the allure of gang life, the demands of religion, and the pull of traditional Polynesian culture. These pressures are all begging for their attention and could help the young men improve their lives or tear them down.

The Future of Public Media

Apr 6, 2015
John Schneider via Flickr

Wed. 04/08 11a: Public television and radio receives funds from a variety of sources, including the federal government through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. For the past few years, Congress has voted to de-fund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Last week the House of Representatives voted again to de-fund the CPB, but the Senate passed a blueprint budget that would include funds for CPB. A joint budget resolution between the two houses is due April 15th. What does all of this mean for public media like NPR, PBS and tribal radio?

Food Deserts: Grow Our Own Food!

Apr 6, 2015
Reza via Flickr

Tues. 04/07 11a: Do you have to drive to another town to get groceries and fresh food? If you do, you may be living in a food desert. For people living in rural tribal communities, limited access to healthy food is a daily reality. Poor people in food deserts can try to stretch a dollar by buying cheap foods, which are often full of fat and sugar. How do we address this problem? Some tribes and organizations are creating traditional gardening and farming programs to grow food in the community. Do you think these initiatives are worth the investment?

Saving Lives or Enabling Addicts?

Apr 6, 2015
Daniel Foster via Flickr

Mon. 04/06 11a: In the past year, over 16 people from the Blood Tribe in Alberta, Canada died from a drug overdose. In response, health care workers are distributing naloxone kits and training community members to identify potential drug overdoses and administer this lifesaving drug. Also, in Indiana last week, the governor declared a public health emergency in Scott County due to a spike in HIV infections caused by intravenous drug use. Programs like needle exchanges and naloxone distribution are sometimes called harm reduction. But do they really reduce harm or do they enable addicts?

Fashion Forward Or Fashion Backward?

Mar 30, 2015
Mainstream via Flickr

Fri. 04/03 11a: At New York Fashion Week last month, fashion designer Marjan Pejoski sent a model down the runway wearing a dress with the sacred Navajo Yei on the front. In Italy, fashion label Dsquare presented a line they called #Dsquaw. Both showcases sparked controversy and anger in Native America. There is a line between paying tribute to Indigenous people and being offensive. Who draws that line and where is it? Why do so many non-Native designers cross it? These questions are raised every time a designer creates a line of clothing inspired by Native fashion and art.

VAWA 2 Years Later

Mar 30, 2015
Anna Sapphire via Flickr

Thurs. 04/02 11a: It’s been just over 2 years since Congress reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act. In February of last year, three tribes participated in a pilot project to exercise the special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction (SDVCJ) portion of the law. Under SDVCJ, some tribes can prosecute Natives and non-Natives for domestic violence, dating violence or violation of some protection orders in Indian country. Tribes must meet certain requirements in order to assert jurisdiction but some are questioning if a non-Native can get a fair trial in tribal court.

April 2015 Current Events

Mar 30, 2015
Neeta Lind via Flickr

Wed. 04/01 11a: At the beginning of each month, we host a Current Events show to highlight events such as conferences, fundraisers, powwows and fairs taking place in and around Native communities. In this episode, we take a look at what’s going on at The Good Road to Life Training in Albuquerque, the American Indian College Fund Gala in Los Angeles and Ida’ina Basketball and Gathering in Anchorage. If you have an event that you want to share with Native America, give us call and tell us the details between 1 and 1:45 p.m. Eastern Time. Our number is 1-800-996-2848.

The “Native” Accent

Mar 30, 2015
darwin Bell via Flickr

Tues. 03/31 11a: Smoke Signals made “Hey Victor” an Indian Country catchphrase. You can probably hear it in your head: the rezzed-out long vowels and lyrical quality of Thomas Builds-The-Fire’s salutation to Adam Beach. Have you ever wondered where that reservation accent comes from? Do you know people who switch between a “rez accent” and a “white accent”? Many of us don’t even realize we have an accent, but others are acutely aware that they don’t sound typically Native. On this episode of Native America Calling, the “Native” accent and what it says about us.

Indigenous Reggae Rhythms (Part I): Hawaii & New Zealand

Mar 30, 2015
dubdem sound system via Flickr

Mon. 03/30 11a: Today we start a journey through the sounds of Indigenous reggae that’s pumped out of Studio 49 over the past 20 years of our show. This hour, we do a little island-hopping to put the spotlight on Indigenous reggae from Hawaii, New Zealand and other locations. If your ears perk up when you hear the sweet sounds of Indigenous island style of reggae, we have a treat for you on this pre-recorded edition of Native America Calling.

Starting A New Business

Mar 23, 2015
Elliott Brown via Flickr

Fri. 03/27 11a: Taking the leap to go out on your own and start a new business is exhilarating and a little scary. There are lots of details that you need to handle, beyond funding. What barriers do aspiring entrepreneurs face as they seek to start a business in Native America? What resources are available for Native Americans who want to start, or grow, their own business? Join us as we discuss the challenges of getting a new business off the ground.

Tribal Constitutions

Mar 23, 2015

Thurs. 03/26 11a: Modern tribal nations pass laws, exercise criminal jurisdiction, and enjoy extensive powers when it comes to self-governance and matters of sovereignty. And of 566 tribal nations, just under half have adopted written constitutions. In the American tradition, a constitution limits the power yielded by governments over citizens, which raises a question: how can the rights of tribal citizens be protected if tribal nations have yet to codify their own functions and operations?

2015 March Book of the Month: “Sinking Suspicions”

Mar 23, 2015

Wed. 03/25 11a: The character Sadie Walela is back on the scene with a new adventure in the novel “Sinking Suspicions” by Cherokee author Sara Sue Hoklotubbe. It’s the third book in Hoklotubbe’s series set in Oklahoma. This story follows Sadie, a thirty-something Cherokee heroine, to Hawaii as she picks up a new profession as a travel agent. Meanwhile back home a missing neighbor sets the scene for a twisting mystery. Find out what happens when Sadie and the cast of characters start unravel the unknown on the next Native America Calling.