A State of Perpetual Memory: Native Identity Through Connection to Land

April 13, 2022 Season 2 Episode 3
A State of Perpetual Memory: Native Identity Through Connection to Land
Show Notes Transcript

There is no singular Indigenous experience. We take a walk with five Indigenous peoples from five different regions of Turtle Island in what is currently known as the United States to hear their stories about their identities, their cultures, and their connections to land.  

Guests featured are John Scott-Richardson (Haliwa-Saponi Tribe, Tuscarora lineage from Six Nations), Carey Flack (Mvskoke Creek descent, Cherokee and Choctaw Freedmen descent), Jeremy Dennis (Shinnecock Indian Nation), Lofanitani (Black, Tongan, Modoc, Klamath, and Cherokee descent), and Colette Denali Montoya (Pueblo of Isleta and Pueblo of San Felipe.)

Host: Jessica Ramirez. Producer: Stina Hamlin. Story editor: Tracy Rector.  

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! How is your Indigenous identity connected to land? 

The Seedcast team is inviting our Indigenous listeners to record your thoughts in a voice memo and send them to: We plan to share your voices in a future episode! 

Learn more: 

Seedcast is a production of Nia Tero, a global nonprofit which supports Indigenous land guardianship around the world through policy, partnership, and storytelling initiatives.

Enjoy the Seedcast podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and your other favorite podcast platforms.

Keep up with Seedcast on Instagram and use the hashtag #Seedcast.

Seedcast Season 2 Episode 3 

April 13, 2022

[00.00] Lofanitani: Dwa napka. Which is Klamath for what's happening? Like, what's - what's good? Hello! (laughter)

[theme music]

Lofanitani: Hello, everyone. What's happenin? My name is Lofanitani. I'm Black, Indigenous. I am Black and Tongan. And my tribes are Modoc, Klamath and Tahlequah Cherokee.

Jeremy Dennis: My name is Jeremy Dennis, an artist and photographer, part of the Shinnecock Indian Nation. 

Carey Flack: My name is Carey Flack. I'm an unenrolled descendant myself of the Creek, Choctaw Freedmen, and Cherokee Freedmen Tribal Communities. 

John Scott-Richardson: My name is John Scott-Richardson. I'm an enrolled member of the Haliwa Saponi Tribe. I also have Tuscarora lineage from Six Nations.

Colette Denali Montoya: I am Colette Denali Montoya. I'm an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Isleta. 

Jessica Ramirez: And I'm Jessica Ramirez, your host of Seedcast!

Theme song by Mia Kami: We are standing, hear our calling, we are rooted to the ground we’re here to stay. No staying quiet, we stand united, we are rooted to the ground, can't tear us down, we’re here to stay…

[00:01:24] Jessica Ramirez: At Seedcast, we share stories from Indigenous peoples who live across the globe. These cultures and traditions are what we all need in order to live in a more sustainable future. And in sharing these stories with you, we want you to listen with curiosity. And we’re learning that there are so many different perspectives on how we can take care of the land, and each other. Exploring Indigenous identity asks us to have critical conversations, because hearing one person's story can spark another conversation where we can all learn from each other.

There is no one Indigenous experience. In the United States, there are over 574 federally recognized tribes—tribes that are thriving—and there are so many more that are not officially recognized by the government yet here they are, and they still exist. They continue to have their own unique connection to these lands. 

[00:02:44] Jessica: In this episode, you will hear from five different Native peoples in the United States on Turtle Island. they will share their perspectives on how their identity is connected to land using their own voice in their own words. This is just a conversation starter. There are so many voices to be heard, which is why we would also love to hear from you!

If you identify as Indigenous, we encourage you to share your perspective in an audio note answering this question: How is your identity connected to land?

Record a voice memo and email it to us at, and we hope to share it with you in the future! 

Learn more:

[music plays]

[00:03:42] Jessica: I am speaking to you from the Pacific Northwest in Seattle, Washington, I’m a guest on Coast Salish Territory. I’m so excited to share the stories of our guests today that are coming from the East Coast, West Coast, Midwest, South, and the Southwest. So here we go….

First, we're going to listen to John Scott Richardson, an actor, director, and writer who spends his time back and forth from New York City to North Carolina. Take a listen.

[music plays]

[00:04:22] John Scott-Richardson: Bi'waPi'la huk. Hello. My name is John Scott Richardson. I'm an enrolled member of the Haliwa-Saponi tribe. I also have a Tuscarora lineage from Six Nations. My name, my affiliated name, is Ka rer uk'a Kehna"Kse, which means Running Fox, or One That Runs Like a Fox. And that is in my language of my people. The word Saponi means people of the red earth and so basically, that is our identifying name.

The Haliwa part is mostly an identifier of the land where we currently are now, which basically is a composed name of two counties that we occupy in North Carolina. And that's where I'm originally from, that's where my parents, my grandparents, my great grandparents dating back in that area, the mid 1800s in that specific community. And we have a geographical boundary that is identified via the census records, right, because that is sort of the supporting document because we are not a federally recognized tribe. We are state recognized. 

[00:05:41] In our community—like I said, we're people of the red earth—so our earth, it's very clay-like, it has a lot of dark red tones in the earth. It's very iron rich. When the weather is starting to get warm, you hear this beautiful orchestra every night of the crickets and the frogs and you know, lightning bugs. And you have a lot of pine trees and stuff like that around. But you just have these very strong fragrances of sweetgrass, and you can hear water in various places you go. And it's just the most peaceful sound at night.
[music plays]

John: You know, the concept of ownership is not our concept, right? So that right there kind of starts the conversation in a different way when you realize that our, you know, ancestors and forefathers and so forth, you know, they just saw it as living in community and in a commune way with the land that this supported, all of us, right, and so it wasn't until the European construct of land ownership and creating borders and creating, you know, counties and towns and all of these things that start to separate us and, you know, intellectually divide things up is when that conversation got really, really tough.

[00:07:13] Our mindset is community wealth, right? We're about everybody. Most of us, I should say—and I can't speak for every tribe or every tribal person—but I know the general consensus though is that you know, we are only as wealthy as our community is, right? And so to say, okay, well, I want to amass all this land just for me, that's just not that's not generally our way, right. And, you know, that's, again, a different mindset or construct from a different group of people that have a different way of thinking. Right. And that's what they have imposed on us by disenfranchising us long ago. And now we struggle with a lot of things that come from that, you know, that we continue to deal with cumulative trauma issues. When you think about, you know, again, land extraction, you think about isolating people, you think about a lack of health resources people have. You think about the lack of employment, everything that we are faced with. You can directly look at policies and procedures that have disenfranchised us that have led to that directly. It hasn't been because we are people of apathy or people of not people of substance.

[00:08:28] Technically, we are of more substance than they were when they stumbled upon our shores lost, because we gave them everything they needed to survive, right? If we didn’t have it already, right, we would have been just as bad as they were. But no. And that's the thing, you know, forget about. We had irrigation and we had rotating crops and we had precious minerals and, you know, and goods and services. We had large trade centers throughout the Americas, right, you know, one up near Ohio and one down near Texas, where people would migrate from thousands of miles around to come and bring their goods and services. They don't ever talk about that. 

 [music plays] 

John: Indigeneity to me means understanding the original instructions that we have as human beings. To me, that is Indigeneity. The understanding of those original instructions is that I am a caretaker. I'm a steward here. Wherever I’m at, I can go to France, to Australia, but to understand that even though I'm on a different landmass, I'm still on Mother Earth. And I still—I'm supposed to be a caretaker and steward and I'm still to conduct myself in an honorable and respectful way to Mother Earth, and to other human beings. 

Learn more: Indigenous trade centers before contact 

[music transition] 

[00:010:05] Jessica: And now we’re gonna hear from Carey Flack, and she shares what it means to be Cherokee and Choctaw Freedmen, and a Muskogee Creek descendant. 

[00:010:16] Carey Flack: Hey y'all. My name is Carey Flack. I'm an unenrolled descendant myself as someone whose parent was adopted into an Afro-Indigenous family at birth. But my family's participation and membership of the Creek, Choctaw Freedmen, and Cherokee Freedmen Tribal Communities has been documented. This also means that my family's disconnection, which is also within historical circumstances, is relatively recent in the grand scheme of things. 

For context, that happened in the 1900s, which is common for a lot of mixed Native and even all Native families, a lot of Native families in Oklahoma. We all dealt with the impact of the 1900s in Oklahoma. But despite disconnection being relatively recent, that experience is really critical and still defines and impacts who I am today and how I identified growing up.

[00:011:19] Carey: I grew up in Michigan, far out from my Native identity. Although I'd always known that my grandfather was a Muskogee Creek, I didn't know he was Choctaw Freedmen, and I didn't know that my grandma was Cherokee Freedmen. Those stories were even further underneath the surface. Back to who I am, I grew up in Michigan, far from Oklahoma, and my twin and I are the only ones in our family not born in Oklahoma. And so Oklahoma has always had a very big influence over my life in terms of knowing that this is where I'm from. And being connected to my Black Oklahoma roots because I have my family, my cousins, my grandpas, aunties and uncles out here; and I've spent many of my summers out here in my formative years. Growing up I spent a lot of time in Muskogee, Oklahoma, on Muskogee Creek territory. And despite not being raised within my Native identity and being able to build that community, being able to know those lands is still something I hold really close. I have a lot of reverence for those lands.  

I think about like, the hot mugginess of Oklahoma summers being barefoot in the grass, and it's so dry and crinkly on you and the fireflies at night. The red dirt, and the way I always feel like it's holding me, the way the red dirt expands beyond even Oklahoma borders to Arkansas, to Texas. It's like it knows so much. 

[00:013:06] Carey: I'd say my relationship to this land is unique. You know, I've lived outside of Oklahoma and I've lived in big places like New York, and you know, people always ask me, what's better? Living in New York or living in Oklahoma? And I say, well, other places are lands of opportunity and jobs and things like that. But Oklahoma is a state of perpetual memory, and a state of perpetual futures to me. We joke how Oklahoma doesn't change when we come back, but it's almost something I kind of love because in this space holds a vessel of generations of people who have come before me, full of love and intention for my life.

I come here and my path is straightened out and makes sense. I'm able to make sense of the world from here. So my beginning and end is here in Oklahoma. When I think of growing old and passing away one day, I imagine being buried in the Black cemetery on Creek lands or next to my grandparents in Chickasha. Having this home base has been really important for me to always come back to, to remember. I see my relationship to Oklahoma from an Afro-Indigenous perspective, grounded in my Black upbringing, formed by re-memory and the experiences I've had of getting closer to my communities out here from visiting my family's Native Choctaw allotments, learning practices, and the sounds that echo throughout the summers of shaking shells and learning songs. And so I also think of Oklahoma, not only as the sounds and the feelings that I've inherited, but the memories I'm creating for my descendants as well with the practices I'm picking up. 

[music plays] 

 [00:015:18] Carey: So to me, coming into my Indigeneity means responsibility, especially from, you know, my particular location and experience. It’s the responsibility to learn, to unlearn, to strengthen and reaffirm my kinship webs, to be a mindful descendant, a good community member, and an ancestor who really earns that title.
Learn more:

[music transition] 

 [00:015:57] Jessica: Next we go west, to Los Angeles, California, on Tongva Lands where Afro-Indigenous model Lofanitani brings her point of view

[00:016:10] Lofanitani: Dwa napka. Which is Klamath for what's happening? Like, what's that like? What's good? Hello! 

Malo e lelei

Ko hoku hingoa ko Lofanitani Aisea

Ko eku ha’u mei Oregon mo Tonga mo many other places 

Dwa napka Ni a Lofanitani seesatk. Ni a Modocni choi Ewsikni Choi Black Choi Tongan, choi Tahlequah.

Hoot honk mna 

[00:016:40] Lofanitani: Hello, everyone. What's happenin? My name is Lofanitani. I'm Black Indigenous, I am Black and Tongan, and my tribes are Modoc, Klamath, and Tahlequah Cherokee. And I just introduced myself in both Tongan and Maqlaqsyaals, the language of the people, or Klamath language. I was born in Portland, Oregon, half raised in the city, half raised in Chiloquin, Oregon, on my Klamath reservation.

I feel like this is a really important aspect of my identity and who I am and how I see the world. It's impacted the way I have a relationship in the world, how I walk in the world. I was also raised a little bit in Aotearoa, or the colonial name is New Zealand. And so I got a lot of different cultural experiences and I got to be raised in the city, rurally, abroad.

And it's really taught me the importance to land—not only the importance of land, but the importance of my relationship with land, how I interact, how I care about water, how I talk about water, how I talk about myself, and how I show up to places and represent not only myself, but my community and the land, and how I protect just like who I am today.

 [00:017:45] Lofanitani: So I was raised on the Klamath reservation. I'm descendant-status, I'm not enrolled. Whenever I go on my homelands, whether I'm driving back, I'm driving through, or I'm visiting or I'm staying there, there's like this certain feeling and I've heard other people and other friends talk about it when they go back on their homelands and they either roll down the window or they open the door and it's just like this, this air. And I remember doing it too, because like, going home from the city, from Portland, Oregon down to Chiloquin there's a certain part where you get off the mountain, and there's a certain part where like you can—when it's summer of course, because otherwise you're just letting in snow—but you roll down your window, and just like this air comes in, and it's just like fresh and it's just like you can feel water in it. And it just feels really nice. And that's when I know I can inhale and be like, Oh, I'm back. Okay. All right. It feels really good.

 Tonga is in the Pasifika, it’s in the Islands, it’s in the Pacific Ocean, it’s very much near to Aotearoa. It's near to New Zealand. Some of my family lives in New Zealand. And when I visited Tonga in the islands for the first time, I got on the plane in Auckland, in Aotearoa and then I was in Tonga, and I got off the plane and I was like, “Oh my gosh, it’s hot!” I got that smell and I got that same feeling to how I feel at my Klamath reservation homelands.

[00:019:14] Lofanitani: Growing up, being Black, Indigenous. It's definitely—it was not easy. There's a lot of times in the city where people didn't understand my Nativeness; or they didn't understand my Nativeness, my Blackness, and my Tongan-ness. There's times on the reservation where people do not understand my Blackness, or my Tongan-ness; or even sometimes my Nativeness or just like all those things together. And so what I've tried to do and what I've done is just like bring all of myself everywhere I go. I don't leave any parts of myself at the door. I don't. I'm not ashamed of being in multiple cultures and walking and who I am, but it's been really hard cuz some people just can't, based on how they were taught and their capacity for understanding things, they just don't have the capacity to understand the richness and the complexities and intersections of who you are and like where you come from, where you're coming from. And so there's been a lot of times we're just like, you're not going to get understood and you just have to understand, you understand yourself. And understanding what it feels like to walk in my size 11 shoes, [laughter] and what it feels like to be this tall, to like have my hair, to have my features, to have that because that's the first thing that people see. And to understand for myself that it's way more than physical appearance for me to be Black, Indigenous, it's so much more. It's tied to land. It's tied to water, it’s tied to my understanding of how I love my homelands, how I love my people, how I love myself, first and foremost, because that informs everything else.

[music plays]

Lofanitani: Indigeneity to me is doing you unapologetically and absolutely. Period.

Learn more:

  • To learn more about what enrolled vs. unenrolled means, check out this Code Switch episode about blood quantum.
  •  Footnote:  Lofanitani refers to the Klamath Reservation, which is not officially a reserve. She explains in her interview that she refers to it that way because it is her homelands and where her community lives. 

[music transition]

[00:021:00] Jessica: [laughs ] Oh my gosh, I love that. Yes, 100% be unapologetically you!

[music plays]

[00:021:16] Jessica: Now, let’s take a walk with Jeremy Dennis in the Hamptons, New York. It’s one of the most expensive real estate markets in the world! And it’s where the Shinnecock Indian Nation still thrives on their ancestral territory—and they’ve been there for 10,000 years.

[00:021:38] Jeremy Dennis: Right now, we're on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation in South Hampton, New York. We're on the east end of Long Island, about two hours east of New York City, either by train or by driving. And we're on the peninsula right now surrounded, by the Shinnecock Bay on three sides. But it's a pretty small territory being 800 square acres. There's about 600 tribal members who live on the territory on and off. We're sort of a seasonal area. 

 But there's a lot to be still understood and told about how it is possible that we have this little bit of land left, in an area that the number one economy is real estate transactions. We were early on converted to Christianity, and we have a Presbyterian Church today. And so I like to think that the English colonists thought we were successfully assimilated, or sometimes they call them praying towns historically, where we would just be kind of controlled by just being converted. And just like whenever they would check on us, [laughs] we would just be in church or we would just be praying and just following their guide to these kind of “civilized” in quotes.

[00:023:06] Jeremy: But even in the past couple of generations, there are Shinnecock people who are deeply devout. They go to church every Sunday, and our biggest celebration, the annual Labor Day weekend pow wow, comes from the Presbyterian Church on the reservation. So it is still a big part of who we are today, and how we got here and remained here. 

It is really nice down here right now like, sometimes this would just all be flooded all the way back to the trees. But that's something that we've been trying to undo and control the last couple of years. We now have a dedicated environmental department, and they've been putting different boulders and bringing in huge amounts of sand to rebuild the coastline because after one of the major storms, I think it was Sandy, we lost about 20 feet on all sides of the reservation just due to erosion. So I think that they're trying to rebuild, elevate and try to create a barrier. But I think at this point it's just inevitable that this land will be really changed in 100 years.

[00:024:18] Jeremy: Our first contact with the English was 1640. And so in the historic era, we have our presence known at that point. But most Shinnecock people will tell you through archeology and anthropology, we've been here for over 10,000 years, which is incredible because Long Island itself was formed 15,000 years ago by glaciers. So I'm sure that we were also living on ice and snow, and [laughs] somehow made it through. But just looking in the soil, you can find some of our projectile points that date us back to that long. But a lot of our evidence nowadays is, it was organic, so you can't really see. Hence, a lot of our burial sites were unmarked. And just a ways of like if you think of like the Roman architecture and archeology, it just like always going to be there. It's made of like granite or marble, so nothing can really decay it. But here, we lived in such a different way that I think that the people who live next to us don't realize that and just think like, oh, we've always been on that little neck. 

[00:025:26] We're at the area called The Point, on the Shinnecock Reservation, and it's the southern tip of the territory. If you look at it on satellite images, it comes to a point on the very southern edge. So I think that pretty much every house in some capacity has access to the point through the shoreline. You could probably walk all the way from the entrance, all the way to the point in all the way to the other side. And so this is really part of our identity as canoers, and as wampum manufacturers or clamshell manufacturers, into beads. It's also just part of our sustenance. So we can come down here and get wild berries, you can hunt for deer, for ducks in different seasons. And it also just has a lot of our natural building material. So we have a lot of cattail reeds. These would have been used as sort of a thatching for the exterior of our wigwams. And so it's just so plentiful here, and we lived in a way that would allow us to harvest it, and move to another location to get more if needed, and come back and allow it to regrow. So it is really awesome that in the 21st century with like, all the economic development and all the push to develop the landscape that we still have pretty much just an entire third of our territory dedicated to nature.

[00:026:51] Jeremy: And it could in the future hopefully be used for research, it could be used for medicinal use, for plant harvesting and different ceremonial events. So I'm really happy that we still have this today. I live in a part of it, the part of the reservation that's very close to this territory. And so I always see turkeys, I always see deer. I wish I saw more turtles and things like that, but also in the sky, a lot of osprey and hawk down here.

Indigeneity to me means you're from a certain place in the world. I think we can all say that we're Indigenous to a certain place. Here in the East End, and the greater part of our nation, we often hear people saying like, “I'm a New York native, I was born here”, and that's the end of the story. But I think all of us come from a place that our people can call home. It was our ancestors' home, and we have such a rich connection to that place for millennia. And so I'm really happy that Shinnecock has that very clear path to saying we're Indigenous to Shinnecock. In fact, we were named Shinnecock after the land. It wasn't the other way around, and so I think that that's really empowering to know that history and to be able to claim that as fact.

Learn more:

[music transition]

[00:028:40] Jessica: To end this episode, we will listen to Colette Montoya. She’s a queer woman from the Isleta Pueblo of New Mexico, and she spent many formative years abroad growing up in Ukraine. At the time of this recording their land is under violent attack.  

[00:028:59] Colette Denali Montoya: I’m Colette Denali Montoya. I am living on Lenapehoking, Lenape lands, but I'm actually from New Mexico. Both of the tribes I’m part of, the Pueblo of San Felipe and the Pueblo of Isleta, they're both federally recognized. There's 19 Pueblos, plus Hopi people. And then our sister Pueblo is Ysleta del Sur in Texas.

 My relationship to the land is really strong, I think in part because of our history of resistance. There was a revolt in 1680 of the Pueblo - a revolt led by a Tewa man, Po’pay, that's a point of pride in our communities. It's something that I'm really proud to be a descendant of. Pueblo people weren't displaced from our lands. We have this immense privilege that many other Indigenous peoples in North America don't have. We weren't removed. We are on our land where we emerged, where our culture has always been. 

 I go back whenever I can, which is usually once or twice a year. But as soon as the plane touches down at the Sunport in Albuquerque like, I just feel this wave of relief just like, okay, suddenly it just settles on me. And I feel just, like, nurtured and safe, and cared for by this land, by the lands that are around me. I mean, like, the sky is so big and the earth is red, and there's beautiful rock formations everywhere. And then our river runs through all of it, and it links us all of the Rio Grande Pueblos together. Our lands, in like the dinosaur ages, were an ocean. And I've heard that you can still find shells and ocean-related fossils out in the desert, and that's beautiful. I just, I think that's incredible that we have this history—not just us, but like our more than human kin, too, of living on this land, even when it wasn't land. 

[00:031:07] Colette: I love as we approach the village and you roll down your windows, and you just take it all in and we turn off the radio and have like, you know, just absorb everything. And you can smell everyone's wood stove—like this cedar smoke, the smell of cooking red chili on the stove or like the freshness, like when you're mixing dough for tortillas. Food is of the land, too. And that means we're from the land, because what nourishes the land literally nourishes us. It's home. It's like home in this way that even though I've lived in many places all over the world, like this is really home in a very primal sense.

I guess, like, when I was thinking about my identity and my relationship to my homelands, I don't think they're different. Like, I identify as a Pueblo person, and my Pueblo identity is so strongly tied to our lands that I think they are just the same thing. I have Tiwa and Keres ancestry, but I think it's also incredibly important to acknowledge that I spent a lot of my childhood, most of my childhood living in Wisconsin and also in Ukraine. 

[00:032:16] Colette: As a teen, I lived in Kharkiv, and it's a city in the east of Ukraine. At the time it was primarily Russian-speaking. It's very close to the Russian border—very close. And in this present moment, it's a war zone. Just a few days ago, I saw buildings that I’ve walked past hundreds of times being bombed and destroyed on television. And it's difficult to witness from afar. Difficult to the point that I feel, in some ways, I'm like barely holding it together and I can't. My heart is breaking for the people there. The people who were my community at one point in my life. I call it, Kharkiv, like the city of my heart right? Ever since I was a kid. For Ukrainian people, and for ethnic Russians too who live there, that's their home in the same way that my homelands are my home. And they shouldn't be removed from them, and they shouldn't have to flee for their safety. And I'm really proud that I got to live there and that I have this incredible adolescence there that has made me into a person I wouldn't have been if I hadn't gone. 

[00:033:20] Living in New York City has really given me this incredible perspective on what it means to be Indigenous to a place, and have an unbroken tie to your homelands. Lenapehoking, New York City, the Lenape people were displaced. The majority of Lenape people, at least to my understanding, are living elsewhere in the United States, in Canada, and that's heartbreaking. And I think that they should have every right and every encouragement and every support in rematriating themselves in their cultures to their homeland.

Borders themselves are not real. They're social constructs that those in power come up with to control resources and to control people. And there are consequences of those occupations. The consequences are real. The borders are not real, but the pain and the realities of life, of diasporic life, those are very real. And I acknowledge that heartbreak and the homesickness that, like the people removed from their land, feel—my family and friends who are being displaced from their home in Ukraine; the Ysleta Del Sur community down near El Paso; and my partner and her family and her kin, and their displacement from Lenapehoking. And amidst all of that, I had the privilege of living in Ukraine, and I have this privilege to be a guest on Lenape land, and I don't know how to grapple with all that. I don't really have a concrete way of defining what that means to me, but it's part of my experience of being an Indigenous person, and I can't turn my back on any of it because all of it shaped me. 

[music plays]

[00:035:24] Colette: I couldn't put into words like, what does Indigeneity mean to me? I have this like really specific life story. That's my life story. Like, I'm this queer woman, Pueblo woman, and I don't really know how to answer the question because that way of living in this, like, intersection, of all those identities, that's the only thing I've ever known. I don't know what it's like to be non-Indigenous. I don't know what it's like to not be queer. I don't know what it's like to not be Pueblo. I don't know what it's like to not live in this diasporic state. My kin everywhere, my Pueblo kin, my Indigenous kin on Turtle Island, the people who are Indigenous to their homelands in Ukraine, all of those people, they've all formed who I am. And who I am is a queer Pueblo woman.

[music transition]

[00:036:25] Jessica: Thank you Colette. And we wish for peace for all peoples that continue to be displaced all over the world.

Learn more:

[music transition]

[00:036:34] Jessica: Thanks to everyone that joined us to share their stories. Listening to each other is so important and healing. I appreciate being able to hold these words in my heart. And I hope that at the end of the day, we respect all of those who came before us: our ancestors and yours and most of all, Mother Earth. We also appreciate you listening to these stories, and learning and understanding that we are all on different journeys. All of our voices are important. And one voice does not replace another. And again, we hope that it sparks that connection in all of us, to each other, and the land. We’d love to hear from you! So if you identify as Indigenous, we would like to invite you to share your perspective by answering: How is your identity connected to land?

All you need to do is record yourself in a voice memo from your phone, or any recording device, and email us at Until next time! Thanks for listening.

[theme music] 


Jessica: Nia tero is a Seattle-based foundation. We're both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples with a mission to secure Indigenous guardianship for all vital ecosystems. That means we provide support to Indigenous peoples globally who are protecting their homelands from colonization and destruction. Their practices are one of our best guides for making Earth livable for humans, and other species, for generations to come. 

Here at Seedcast, our guests represent themselves; they don’t necessarily reflect the views of Nia Tero. We honor their honest perspectives, and lived experiences. You can learn more about Seedcast, and about our work at Nia Tero, on our website 

This episode was produced by Stina Hamlin, and edited by Tracy Rector. Mix and sound design by Stina Hamlin and Jenny Asarnow. Our story advisors for this episode are Christopher Newell, Taylor Hensel, and Michael Painter. Executive producer is Tracy Rector. Our senior producer is Jenny Asarnow. Consulting producer is Julie Keck. Producer, Felipe Contreras. Fact checker, Romin Lee Johnson. Transcripts by Sharon Arnold. And theme song by Mia Kami. I’m your host, Jessica Ramirez, and we look forward to sharing more stories with you all very soon! 

Theme song “Rooted” by Mia Kami: Like the wind we still move, like the waves we rise high, like the sun we never die.

No staying quiet, we stand united, we’re rooted to the ground can’t tear us down, we’re here to stay…