MATIKA WILBUR: Hello, friends, relatives, Matika here. Welcome back to all my relations. This is the final episode of season two. We did it. We made a podcast during a global pandemic. And all of you, our glorious supporters helped us through it. And we just want to say we love you for it.
ADRIENNE KEENE: We're just so grateful for everyone joining us on this journey for season two. And we're really proud of the work that we have done and just so thankful for all of the folks who spent time to talk with us, all the conversations that we got to have. And we also wanted to take some time on this closing episode to sort of reflect a little bit, talk about what's been going on behind the scenes, because there's a lot happening and what y'all can expect from the podcast moving forward. And there are definitely some exciting and new updates.
MATIKA: It's an interesting thing because we launched season two back in April and we had plans of doing live podcast recordings over the summer. We were going to go to IIA. and do a big shindig party live recording there. We had plans of traveling to do more shows. And then, you know, as the pandemic happened, we had to figure out how to record remotely, how to get guests to record remotely, how to function while staying home every day. I know for me that was a huge thing. I was like suddenly grounded after years and years and years of travel. So, you know, big, big, big changes in like the production side of the podcast. But we still managed to do it. We put out 12 episodes. We have another one coming out now, no,this is the last one.This is the last part of season two. But I think we touched on some really great topics. You know, we talked about the Mauna most recently and Thanksgiving. We talked about voting and being an indigenous artist, our connection to land and wellness. And, you know, I think overall it went pretty good. What do you think, Adrienne?
ADRIENNE: I mean, I think so. I know we had started out broadly with this idea of wellness, and that was going to kind of be the theme for the season. And as things shifted, we brought in more conversations and new ideas into that. But I really think the lessons that come out of these episodes are really important and kind of timeless and things that are going to help us as we move into this new stage of 2021 and a new settler administration and trying to think about how to continue the resistance, how to continue the fight, how to continue the work that we have been doing for a very long time. So I think the the conversations we had in season two really lay that groundwork in a in a great way.
MATIKA: Yeah. And, you know, and on a more personal note, I know we've kind of been in the same boat in that I signed a book deal. We signed a book deal actually with the same editor with Kaitlynn from Ten Speed Press, which is an arm of Penguin Random House. And I have been in this office attempting to write 5000 words a day besides doing this podcast. That's like the goal of every day. And so I got to tell you, you know, like I try to get up at like 4:00 in the morning and I try to write from like four till about like nine or ten. And then I get on the peloton, I try to peloton these booty cheeks into a higher position. And then and then, you know, I get to eating and feeding Alma and if I'm lucky, you know, if I'm lucky, I get to maybe like a 4000 a day word limit. And then I try to do all this stuff for the pod, too. And so on a personal level, I've been just trying to keep my production super high, but also feeling like I don't know about you, but it's hard for the home to be like the workplace, the office and like my coworker is is my man and my mom and, you know, trying to figure out, like the family dynamic of taking care of a baby while trying to write while also trying to, like, stay wholethy and hell and hell.Wholethy and hell, no, healthy and whole cause, you know, it's challenging. I know that you've been doing the similar things, you know, like writing a book. Your pandemic situation is different than my pandemic situation. The one thing I should acknowledge about also the difficulty of this time is the amount of funerals that I'm going to you know, like we had a massive loss in our community this week, a woman who sits with our people as they're making the transition to the other side. And she's done that for my relatives, for my family, for my community. You know, she's like one of those people that goes and sits with the bodies overnight and prays for the bodies all night long. And that's just one of many, you know, like we've lost many people in my own family and I think I've been really deeply impacted by these generational knowledge keepers in our communities that we're not getting to put to rest in the way that feels like the appropriate way, like the traditional way, like we all don't get to go and sing them out and bring them to all four corners of the longhouse. And so I've I've felt like thereʻs a whole different kind of trauma on top of trying to be productive during this time. That has also been incredibly challenging for me. And and the thing that makes me feel whole and healthy and well is ceremony. And not being able to have a sweat, not being able to go to the lodges are also contributing to what feels like ongoing trauma. And I take comfort in knowing that I'm not alone in this moment. You know that this is a collective moment we are all experiencing. But that doesn't change the fact that it's happening and that it's that it's real, you know, and then when you compound that with what's happening politically, you know, that it's like-
ADRIENNE: It's too much.
MATIKA: You know, it's too much. So anyway, I just thought I would say I think sometimes when we hear from people, it's easy to put on rose colored glasses, especially on social media and like, put up pictures on my Instagram of myself making bread. But the truth is, like there's also all of this like real daily struggle going on. And I think it's powerful to acknowledge that and say it out loud. And I think it kind of takes some of its power away.
ADRIENNE: This time has just been like overall one thing after another, and I think that's how it's been for so, so many of us and it's hard to think back even like when we started the season, how different my life was then versus how it is now. And so the biggest transition is that I am now single and living by myself, where at the beginning of the pandemic I had a partner and we were living together. And that has been really hard because it means that I am literally by myself every single day. Luckily, he did not take our dog. So it is me and Mochi all day every day. Mochi and I have grand conversations about the world here. He knows everything that's going on. But yeah, so I think that has been really hard because like you were saying, Matika, all of these things that were missing in terms of like being in community with one another, like being able to share spaces, I don't have that as like an outlet to be a part of my day to day life. And before we used to, we both were on the road so much. It's so strange to me that I have not been to T.F. Green Airport in like 10 months or something, wild. It's just like so weird. I used to be there literally like every other week, like I knew the girl at Starbucks, like we said hello to each other, like we had a relationship and now I haven't been there. I hope she's OK. But in those in that travel, I got to it was my reset. It was my way to be around other native folks, because out here on the East Coast, like, our communities are really small and they're very different. And in Providence, I don't have a very big native community. So it was my chance, like when I would fly off to do these talks, like all of a sudden I got to hang out with friends and relatives and, like, amazing native students and get to, like, be filled up in that way. And I haven't had that. And then I would get it in the classroom and I would get to be able to teach my amazing students and like be with them in person and get that energy and be able to, like, see them and just share that space. And I haven't had that. And so it's just been it's been hard, very isolating and a lot of ways. And on top of that, as you mentioned, trying to write a book and by not one book, I mean two books.
ADRIENNE: I know I know the most. The the book that's coming out first is the book that I'm working on with Ten Speed Press. It is moving full speed ahead. It's called “Notable Native People, 50 Indigenous Leaders, Dream Makers and Change Makers from the Past and Present”.
ADRIENNE: It's a illustrated book. So it's going to be illustrated by Ciara Sana, who is the amazing artist you all know well, because she's the one who does all our amazing podcast art. Ciara is the illustrator for the book. She is doing portraits of each of these 50 indigenous leaders, dreamers and change makers. And then I wrote short little like profile mini biographies for each of them. And then throughout the book, there are also these like spreads that are like settler colonialism 101. And like who belongs where I breakdown, like blood, quantum and tribal enrollment and representations matter and current issues in Indian country like that kind of stuff. And then a spread on like Alaska and Hawaii, because there's Alaska, Alaska Natives and Kanaka Maoli folks in the book as well. So it's been so exciting. But I was trying to write that in the midst of a breakup, in the midst of all of the everything shutting down, trying to teach online, and so it's just been a little wild. So while I've been working on this book, which is, again, very exciting coming out in October, I'm sure we will talk about that. I also have this academic monograph that has been causing me anxiety and stress for, oh, I don't know, like eight years at this point that Iʻve been writing it. I talk about I've talked about academia before on the pod, and it is a weird, strange world where only certain things are valued as productivity. Only certain things are valued for this process of tenure, which is what everything is working towards as a junior faculty member, as an assistant professor, you're working towards this day where you submit this massive dossier file of everything you've ever done in your entire academic life. And they send it off to senior faculty members around the country who evaluate that dossier and decide if you are worthy of having a job for the rest of your life, which is, you know, not a small thing, and I talked about it on the New Beginnings episode, but there's this committee called Tenure Year Promotion and Advancement Committee TPAC, and I think of them as the the Brown University, like Illuminati Supreme Court, like they sit in a room and they, like, debate your worthiness and then vote on it. So they're the final stand. So all of that is to say that I have to write this academic book in order to get tenure. There's like no ifs, ands or buts around it. And for folks who are not in academia who look at me and like my public work from the outside, it seems like I am very productive. I have this awesome podcast with you where we get lots and lots of listens. I have a blog that gets hundreds of thousands of page views and I have a Twitter that people listen to or that people read and all these things. None of that matters to, to academia. It doesn't. And in some ways it's seen as a distraction. It's seen as a detriment to my scholarly career. So in order for me to hit the the mark of what I need for tenure, I need to write this academic book and I need to publish some academic articles, both of which I have been slacking on. So it causes me so much stress. Like I literally have nightmares about TPAC and about tenure. And because for me, my gaining tenure at Brown is not just about me and my job security. I'm the only native person in my department and one of the only native faculty on campus getting tenure is about representing for native people in these spaces. It's that I want to be sure that there's a native faculty member on campus who can take care of the native students, who can support them, who can teach the classes in indigenous studies that need to be offered, who can continually push the university in challenging university to explore its role in settler colonialism and what it means to have a relationship with the land that it's on. So it's not just about me wanting a job for the rest of my career or feeling like I need the salary bump or whatever it is like. I feel a lot of pressure to represent for Indian Country like represent for indigenous folks in this space. And then the other thing is that this book that I am writing is about College Horizons, which is an organization that I love with every fiber of my being. It's a college access organization for native students. I've been working with them since I was a student in the program when I was 15, 16. I love everything about them and have done all this research. And it's really challenging to write an academic book about something you love so dearly and about people that you are so closely entwined with and related to and have these deep and long standing relationships with. So I think that been a lot of the challenge as well. Basically, I'm at the point of no return, no excuses time. My book is under contract with the University of Minnesota Press, which is very exciting. They're my dream press big goals in terms of academia, but I got to write the thing book and it has been causing me a lot of angst. So as I move forward, it's really hard for me to think about balancing priorities and what is happening in my life. I feel like much like you, Matika that like we haven't really had time to mourn in this period. And I know for me I need a lot of time and space to process loss and change and I haven't really given myself that during this time, where I've just been trying to go full speed ahead, trying to pretend that my life hasn't dramatically changed, and so I'm looking for ways to kind of give myself that space for reflection, for writing for quiet in some ways.
MATIKA: Which is all to say that Adrienne-
MATIKA: is going to take a small sabbatical from season three so that she can finish this book and have some space. And because it's a good thing to do, to take care of herself doesn't mean that she doesn't love you, podcast world.
ADRIENNE: Thank you. I had a hard time even saying that sentence because it does. This podcast does mean a lot and has meant a lot and and will continue to mean a lot. The game plan is that for season three, I'm going to take a step back. I am going to write the effing book. I shouldn't call it the effing book because I'm really proud of it like the research I've done. I love College Horizons, like it's such an important story and I really want to share in a good way. So I get to write the fabulous book and then go from there, which is why we thought we should try and bring in another co-host of the podcast.
MATIKA: Mm hmm. And you know, Adrienne, it should be said that it's hard to pick another co-host that's an Adrienne. You know, it's like, oh, you know, I mean, we have to acknowledge that you're irreplaceable and we love you. And, you know, the insight and the way that we disagree on things I think is really important, you know? And so it was hard when we when we I mean, there was a lot of tears on my end trying to think about how to how to do this in a good way, you know, but also like acknowledging that supporting one another and being a good relative means encouraging people to do what they need to do, even if it's not what you want them to do. So, you know, like that's me being a good relative. And so we were like, who are we going to have? Do you know, like being a co-host for this project? And we thought, oh, my God, there's so many cool people, there's so many cool natives that we could reach out to. But we thought, no, it should be somebody that we feel like personally connected to that we have story with that we respect their work. We know they're not going to wild out, you know. And so we went through a list didn't we, Adrienne? We went through a list and we came to this conclusion that we should work with Doctor Dr. Desi.
ADRIENNE: Yes! We really wanted to bring in someone who kind of gets us, gets what we're trying to do here, shares a lot of like memories and laughter and all kinds of stuff with us. So we're bringing in Dr. Desi Rodriguez-Lonebear and she actually has been here this whole time, lurking in, listening on the call. So, hey, Des!
MATIKA: Hey hey.
ADRIENNE: Welcome to all my relations.
DESI RODRIGUEZ-LONEBEAR: Thank you. Happy to be here.
ADRIENNE: So for the audience, why don't we let you go ahead and introduce yourself in the way that you would to, you know, a large group of people, let the people know who you are, if you want to do it in the traditional way, however you want to do. And then Matika and I can talk story a little bit and tell folks about how we know you and how we brought you to this place.
DESI: [speaking Native language] Good day, everybody. [speaking Native language] I'm Desi. My Cheyenne name is [Native name] and I'm a citizen of the Northern Cheyenne Nation and Chicana. I belong to the small wooden legs and spotted elk families from the Cheyenne and the Lakota people on my mother's side and the Rodriguez, Arvizu and Cruz families from the Sonoran Desert and the mountains of Guanajuato on my father's side, I'm a relative, a researcher, a rez girl and a data warrior. I work as a professor who studies indigenous erasure and resistance.
ADRIENNE: Yes, you do.
DESI: Yeah, that was hard, that was scary because you're like, am I all those things really?
ADRIENNE: Oh, Desi and I go way, way back. It's kind of I love that there's still this tie in because I am taking a podcast sabbatical to write my book about College Horizons. And Desi and I met at College Horizons, so we were like just baby teenagers out in the middle of the woods in New Hampshire, Dartmouth College in like 2000 to or something like that.
DESI: Yeah, twenty years ago.
ADRIENNE: And we were in the same small group. We were in a group of like eight students and from that small group ended up at Stanford together and were friends and homies through Stanford and then have continued on into PhD worlds and academia.
MATIKA: You know, I met Desi I donʻt know where did we meet, Desi? It was a couple of years ago. Seven years ago was it? I don't know, it was years ago-
DESI: I got like a message that was like, hey, I'm coming to Lame Deer, we know people in common. Can I sleep on your floor? And I was like, OK.
ADRIENNE: That sounds about right. That's how Matika and I met too
MATIKA: Thatʻs how I make most of my friends. I basically just asked to stay over.
DESI: I was like, come on, I live in a trailer house, girl. I mean, it's nothing fancy, but you're welcome to stay for however long you need. And that was kind of the beginning.
MATIKA: Mmhmm. We had a good time. We worked out.
DESI: We we tried to run. I tried to run. You were you were pretty good at running.
MATIKA: I was fit, girl.
DESI: You were. I was like, this isn't going to happen, but I'll just chase you.
MATIKA: Oh, we had a great time. We did a bunch of photo shoots. Her her aunties tried to pair me off with some of her cousins.
DESI: Oh my god.
MATIKA: You know we had a good time. It's true. And, you know, I've been following your work ever since. I have mad respect for what you do for community, for the academic community. And I think we should just talk a little bit about, you know, expound on what it is that you do and how you became doctor, doctor.
DESI: Doctor, doctor. Goodness sakes, that's hard to hear because it's true. But it's also like reflects a very long and difficult path to get there, one that took me all over the world. I had a baby in between, all of these things. But yes, 2020 was a really hard year for everybody. And but it was also a year that saw the end of a huge, huge journey for me, which was my PhD two Ph.Ds.. So I'm trained as a social demographer. So I have training, a Ph.D. in sociology and Ph.D. and training in demography. What that means is essentially I am overly educated, first of all. And second of all, it means that I look at how population data are used to inform our societies, how they're used to structure systems that, you know, serve people or don't serve people is is really what I'm about who's counted, but really who's not counted, who's not in, you know, these stats and in these data and who's absent and why, who has the power and who doesnʻt. But the work that I am very passionate about is indigenous data, not just in the U.S. but all across the world is really how do we empower tribal communities, indigenous peoples to reclaim their data systems, their knowledge systems, to develop their own numbers, you know, that inform their futures on their terms and not have to rely on federal agencies, on state governments, on local local entities or scholars and NGOs and universities, for that matter. How do we build data by us, for us? How do we rebuild data by us, for us? Because we've always been data experts, indigenous peoples have always been data experts. So that's why I went into the demography stuff, because I was like, OK, demography is the study of populations. It's using statistical analysis and data. You know, it's heavily quantitative. And we need native peoples who know those skills, who have that, you know, those tools. And so I I'm really thankful to have had that training and to have been trained by, you know, one of the only indigenous demographers in the world, Dr Tahu Kukutai. Beauti down in in Aotearoa, New Zealand, that set me on this path to Indigenous demography and then intersecting it with sociology and figuring out how numbers and data tie into our systems and our societies and our peoples. So I run the Data Warriors lab, which is an indigenous social science laboratory, and I've got some cool students, I've got lots of connections into different tribal communities. The hope is that will branch out into tribal colleges and universities and really form partnerships there. I want to get a CDL. I want to get a bus. I'm going to be on the road once this pandemic is done. Kind of 562 style, but different at the same time with this is like traveling data warriors lab and like coming to a native community near you and figuring out how to train people, especially young people and, you know, bringing good things and leaving good things and hopefully building that data warrior army. That's the goal.
MATIKA: Wow. And you're about to start teaching also, right?
DESI: Yeah. So, I mean, I get paid by UCLA, so I work as a professor who studies, you know, Indigenous erasure, resistance. I teach like, sociology 101, I teach stuff in race and ethnicity, I teach indigenous studies stuff, but beyond my job or I guess I should stay connected to my job is the life of a researcher and a relative. And, you know, I really believe I cannot be a good researcher unless I am a good relative. And that means maintaining connections, connections to the people in the lands and the waters that raised me and who keep me. And so though my job is at UCLA, I feel like, as most indigenous scholars are, you know, we are always, always on the go, always on the road, always figuring out how to connect and maintain and how to continue to do the work that needs to be done in in native communities, whether they be on reservations or in urban areas.
ADRIENNE: I mean, it's just amazing to hear, having known you through a lot of parts of this journey to like hear that now is just like gives me chills and makes me so proud to know you and like so excited for the work that you're going to be doing and already have done. And I think I just need to reiterate for listeners that Desi has two PhDs from two different universities and one of them is in New Zealand, like like that is wild. So when when Matika is calling her doctor doctor, like, that is why that is why. It's so amazing. That's crazy. Damn girl.
DESI: It nearly killed me. Being on my own as a mom, you know, trying to get through this pandemic, trying to be a good relative to be in community and help, you know, my people in some way continue to be somewhat productive. You guys are so productive, I'm so, so amazed and just like impressed by Matika and her 5000 words limit a day. Yeah, I mean, like, whoa, woman. Power to you.
MATIKA: I did it to myself, I did it because I didn't wasn't writing like I should have been six months ago. That's I did it to myself.
DESI: But see, I mean, a good deadline you never waste a good deadline, like but you know, we do all the things and somehow, some way like we make meaning out of it, out of the chaos. I think that's that's what we do as indigenous women to you know, we just keep doing we are doers like I was thinking about how do I describe who I am and what I do. And it's like I'm a doer. I was born a doer in my community. If anything, I'm a product of my mom and my aunties, also my dad. I got to give props to my dad.
MATIKA: You know, I think of visiting you when you were doing your Ph.D. in Arizona, down there in Tucson and the Sonoran Desert and your beautiful backyard. I think of you in New Zealand when I happened to see you there in that day, we went to the beach and we got wonderful New Zealand ice cream. And just like thinking of you on this journey and becoming this woman while also having a baby, I just don't I just can't. I just don't know how you did it.
DESI: You know, these babies, indigenous babies and you know this now, Matika, you know, these indigenous babies are born to survive. They're they're resilient. They're like, whatever my crazy mom does, I will be OK and my my little guy [name]. I gave him a name that's a warrior's name because I knew he would, he would need that name and he would live up to that name. And so [name] means warrior in Cheyenne. And so he is my little warrior. He's my my, you know, road dog. He's my copilot. We go all over. He has more stamps in his passport than like most adults, and he just rolls with it. So I'm just really, you know, I think about the life that I've been so blessed to live And I have made family and relations in so many different countries and people who love me and keep me and look after me. And and that extends to my son. And that extends to to to my extended family, you know. And I just think, wow, like the indigenous world we are, we want to make relations. We are generous, You know, we welcome people in and we hold you and keep you. And that's that's all that I can try to hope to do for others as well, you know, because I've been shown that in my life over so many years now.
ADRIENNE: As everyone knows, our podcast is called All My Relations and one of our kind of standing questions that we tend to talk with our guests about and really is the foundation is what that phrase or idea means to folks from different communities. So, Desi, as part of your intro. What does all my relations like, the idea of it mean to you? Is there a phrase in your language? How do you think about that idea?
DESI: Sure. So all my relations to me means thinking deeply about the people and the lands and the waters to whom I am accountable and I'm a relative first and foremost. So having to really center and ground myself in those relationships. I'm a mother. I'm a daughter, a granddaughter, a big sister, which is an important role. I'm an auntie. I was born to be an auntie, man. Auntie life is amazing, you know. But for me, I think all my relations is just who keeps us and holds us, what keeps us and holds us. And so the lands for me, you know, the lands of my people. Those are the lands that raised me and that keep me and the people who fought so that we could have that. To me, that's what all my relations mean. And in Cheyenne, I had to ask my grandma Henri Mann, because I'm not a fluent Cheyenne language speaker and I want to, you know, that's a part of my lifelong learning, is to get to a point where I can at least pray in my language and where my son can pray in our language and so that the ancestors know who we are. And so I asked my grandma Henri, and I said, how could I say all my relations in Cheyenne? And she said, you know, we don't really say that. You know, that's not really that's not a term that we have used, but it's a term that has come into use now, right in this kind of contemporary indigenous world that we are in. And so she said people do use it, but it's not necessarily a term that that has like a really long, you know, historical use. And so but she said you would say [speaking Cheyenne]. And that means all my relatives. To me, that's all my relations, all my relatives, you know, the people, the lands and the waters. And so the hope is that I'll get better at saying that and I'll say it more and more and more. And I do want to also say that I do have a Cheyenne language teacher back home. His name is [name]. He's an amazing Cheyenne language teacher who has taught so many of our young people and keeps keeps trying and keeps doing everything that he can. And so, yeah, [speaking Cheyenne] for for encouraging all of us.
MATIKA: I love that.
ADRIENNE: Me too.
MATIKA: I love it any time that any one of our guests talks about this concept because and I want to acknowledge that your grandma Henri, is Dr. Henrietta Mann who was on our language episode.
DESI: Oh, yay!
MATIKA: I love her as a teacher, as an elder and as an auntie that I stay with. And thanks so much Des, for sharing that with us. And you know, the podcast, we always think when we're making these episodes, like what is the moment of connectivity and relationality for our, for this episode and thinking through what does it mean to be in good relation at all times and how how are we thinking through that idea with all of our guests? I always think that like the colonial project is meant to disrupt our relationships with ourselves, with one another, with the land and the water. And so a big part of taking back our indigeneity, if that's even a real concept as though there's like a thread of indigeneity. But for me, taking back my traditional value systems means reconnecting with my relationships with water, with land, with community. And so I thought maybe we could take a moment to talk a little about what that means right now, given that the world is changing so rapidly around us. And I kind of wanted to reflect for a minute on the inauguration, the insurrection, etc., and I'm going to do as I always do and say, go ahead, Adrienne.
ADRIENNE: Youʻre gonna have to practice, Go ahead, Desi.
MATIKA: Go ahead, Desi.
DESI: Go ahead to work on it. Take it away.
MATIKA:oGo ahead, Desi. Take it away.
DESI: It's like it's like I'm like, ready like its a powwow announcer so now I'm just like, OK, I'm ready, ever ready. Take it away. Yeah. I don't know. I'm going to I'm going to defer to Adrienne. She's been she's been a doctor longer than me. And then I will weigh in.
ADRIENNE: What are yall going to do without me, thereʻs going to be these long pauses that we're like and that's where that's where Dr. Keene would weigh in. No, I think all of these ideas that Marty and I both talked about in our reflections, like we're just in this moment where the way that we've always done things is not possible. And so that leaves room for both possibility, but also for a lot of like pain and hardship. And I know for me, like watching all of the settler shenanigans in the last couple of weeks has been such a strange like like I got very emotional watching Kamala get sworn in at the inauguration. Like, just it felt really important. But at the same time, I know that it doesn't matter who's in charge in Washington, things are still going to be really hard for a very long time. And the work that we're doing is going to have to continue. And it's not like there's a magic switch that everything's going to be fine. And in my perfect world, we wouldn't even have a government in Washington and we'd be our self-governing, sovereign nation. So there's a lot of those mixed feelings of like feeling a little bit of hope now that the last administration is gone, but also realizing that it doesn't always matter for native communities.
MATIKA: I was listening to CNN last night and they were talking about how refreshing the first debriefing from the press secretary was. And the commentator was saying, it's nice to know that America is finally going to be decent again. And I just got to tell you, like the rhetoric around returning to decency like that and while watching the inauguration, I, too, cried for most of it. I don't know why I was so emotional the whole time, but I was like I kept waiting for, like Joy Harjo to appear on the screen here.
MATIKA: I was convinced, but I kept thinking, like, oh, yeah, we have a poet laureate finally. And she's serving a third term, one of two who has ever done that. Of course, she will be at the inauguration or like Deb Haaland is going to, you know, like open this place up with a proper blessing. And I just was kept waiting for, like, real indigenous representation, because for some reason in my mind, I thought that this administration, like, valued indigenous representation. And then it didn't, it just didn't happen. And and I immediately, like, took to my computer and started, like, stomping all these words out, you know, like of how I just like I feel trapped all over again, you know? And then it's coming to that same realization that, you know, while it was an exciting and important transition, I mean, God, thank God were you know, it's like we survived, you know, like the trauma of Trump. But there's still a lot of work to do.
DESI: We survived the trauma of Trump, but so many did not. And that to me is like that's where I'm sitting with this right now, is like, you know what? Like I am so, so concerned about how do we heal from this collective trauma that we've been enduring for, you know, for years, you know, the last year with the pandemic, but like 500 plus years for indigenous peoples. Like, let's talk about that. You know, my little trailer house is right next to the the cemetery. And at one point there were funerals every day happening. And I remember thinking, I'm going to go insane. Like, I cannot process the collective grief and trauma and I cannot help the way that I help. And that's part of my healing is to help is is to, you know, bring food and to give money and to, you know, do things that help. And we couldn't do that. We still can't do that, really, you know, because of the risk of COVID. And so families are doing this alone. They're doing this with with no support. You know, we're burying our people in in the the this rush because we're so afraid. We can't sing our songs. We can't sing them home. It's all of these things that I am just like I sit here and I just think, you know, OK, like a lot of people in America are breathing a sigh of relief. I'm still full of tears and I'm still full of sadness and anger and resentment. And there is no relief. Yeah. You know, I think it's great that, you know, Kamala is a woman of color, she's serving as our vice president, what's going to change? Like I see so much of of this life as an indigenous person in our communities day in and day out. It's like a reality check that no matter what, like our struggle continues.
ADRIENNE: Exactly. And I do want to clarify, I like what I was thinking during inauguration because it made it sound like I was like on board with it. I need to I need to be clear. I was fully working and doing other things and had it on YouTube, like in the corner of my computer. Like, I was not like sitting in front of the TV, like being like, oh my God. There were a lot of people on Twitter. I was watching Twitter and there were a lot of people who are like, what? No land acknowledgment. Like what? And of course, calling out that like Jennifer Lopez is singing like this land is your land, which is like the ultimate colonial whatever BS song.
DESI: But we can still like J Lo. We can still like J Lo, the song, no.
ADRIENNE: That's fine. But I mean, I think the thing is like, I was not expecting any sort of meaningful native representation, like that was not a thing that I could ever see happening at inauguration, because any time that the federal government acknowledges our existence or if they did a land acknowledgment, even if it was like weird and wrong, like they're still then acknowledging that they built this American dream on the back of indigenous genocide and like enslaved labor, that too. But I think so we're never going to see that. And that's not something that I am expecting. And like people are like someday like maybe we'll have a native like vice president or president and like, I don't want to see that. I don't want that at all. Like, who wants a native in charge of this, like, war machine of the United States? Like, that's not a thing that I that I hope for. So I did want to clarify that. And also, like Kamala Harris, is her history of being the prosecutor in San Francisco like, I have friends who work in law, immigration law, and like the stories I've heard from that, like there's a lot to unpack there.
DESI: We can still be happy that Trump's gone. Oh, my God. I need to, like, sit in that place of joy too. It's hard to reconcile these feelings and these emotions. Right. And I have a friend who's a psychiatrist who always says there's space for all the emotion, like, yes, yes, there is space for all the emotions and so feel all of them.
ADRIENNE: Yes, I love that.
MATIKA: I have been really proud of my nation, though, with the way that it's been taking care of its people. You know, like I've been saying over and over again, if tribes were taking care of the vaccination rollout, our people would be already vaccinated like they are here in Tulalip because our tribe went to bat to get vaccinations for our people early. They started rolling it out as soon as it was possible. You know, like I, I don't know about you guys, but I was vaccinated like two weeks ago and we've now began vaccinating like family members of non tribal members. So we've gotten through our membership and we have like the capacity and the mindset to take care of our people versus looking at what's happening with the federal government. It's very clear that it doesn't seem to want to take care of its people, you know, and yeah.
ADRIENNE: And one of the things that I've been seeing that I think is really powerful, too, is that a lot of communities are prioritizing not just elders, but also language speakers. And so I know in Cherokee Nation, like that was what our community did was once they had the like frontline health workers, the next here were our fluent language speakers. And I think a lot of these conversations around, like protecting are taking care of one another, like protecting our elders and our language speakers. It just shows fundamentally the different value systems between the settler US and indigenous communities. It made me happy to think about the fact that our communities are recognizing the importance of language and keeping that and that those are folks who need to get prioritized for the vaccine.
DESI: That's one of the things that if I sit here and I think about it like I'll cry because we have lost so many elders in my community who were fluent language speakers. They're gone now. You know, unlike a lot of native languages, our language, my Cheyenne language is very much at risk. I don't want to say that word extinct because it's not. But of like of of not being spoken every day, you know, by our people.
ADRIENNE: Wampanoag talks about it as sleeping.
DESI: Sleeping. Yeah. It's at risk of of going to sleep for a long time. And and we just lost another one, another one yesterday. You know, I'm just like the urgency then with which it puts on our generation, like we're not young, you know, like I sometimes I have to check myself and it's like Des, you're not young, you're not a teenager, you're not even in your 20s anymore. You are a full fledged adult with responsibilities not only to your family, but to your people and what are you doing to figure out how this next generation will have this language, you know, will have access to all of these things, can live where you know, where we've always lived. All these things, like it's sometimes you just have to, like, have this reality check and it sucks because I'm like in my head, like, I'm not in that role yet, you know? But but we have to be we have to step into these roles. This is going to cause, I think, a whole new set of relations to develop post pandemic. You know, folks are going to have to be forced to step into to step into leadership positions that maybe they don't feel like they're prepared for, that they're ready for. But guess what? Like the time is now, we got to do it. Who else is going to do it?
DESI: Word, that's how we end it, word.
MATIKA: So we have a lot to look forward to. In season three, we are going to talk about the Black Lives Matter movement. We're doing a special series, All My Sexual Relations. We're talking about indigenous motherhood, missing and murdered indigenous women, the border crossing us and so much more. So thanks, relatives, for coming on this journey with us for season two. Stay tuned for season three.
DESI: Like and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. Become a patron on Patreon and follow us on Instagram @amrpodcast. Show us some love.
MATIKA: On that note, we're fundraising for season three. So if you have any leads, please send them our way and stay tuned for the release of our new AMR swag made by Alex Dayaks, Jared Yazzie, which will be releasing on the gram very soon.
MATIKA: This land is not your land. This land is our land.