Believe What You Like But Know What You Must

People are free to be consumed with contemplating their existence, their origins, the origins of the universe, supreme beings, controllers of destiny or anything else. But solving "the Great Mystery" is neither a requirement of being Ohnkwe Ohnwe nor does it provide a path to righteousness. I maintain that spirituality does not require faith or the leaps that faith requires but rather awareness. If it helps to believe that "God has a plan" and we just must have faith that "He" knows what "He" is doing, then walk that path. My interest is in taking the mystery out of life by pointing to the obvious that is ignored everyday in the midst of fanatical ideology and the sometimes not too subtle influences of promoting beliefs over knowledge. I have said it before: “beliefs are what you are told, knowledge is what you experience”. I support a culture that prepares us to receive knowledge and to live a life with purpose. I am certainly not suggesting there is only one way to do that.

"Let's Talk Native..." on the LTN Radio Network

"Let's Talk Native..." on the LTN Radio Network
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Friday, August 19, 2011

Join me for my last show in New York

Next Thursday, 8/25/11, will be my last guest hosting appearance on "First Voices Indigenous Radio" while I filled in for Tiokasin Ghosthorse for the month. FVIR airs on WBAI FM 99.5 in New York City as well as over twenty stations throughout the US and Canada. Tiokasin invited me to his show and allowed me to bring a little of my own Western New York show, "Let's Talk Native...", to the Big City. It has been an honor and a privilege to host a show I have admired for years; a show that encouraged me to start my own.

I hope the faithful FVIR listeners liked what I brought in Tiokasin's absence and I also hope those listeners I brought to FVIR will continue to listen to the show and support the good work Tiokasin does.

Please check out the FVIR web site at and pay particular attention to the request for funds to help Tiokasin to travel to Auschwitz, Poland to participate in an event to raise awareness of the holocaust of indigenous people in the Western Hemisphere.

Join me for one last show next Thursday morning at 9am. The show airs live on FM 99.5 in the NYC, streams live everywhere at and can be heard in archives on both sites listed here and will be linked here on Native Pride as well.

Friday, August 12, 2011

"Let's Talk Native..." Completes its First Year on Air

I missed the opportunity to address a landmark for my entrance into radio. Last week was the first anniversary of "Let's Talk Native...with John Kane". My show is paid programming so it has and does depend on support from individuals to keep it going. I have to thank all those that have assisted in keeping our issues out in the public as well as to thank those who promote the show and encourage others to tune in. I have a list at the bottom of those I wish to acknowledge.
The show has been successful on many levels. While it is hard to gauge the size of the listening audience and the impact on them, every once in awhile a comment comes back, either from a caller or through Facebook or even email, that expresses some fulfillment of the intent of the show. Of course LTN has also created the opportunity to make appearances on The Capitol Pressroom with Susan Arbetter and allowed me to use those trips to Albany to push for support from state legislators who probably would not have done so without my urging. Jed Morey used an appearance on LTN to write an excellent column not only addressing the racist reporting of John Stossel from FOX News but he took it beyond a rebuttal. See it at
Although LTN does not have guests every week, the guests that have appeared have all been great and it has been my privilege to promote their work or provide a platform for their message.
As I write this, I am half way through fulfilling an invitation to guest host "First Voices Indigenous Radio" which airs out of WBAI FM99.5 in New York City and is carried on over twenty stations throughout the US and Canada. For the month of August I have continued doing my LTN shows Tuesday mornings from 9 till 10 on WECK 1230AM in Buffalo and then I travel to NYC to guest host FVIR on Thursday mornings from 9 till 10. The guest hosting in New York and travel for appearances are also made possible only by support from individuals.
I truly hope I can get "Let's Talk Native..." and Native talk radio in general to a point where it is self sustaining, but in the mean time the show is completely dependent on contributions and advertisers. Anyone interested in supporting the show can email me at

I truly thank the following for helping complete a year of good work.
The Tonawanda Merchants Association
Neville Spring
Ross and Holly John
Joe Harter
Totem Pole Smoke Shop
49 Express
Terri John
Sally Snow and Will Parry
Dan Post Jr. and Sr.
Suzanne Smith, Alyse Pierce Gunther and Aaron Pierce
Maxine Jimerson
Tom Moll
Eric White
Sue Sprague
Susie Cornell

Monday, August 1, 2011

"Don't Seize Native Brands", New York State Tax Department

Although the State of New York refuses to publicly state as much, the tax department has instructed its agents to leave Native brands of tobacco products alone. Over a dozen scenarios described in an inter-department memo states "DON'T SEIZE" on all but one. Only if "Non Native Americans, Middle Eastern and Foreign Nationals running a business in NYS and who are found selling untaxed native American made cigarettes at retail outlets such as bodegas etc. Seize the untaxed cigarettes whether they are premium or Native American brand.

It is interesting that it wasn't enough to reference "Non Native Americans", but they had to add "Middle Eastern and Foreign Nationals". I think they would have been covered by "Non Native American". Is this to single them out or to suggest a connection between the sale of Native brands and Jihadists?

New York Senators George Maziarz and Tim Kennedy still have not gotten a response from the tax department asking for exactly what this memo calls out so are stae representatives and the public to assume this is the response? Who knows. It certainly does not appear the governor's call to change the way things are done in Albany has gone into effect yet. The state is still dysfunctional. When two state senators can't get answers to a relatively simple request of the tax department that clearly have an answer to, something is clearly still broke.

Here is the content of the letter that Mr. Maziarz and Kennedy sent to the state's tax commissioner:

May 16, 2011

New York State Department of Taxation and Finance

Commissioner Thomas H. Mattox

Building 9, State Campus

Albany NY 12227

Dear Commissioner Mattox:

We write in today in reference to the regulations that have been issued for the collection of New York State Sales Tax on Native territories for sales of tobacco products made to individuals who are not Native Americans. In reading these regulations, it is clear that the issue of the sale of Native Brand cigarettes and tobacco products, which are produced on Native territories, are not addressed.

A call to your office yielded the response that this is a “gray area”. We respectfully disagree. There is currently no process in place to stamp Native cigarettes in order to effectuate sales tax collection, as can and is done with so called premium brands. It is our view that Native Brand cigarettes, which are produced and sold on lands owned by Native Nations, constitutes commerce that is essentially Native to Native, and therefore cannot be regulated or taxed by the State of New York. This issue is completely separate and apart from the Departments and the Courts contention that sales tax can and should be collected for the sales of premium brands to non-Native individuals, even when such sales are made on Native territories.

It is our view that the State should not pursue an effort to collect taxes on Native Brands because such an effort would be contrary to the sovereign rights of the Native American Nations, and would be a severe blow to the Native retail economy.

Since the regulations issued in the wake of the recent court ruling are silent on this issue, we request that you provide clarification to us as soon as possible and in writing. It is very important that all of the citizens of the State of New York and their elected representatives know what the intention of your Department is with regard to the collection of State taxes on Native Brand cigarettes and tobacco products.

We look forward to your timely reply and toward working with you to resolve this important issue.


Senator George Maziarz, 62nd Senate District Senator Tim Kennedy, 58th Senate District

Clearly a timely response has not been forth coming. In fact, thus far, no response other than the memo at the top has come.