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.

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"Let's Talk Native..." on the LTN Radio Network
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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Month in on My New Digs

"Let's Talk Native..." made the move to WWKB 1520AM on 9/11. After a month at this powerful 50,000 watt station I am still amazed at its signal strength. The fact that LTN can be heard from Seneca Territory to Mohawk Territory, without a satellite or the internet, just puts me in awe. Perhaps this says something about "old ways". Of course by posting my shows on my blog or or they can be heard anywhere and anytime and that's a good thing. But an AM signal carrying the words of Native people and Native issues, live, just through air, to be picked up by any traveler on the road on any Sunday night in a car or on a simple hand held radio is almost magical. It is like burning tobacco and watching your words take flight. Not to the powers of Creation but to anyone who cares enough to receive them.

It is a privilege to provide a forum for the discussions I have each week and I am grateful, not just to those that listen in, but to those that participate. I thank Matt and Dan for sitting in studio with me each week and I thank the callers and those that post comments here on my blog. Responses from as far away as Baltimore and the Poconos as well as the the local calls from right here at the Western Door of the Haudenosaunee add to the show. They suggest to me that the conversations we have on the show will continue at home, at work and, of course, on the web.

Another appearance on "The Capitol Pressroom" with Susan Arbetter in Albany last month and my up-coming trip to NYC, in the midst of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement to guest host once again for Tiokasin Ghosthorse on "First Voices Indigenous Radio" give me even more opportunity to encourage conversation. I just did a 3 hour interview for Buffalo Spree Magazine for an article due out in January. I can't help but feel the appetite for a Native message growing. I don't think it is a fascination with "our ways". Perhaps it's hope.

I have said all along that we have more to offer than gas, gaming and cigarettes. We may need to remove a little dust from who we really are and dig into that medicine pouch. I know we need to do it for us but, like I said, I can't help feel like there are those in the non-native community that hope we have more to offer as well. The beauty in doing "Let's Talk Native..." is that I get to interact with people who are quick to show their support for our issues. My guests find an on air experience that is as comfortable as a coffee shop conversation. Even those that have called in to take issue with the views I express have ended the conversation with gratitude and a little enlightenment.

Treaties, statutes and court rulings are put in their place on my show. Words on paper will never trump the spoken word as far as I'm concerned. When we hear educators refer to our "oral traditions", it is often made to sound primitive but I once wrote that for all the writing and reading we will ever do, it would teach us nothing if we couldn't discuss it.

It is not my intent for "Let's Talk Native..." to be entertainment, although I hope it is entertaining. My intent is to educate and to demonstrate a different way to address differences; an old way. As a Native person, it is not my vote I fight for or my citizenship or my passport or my Bill of Rights; it is just my voice. My voice can be heard every day: not once a year or every two years; not just when subpoenaed or interviewed, but every day. The spoken word is still the most effective way to communicate. Conversation, not legislation and adjudication, is the way to resolve conflict or satisfy concerns.

Just past a year on air and a month in my new digs and I am more convince now than when I started the need for conversations has never been greater. Join me on Sunday nights or look for me anytime on line and Let's Talk Native....