Native Word

“The early bird gets the worm,” my dad would always say. He is notorious for waking up between four and four-thirty in the morning. In those early dark hours, you can hear his steps, the smell of coffee brewing, and the sound of newspaper pages turning. I’m not going to lie. I was incredibly annoyed by this, much like the rest of my siblings. Admittedly, I took a lot of my parents’ teachings for granted at an early age. Today, I have a deep appreciation for my dad and the lessons he offers.

Gyasi Ross is of both the Blackfeet nation and the Suquamish nation, and currently lives on the Port Madison Indian Reservation.  He is a father, lawyer, filmmaker and author.  For many people living on the reservation Ross is the only lawyer they know, he said, and so he gives legal advice as best he can. Above his various vocations, Ross is most passionate about being a father to his son.

Julie Cajune is a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of Montana. She holds a bachelor's in elementary education and a master's in bilingual education. Julie was the first to teach the Salish language in the school system on the Flathead Reservation in Montana. She is also the executive director of the Center for American Indian Policy and Applied Research of the Heartlines Project. She was profiled in UTNE Reader as one of “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World.”

I had the opportunity to interview Frank Blythe, who is my grandpa and Founding Executive Director of Native American Public Telecommunications, Inc. (NAPT), as well as my mom, Francine Blythe, who is Executive Director of the National Geographic All Roads Film Project. The three of us were in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at the same time and we got together for a cookout.

During the first week of October, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the Cooper Gallery in Morrill Hall opened "A Turning Point: Navajo Weaving in the Late 20th Century," an exhibition showcasing modern Navajo textiles reflecting a culture balancing both tradition and change. The exhibit's opening coincided with the Textile

Dr. Arne Vainio, an Ojibwe physician on the Fond du Lac Reservation in northern Minnesota, is about to have his fiftieth birthday. As a doctor, he encourages his patients approaching the age of fifty to come in for a series of health screenings to determine their risk for health conditions such as diabetes and colon cancer that have tendencies to appear at midlife. Despite the life prolonging benefits of obtaining these screenings, many men are reluctant to undergo the tests, including Dr. Vainio.

Rick Wright (Ponca) talks with reporter Aden Marshall about Ponca history and the significance of Chief Standing Bear.

Interviews conducted and edited by Aden Marshall with assistance from Eric Martin.

Judi gaiashkibos (Ponca) talks with reporter Ben Kreimer about the historical significance of Chief Standing Bear and the annual Chief Standing Bear Celebrations occuring in May in Lincoln Nebraska.

Interviews conducted and edited by Ben Kreimer with assistance from Aden Marshall.

Reporter Aden Marshall speaks with Mike Wolf, Richard Lasely, Gary Lasely and Eugene Gilipin about Ponca history and the significance of Chief Standing Bear.

Interviews conducted and edited by Aden Marshall with assistance from Eric Martin.

Recently, Winona LaDuke (Anishinaabe) spoke at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln during a leadership conference. She spoke about activism work and her fight against the problems faced by both Native and non-Native populations in American society.

You can listen to the speech and then add your comments below.

AIROS carried the 2010 State of Indian Nations Address delivered by NCAI President Jefferson Keel (Chickasaw) Friday January 29. Listen to the speech right now. 

Themes will include: Indian Country's priorities for the Obama Administration and the 111th Congress; economic development; health care; the protection of American Indian tribal sovereignty; homeland security; and the many other issues currently facing Indian nations.

Subscribe to Native Word


Native stories that represent the cultures, experiences, and values of American Indians and Alaska Natives for your station!


Current funding, job, and training opportunities that support the production of Native content. Plus, additional information for filmmakers.


Hands-on educational tools for middle school to college-aged students that increase the Impact of Native films in the classroom.