First Voices International Radio

We welcome Tiokasin Ghosthorse who brings First Voices International Radio in newly woven sessions to SAVVYZΛΛR. The twenty-seven-year-old radio program transmits experiences, perspectives, and struggles of Indigenous peoples worldwide. The programme’s purpose is to ensure the continuance and survival of Indigenous cultures by airing voices who tell their own story in their own words, often in their own languages and ways of speaking. First Voices Radio educates and informs while building interconnected relationships with Indigenous communities worldwide. In a series of four sonic passages, Tiokasin Ghosthorse centers music as a means of storytelling, ancestral tracing, and restoration.

Those of us in the media supposedly seek the truth. Or what we deem to be the truth. But what or who defines our truths? How responsible are we journalists to purport the truth to our readers, our viewers, our listeners? How dependent are audiences on our versions? Do we inspire them to search out their own truths, or do we influence so well that we leave no room for doubt? However, how do we know which points are valid? What colors our visions? Are there non-Indians and Indians who can relate to the news concerning Indigenous information without bringing into play embedded stereotyping; distorted images portrayed repeatedly by the media for decades? Is there a way to present the truth and still maintain that Indigenous people are not of the past, not second-class citizens and incorporate a belief that our lives are of interest to the general populace? Of course! However, where can we find the every-day truths concerning worldwide indigenous issues? Not just from the so-called “western” hegemony of "Indigenous, Native American, American Indian, or Aboriginal" writers, but from the people living, doing and relating themselves to terra firma with intact culture, languages, and perspective.

Western compulsory [Euroamerican] education has taken its toll and in some aspects, educated the wisdom out of the Indigenous mind and has brought to the forefront a rationale explained in foreign concepts unrelated to the lands it pretends to have conquered. The experience of the Native person who lives the voice of Mother Earth has to encounter a different paradigm of western reasoning based on denial of the Indigenous thinking process. How do we see ourselves in systematic western institutions based on the disenfranchisement of "killing the Indian [thoughts] and saving the [American] man"? Much of today's radio programming is written by non-Indigenous people, and the programs presented by Indigenous peoples are often edited, either by tribal governments, churches or non-Indigenous producers. There is definitely a need for an innovatory talk radio program where the average Native can present his or her viewpoint without feeling pressured to curb perspective. First Voices Radio airs weekly and is syndicated on 81other national and international radio stations with features focusing on the world's Indigenous peoples. FVR is heard on other Pacifica affiliates, pirate radio stations, and archived for re-broadcasts. 

TIOKASIN GHOSTHORSE Cheyenne River Lakota Nation of South Dakota, is an international speaker on Peace, Indigenous and Mother Earth perspective. A survivor of the “Reign of Terror” from 1972 to 1976 on the Pine Ridge, Cheyenne River and Rosebud Lakota Reservations in South Dakota and the US Bureau of Indian Affairs Boarding and Church Missionary School systems designed to “kill the Indian and save the man,” Tiokasin has a long history of Indigenous activism and advocacy. He spoke as a 15-year-old at the United Nations – Lake Geneva, Switzerland. He is an active board member of Simply Smiles, Green Cross International, and The Center for Earth Ethics.

Tiokasin speaks frequently at venues such as Yale University’s School of Divinity, Ecology and Forestry focusing on the cosmology, diversity, and perspectives on the relational/egalitarian vs. rational/hierarchical thinking processes of Western society. 

Tiokasin is the Founder, Host and Executive Producer of the twenty-seven-year-old “First Voices Radio” (formerly “First Voices Indigenous Radio”), a one-hour live program now syndicated to seventy radio stations in the US and Canada. Tiokasin was awarded New York City’s Peacemaker of the Year in 2013 and in 2016, Nominee for a Nobel Peace Prize from the International Institute of Peace Studies and Global Philosophy. Selected for 2016 Native Arts Cultural Foundation Fellowship, and a Nominee for a National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship 2018,  National Native American Hall of Fame Nominee 2018, and 2019 Indigenous Music Award Nominee for "Best Instrumental Album" for "From the Continuum."

A master musician and a teacher of magical, ancient and modern sounds, Tiokasin performs worldwide and has been featured at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, Lincoln Center, Madison Square Garden, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Apollo Theatre, and the United Nations, as well as at many universities and concert venues. Tiokasin serves on boards of several charitable organizations dedicated to bringing non-western education to Native and non-Native children. Tiokasin is “a perfectly flawed human being” and a Sundancer in the cosmology of the Lakota Nation.

Episode #1  Music for Mother Earth
With Tiokasin Ghosthorse, Matthew O’Neill and Raye Zaragoza

In the first episode of his commission for SAVVYZΛΛR, musician and teacher of magical, ancient and modern sounds Tiokasin Ghosthorse will engage in conversation with his colleagues, the musicians Matthew O’Neill and Raye Zaragoza.

Tiokasin will be talking with Matthew about his latest project, “Music for The Mother” to celebrate Indigenous People's Day in Turtle Island which is now called the United States. The debut album featuring the Ancestral Teyuna Music from the Sierra Nevada De Santa Marta in Colombia has been produced by Matthew’s record label Underwater Panther Coalition which is committed to supporting Indigenous rights and celebrating ancestral musical traditions by releasing projects based on time-honored traditions of gratitude, appreciation, respect and reverence for Mother Earth. The album is particularly special as it is the first record of its kind and first time a female from Teyuna has ever been recorded. Each track is recorded by the spiritual leaders and promotes healing and cultural integrity through song and ceremony. This release serves as an important defining moment of preservation for these Indigenous peoples of the mountain region. Underwater Panther Coalition shares 50 percent of profits with the Indigenous groups affiliated with each project. 

In the second half of this session, Tiokasin Ghosthorse is joined by Raye Zaragoza, an award winning singer-songwriter who Paste Magazine called “one of the most politically relevant artists in her genre.” First-generation Japanese-American on her mother’s side, indigenous on her father’s side, and raised in New York City, Raye shares her unique perspective and stories through songs that are both inspiring and thought-provoking. Her sophomore LP Woman In Color produced by Tucker Martine was released in summer 2020. "As a woman of color in America, social issues are things you deal with and see every day of your life," she Raye. "I write about my experience and oftentimes my existence has been laced with injustice." Raye’s modern-day protest music has been featured on Billboard, Democracy Now!, and PopMatters. She has toured in support of Dispatch, Rising Appalachia, William Elliott Whitmore, Dar Williams, Donovan Woods, and many more. 


Matthew O’Neil. Music For The Mother (2020)
(Track 1) Ripples of Water - Sung by Zaga Josefina of the Kogi 
(Track 4) Cigarra & Cicada - Sung by Mamo Senchina of the Kogi 
(Track 7) Consciousness (The Song of Thoughts) - Sung by Mamo Atilio of the Aruhuaco 

Raye Zaragoza. Woman In Color (2020)
(Track 1) The It Girl
(Track 2) Fight Like A Girl


Episode #2   Indigenous Musicians From Turtle Island
With Tiokasin Ghosthorse, Ed Kabotie and Cody Coyote

For the second session with First Voices Radio, Tiokasin Ghosthorse brings us three indigenous musicians, Ed Kabotie (Hopi/Tewa), Cody Coyote, and Charley Buckland from Arizona, Ontario, and New York. Continuing the tracing of indigenous music and storytelling, we follow the tracks of these instrumentalists: moving into orbits of resistance by means of the sonic.

Ed Kabotie is a singer-songwriter, guitarist, and multifaceted creative from the Tewa village of Khap'o Owinge and the Hopi village of Shungopavi. Ed’s creative expressions take the forms of paintings, drawings, silver craft, and multilingual musical compositions; he uses the arts and music to educate people about social justice issues related to the Indigenous people and lands of the Colorado Plateau. 

Cody Coyote is a multi-award nominated and award-winning hip-hop and electronic artist. Cody is of Ojibwe and Irish descent with ancestry from Matachewan First Nation in Ontario. With his fusion of strong, profound lyricism accompanied by corresponding influential sounds, Cody grasps his listeners’ attention and delivers a mesmerizing performance. Outside of music, Cody is also a motivational speaker, workshop facilitator, and radio host. 

Charley Buckland is a multi-instrumentalist composer and songwriter, having performed and recorded with numerous artists including: Z-Cars, Roxx, Jarryd, Cherri Red, Phantom, Ghosthorse, Matou, Mecca Bodega and Atomic Mary. Charley has composed and produced numerous recordings, including: Spider Heart, Dreams, Woodlands, Symbiotic, Lakota Theme for the Lakota Sioux Indian Dance Theater, Peoples Wings for the first Native American Music Awards (NAMA); and Southern Grass for the play First Time for Barbie which won the Beaux Arts Award for Best Play. He has taught as an adjunct music professor at Webster University in Holland. 


“Clouds” Ed Kabotie
“Murder of Crows”  (Single Release) Charley Buckland, 2020

Episode #3   Interview
With Martín Prechtel

In this episode, Tiokasin Ghosthorse speaks with Martín Prechtel of the Cree indigenous people of North America, a leading writer and teacher. In his native New Mexico, Martín teaches at his international school Bolad’s Kitchen, a hands-on historical and spiritual immersion into language, music, ritual, farming, cooking, smithing, natural colors, architecture, animal raising, clothing, tools, grief and humor to help people from many lands, cultures and backgrounds to remember and retain the majesty of their diverse origins while cultivating the flowering of integral culture in the present: to grow a time of hope beyond our own.

Martín’s books include: “Secrets of the Talking Jaguar”, “Long Life, Honey in the Heart”, “The Disobedience of the Daughter of the Sun”, “Stealing Benefacio’s Roses”, “The Unlikely Peace of Cuchumaquic” and “The Smell of Rain on Dust: Grief and Praise”

Episode #4 Indigenous Songkeepers – Wisdom and History
With Tiokasin Ghosthorse, Oqwilowgwa and Mari Boine

In the last episode of our 4-part commision, First Voices Radio’s host Tiokasin Ghosthorse talks first with Oquilowqwa, Kim Recalma-Clutesi, about the quantum physics of her people’s indigenous music and how it used to interpret the microtones of all sentient life within her region of Alaska, as well as Northwestern North America / Turtle Island. Followed by a conversation with Mari Boine about her upbringing amid the Indigenous Sami world, where she was taken away to the boarding schools of the western colonial world’s religion. She reminisces of the times when she was able to see a path of rejuvenation and clarity through her music. This interview was conducted as part of First Voices Radio’s 28 years of archives.

OQWILOWGWA, Kim Recalma-Clutesi is of the Qualicum First Nation of British Columbia in Canada. Oqwilowgwa is a cross-cultural interpreter, teacher, researcher and writer on topics of Ethnobiology and tribal history. She is also a nonprofit director, political organizer, and award-winning videographer and film producer. Oqwilowgwa is a co-author of “Indigenous song keepers reveal traditional ecological knowledge in music” (The Conversation, Jan. 2, 2020). 

MARI BOINE​​​​​​​ is a Sami musician from Norway known for having added jazz and rock to the joiks of her native people. Boine (born in Finnmark) grew up amid the Laestadian Christian movement as well as amidst discrimination against her people. She was asked to perform at the 1994 Winter Olympics to bring a token minority to the ceremonies. In the strict Laestadian milieu, joik was viewed as the devil's work. “I am not Christian today”, she says, “But I have a holistic religion. I think this [perspective is prophetically] gaining ground world wide.”