Native Minnesota Podcast

Join Rebecca Crooks-Stratton, Secretary/Treasurer of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and leader of the Understand Native Minnesota campaign, as she interviews thought leaders and change makers in Minnesota and across Indian Country. This powerful podcast celebrates Native culture, personalities and accomplishments while helping dispel common myths and misconceptions about Indigenous peoples.

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 Latest Episode

February 29, 2024

With the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community’s Understand Native Minnesota campaign ending, so is this podcast. In this final episode, host Rebecca Crooks-Stratton shares highlights from the podcast series and talks about the campaign’s successes in Minnesota classrooms. She is also joined by two Native students to reflect on their education…

 Previous Episodes

February 13, 2024

Rebecca sits down with author, speaker, trainer and professor Dr. Anton Treuer. Anton is a professor of Ojibwe at Bemidji State University and author of many books, including “Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask” and “The Language Warrior’s Manifesto.” They discuss Ojibwe language revitalization…

February 2, 2024

Rebecca is joined by Brenda J. Child, a University of Minnesota professor, historian and author of several award-winning books about Native American history. They cover important elements of Native history that people should know about, like Native boarding schools, and Brenda’s latest endeavor – a new Center for Indigenous Arts…

January 18, 2024

In this podcast episode, Rebecca is joined by Ferin Davis Anderson, supervisor of environmental sciences at the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community. They talk about what caring for natural resources means, and how Ferin combines traditional Indigenous knowledge with modern science. They also discuss Ferin’s new, forthcoming book, “Wildfire” and the…

December 5, 2023

In this podcast episode, Rebecca is joined by Heid E. Erdrich, a talented multi-hyphenate Native artist. They discuss her poetry, her experiences teaching creative writing and curating art exhibits, and the many Native artists she loves. Heid also gives ideas for how everyone can experience more art and embrace their…

One Dakota family’s story with Teresa Peterson and Walter LaBatte Jr.
November 1, 2023

For the first time, we welcome two guests at the same time on the podcast: Teresa “Terri” Peterson and Walter “Super” LaBatte Jr. This niece and uncle duo from the Upper Sioux Community are both focused on preserving and sharing Dakota culture. They recently wrote a book together – Voices from…

September 13, 2023

In this special edition of the podcast, Rebecca interviews Native authors, artists and education experts at the most recent Understand Native Minnesota Educator Academy. This free event hosted by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community brought hundreds of educators and administrators together for professional development workshops. In the episode, guests share…

August 1, 2023

In honor of pow wow season, we’re revisiting one of the podcast’s most popular conversations. Rebecca chats with Rosemma Lafferty, a member of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) in Minnesota. Rosemma dances in and helps plan the SMSC’s annual wacipi, or pow wow, a free event that welcomes thousands of people to experience Native dance and culture each August.

June 28, 2023

In this special edition of the podcast, Rebecca interviews Native leaders from across the country and elected officials at the recent National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Mid-Year Convention. This episode features conversations with nine different tribal leaders and staff members as well as U.S. Senator Tina Smith. Guests share about the issues facing Indian Country including environmental sustainability, the Violence Against Women Act, the Indian Child Welfare Act, and the 2023 Farm Bill.

June 5, 2023

In this episode, Rebecca interviews Monique Gray Smith, an award-winning author and consultant of Cree, Lakota and Scottish descent. They discuss how Monique’s books are used to share Indigenous wisdom, knowledge and hope with people of all ages, including her new book, Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults.

April 10, 2023

In this podcast episode, Rebecca is joined by Andy Vig, a Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Member and the director of the tribe’s Cultural Center, Hoċokata Ti. They discuss how Hoċokata Ti and its public exhibit came to be, as well as Andy’s passion for Dakota language, art, and culture preservation and revitalization.

March 2, 2023

In this podcast episode, Rebecca travels to Prior Lake City Hall to meet with Mayor Kirt Briggs. The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and City of Prior Lake are neighboring governments that have worked together on several major projects over the years.

December 19, 2022

We have welcomed many fantastic guests since the podcast launched in 2021, including Sean Sherman of The Sioux Chef, Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, Dr. Kate Beane, Crystal Echo Hawk, and many more. Each has a different area of expertise, but each uses their unique voice to shine a light on Native cultures and communities and advance issues important to Native peoples.

November 22, 2022

In this special edition of the podcast, Rebecca interviews Native leaders from across the country at the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) annual convention. This episode features conversations with eight different tribal elected officials and staff members sharing the issues facing their tribe.

September 14, 2022

In this podcast episode, Rebecca sits down with Minnesota author, speaker and educator Diane Wilson. In the conversation, Diane talks about using writing to explore cultural identity, the power of telling Native American stories and her latest novel, “The Seed Keeper.”

August 12, 2022

On this episode, Rebecca is joined by Rosemma Lafferty, a member of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) in Minnesota.

July 7, 2022

We welcome Odia Wood-Krueger, the author and principal investigator of a new research report, “Restoring Our Place,” commissioned by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community as part of its Understand Native Minnesota campaign.

May 25, 2022

Native Americans were the first inhabitants of the lands now known as Minnesota. Yet when people talk about our state’s history and culture, Indigenous art and stories are often left out. Kate Beane, executive director of the Minnesota Museum of American Art, is working to change that.

April 21, 2022

In this episode, Rebecca welcomes Karen Diver, the senior advisor to the president for Native American Affairs at the University of Minnesota. Their conversation centers around the university’s history with tribal governments and how higher education institutions can rebuild trust with Indigenous peoples.

March 17, 2022

In this episode, Rebecca sits down with Dennis Olson, the commissioner of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education and member of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. In this conversation, Rebecca and Dennis talk about his early educational experiences, the achievement gaps between white and Native college…

February 9, 2022

In this podcast episode, Rebecca sits down with Minnesota Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan, only the second Native American woman to be elected to statewide executive office in U.S. history. The conversation focuses on Native American representation, leadership – particularly among Native women – and the importance of understanding Minnesota’s history…

November 11, 2021

This episode features an interview with Sean Sherman, an award-winning Lakota chef and cookbook author based in the Twin Cities. Sean is the founder and CEO of The Sioux Chef, a company devoted to Indigenous foods, and co-founder of the nonprofit North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems. In this conversation,…

October 1, 2021

This special video episode explores the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community’s exhibit at this year’s Minnesota State Fair. This was the first time a tribal government ever had a booth at the fair. The episode takes you behind the scenes for an up-close look at the exhibit and features interviews with…

August 5, 2021

We welcome Ramona Kitto Stately to the podcast for a conversation about Native American education here in Minnesota. Ramona is the project director of We Are Still Here Minnesota and the chair of the Minnesota Indian Education Association. In this episode, we talk about the “Minnesota paradox” when it comes…

July 15, 2021

In this episode, Rebecca sits down with Tadd Johnson to cover his varied career in law, government and higher education. Tadd currently serves as the senior director of American Indian Tribal Nations Relations at the University of Minnesota, director of the Tribal Sovereignty Institute and director of graduate studies in…

June 23, 2021

The lack of Native representation – whether it’s in government, movies or sports – has allowed false narratives about Native Americans to spread. In this episode, Rebecca speaks with Crystal Echo Hawk of IllumiNative about her research on Native representation and how her organization is fighting against misconceptions and stereotypes…

May 4, 2021

In this first episode, Rebecca speaks with Wayne Ducheneaux, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux nation in South Dakota and the executive director of the Native Governance Center. Wayne shares his background and how he was called to serving his tribe and Indian Country in his career. The conversation…