KVMR celebrates Indigenous People’s Day all Monday | TheUnion.com

KVMR celebrates Indigenous People’s Day all Monday

Special to Prospector

With most of local Indigenous People's Day activities canceled for this year, Nevada City radio station KVMR 89.5FM's traditional special day of programming Monday has a few new wrinkles.

For the first time in more than a decade, there won't be a live remote broadcast of the Tsi Akim Maidu activities because there won't be any this coming Sunday and Monday with the regional tribe scaling back, at least for this year, because of "significant deaths" in the Maidu community, according to KVMR volunteer broadcaster Michael Ben Ortiz.

KVMR has celebrated Indigenous People's Day with special live remotes annually. The one year that technical and weather snafus cut back the broadcast, the station substituted national native programming.

But the good news this year is that Michael Ben is putting together an in-studio day of indigenous and unusual programming with a variety of hosts. He'll be talking about the mix this Thursday during Dreamwalk 10 a.m. to noon (89.5FM, kvmr.org streaming), the native American show he co-hosts with Skip Allen Smith and, more recently, Ortiz's daughter Jennifer Robin ("Miss Jiff").

"I didn't want to break the continuity, but I wanted to try something different," explains Ortiz, a native of the Mississippi band of the Choctaw tribe. "It's a way to open doors to every indigenous group."

According to Program Director Steve Baker, KVMR has had a long-standing commitment to both native and holiday programming.

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"We'll surely miss the evocative camaraderie of the live broadcast this year," he said. "But we're looking forward to Michael Ben's experimental expansion of the concept."

Ortiz himself kicks off the Monday programming on The Morning Show (7 a.m.) with Mohawk traditional singer Laurence Laughing, sundancer Dennis Four Winds and others, but he'll also give an overview of Joel Kotkin's book "Tribes," which talks about influential tribes not always thought of that way, including China, Japan and the British Empire.

For instance, the noon guest will be Jeannie Wood, director of Community Asian Theater of the Sierra discussing her Chinese heritage.

Other guests throughout the day include Yuba City Council member Tej Maan discussing the area's Hindi community, a Maori storyteller from New Zealand, a Paiute traditional singer, a Mohawk seed collector, a Maidu native language speaker, among others. Local music artist Annie McCann will also appear during the day-long broadcast, while Elizabeth "Izzy" Martin of The Sierra Fund is scheduled to discuss the mining toxic legacy.

The 4 p.m. Monday show will feature John Keene hosting a show on The Islands, including traditional Hawaiian music.

"America isn't a melting pot but a mosaic," said Michael Ben. "This is a way to bring magic and beauty to our diverse, multi-cultural world."

While he sees the native holiday as "a response to the whole Columbus and his Cabal thing, our response could be service to our fellow man rather than revenge," Ortiz said.

Ortiz has been a longtime emcee and a broadcast producer for many Indigenous People's Day on-air celebrations and also been active with the Maidu tribe.

That came about after Michael Ben had been arrested in a protest against the war on Iraq. He chose to do community service work with the tribe, met its chairman and says, "We've been good working partners through the years."

Around the same time, Ortiz also got the itch to do radio, took KVMR's training class and trained with Smith, eventually becoming co-host of the Thursday morning native show.

Come Monday, he takes another big step.

KVMR's Indigenous People's Day broadcast Monday goes from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (89.5FM, kvmr.org streaming).

Too many books?

KVMR is seeking donations of books throughout the month of November to use in the station's first BAM! event Nov. 9 at the Nevada City Veterans Hall, 415 N. Pine St., Nevada City.

BAM! (Books, Arts, Music) will feature a wide variety of books, independent music sellers and local artists and craftspeople.

Books can be brought to KVMR, 401 Spring St., downtown Nevada City during the station's 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekday business hours.

In addition, artists and crafts people are invited to apply to be a vendor at the new event and sale by emailing music@kvmr.org for a vendor information letter and application. Preliminary deadline to apply is Oct. 16, according to event producer and KVMR Music Director Alice MacAllister.

"Please mark your calendar for Nov. 9," she smiles.

A weekly wrap-up of news and oddities about community radio station KVMR (89.5 FM, kvmr.org streaming), a noncommercial station offering diverse musical programming, independent news and provocative public affairs from about 150 volunteer "citizen-broadcasters." A video about the station's new building is at vimeo.com/63303996 Complete program listings are available at kvmr.org.

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