KVMR hosts activists and performers on Monday’s Annual Indigenous Peoples Day
Special to Prospector
In a tradition that proudly began over two decades ago, KVMR 89.5 FM will celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day (IPD) with more than a dozen hours of special programming from the Nevada City community radio station’s studios this coming Monday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
For the fifth year, Jennifer “Miss Jiff” Robin is producing and coordinating the special day. Jiff is the host of KVMR’s weekly native American program, “Resilience Radio,” Thursdays 10 a.m. to noon (89.5 FM, 105.1 FM Truckee, kvmr.org streaming).
“It’s such an honor to put this together and showcase all these incredible indigenous activists with our community,” says Jiff. “I just love this day.”
And she’s dipped a little into KVMR’s past (and present) as well.
After a special 7 a.m. show featuring the late Dennis Banks (co-founder in 1968 and longtime leader of AIM, the American Indian Movement) introducing Indigenous Peoples Day and giving his “truth about Columbus,” longtime KVMR broadcaster Jenny Michael will host a “Native Music Morning” from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., featuring a live performance by the Neena McNair Family Singers and Big Drum singing group in the 9 a.m. hour.
According to Jenny, “I felt strongly about dedicating a program every year to honor the first caretakers of this continent and called that show (the) Indigenous Peoples Day edition of the Wednesday Music Magazine. I started my own answer to Columbus Day (aka Lost Italian Day) in 1994 or ‘95.”
At the time, Jenny had close ties with the native community, but she also says several other former broadcasters were doing similar native music celebrations. Within a couple years, KVMR had gone to a full day of Indigenous Peoples Day programming. Jenny became increasingly involved with the KVMR Celtic Festival, always just a week or so ahead of IPD.
“When Miss Jiff asked me to participate this year, I was delighted and honored to be asked,” added Jenny who still is hosting the Wednesday Music Magazine, alternating with Connie Coale, 4 to 6 pm.
At 10 a.m., former KVMR native host Michael Ben Ortiz talks with Rain McNeil, project director of the California Rural Indian Health Board, about lateral oppression and missing native history.
Meanwhile, Tony Morrow, a Southern Miwuk descendent of Chief Tenya and musician will talk history and federalization with Jiff and perform live music at 11 a.m. Then Jiff has a noon conversation with Larry Yepez, an Apache Vietnam veteran, Yosemite fire fighter and bear attack survivor, about native veterans’ healing and history.
Then she meets with representatives of the State Coalition Against Racist Symbols (SCARS), including Ida Rodriguez, Elder Wesley Elliot and State Indian Museum employee Michael Ramirez.
“We have underlying symbols here in California,” noted Jiff. “Even mining equipment symbolizes the destruction of land and can be triggering.”
KVMR volunteer broadcaster Iris Bilodeau hosts the 2-4 p.m. segment, featuring native Hawaiian music and conversation with Frank James Olivera, with a father of Portugese ancestry and a Hawaiian mother. “He and his siblings have been very involved with Hawaiian issues,” according to Jiff.
Iris will also interviewJason Keli’inohokula Lindo, a cultural practitioner on leading Makahiki protocols and who performs pikai for house and canoe blessings.
“I love that Iris can do this,” said Jiff. “She has two incredibly gifted guests lined up.”
At 4 p.m. Monday, the topic moves to the 30-year-old non-profit Buffalo Field Campaign, with Mignon Geli not only talking about his passion to protect buffaloes but playing, as Jiff says, “live native American flute medicine.”
“They (buffalo) are now our national mammals,” added Jiff. “We must protect them.”
And Jiff promises there’ll be an “indigenous soul rising” in the five o’clock hour when local musician Chonie Vargas, of Apache ancestry, talks modern indigenous issues and performs some live, yup, native soul music as well.
At 6 p.m. is a very special hour. Jiff is editing local talks by the late activist John Trudell into what she believes will be a powerful hour of radio.
“It’ll include his Worldfest talk, his Indigenous Peoples Day address and excerpts from our programs on KVMR,” she said. “It’ll be a moving, inspirational hour of John’s words recorded only in this community.”
Following Democracy Now at 7 p.m., which usually has an indigenous theme on this day, the first hour of the 8 p.m. “Women’s Show” will feature interviews with legendary folk music icon Buffy Sainte-Marie and activist Dr. LaNada War Jack, both of whom will talk about the 50th anniversary of the Alcatraz Occupation.
LaNada was called “the read leader of the Occupation” by one Alcatraz vet.
“We tried to mix music and celebration as well as talk during the day’s programming,” explained Jiff. “My goal is to educate and celebrate.”
On The Air is a weekly irreverent look at the nearly 200 broadcasters at Nevada City’s eclectic community radio station at 89.5 FM, 105. 1 FM Truckee, and streaming at kvmr.org. The Bridge 105.7 FM features NPR and Pacifica news and analysis by day as well as Native America Calling most weekdays at 10 a.m., with KVMRx.org indie pop by night.
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