On today’s episode, we host Marissa Turnbull and Michael Johnson, THPO and Deputy THPO of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation in Connecticut. Michael Johnson is also co-host of the Native Opinion Podcast. On this episode they talk about how their tribe went from very early colonization to only few families living on their state reservation in the 1970s to federal recognition and then to economic success that led to them being seen as a casino rather than a people. The Nation has found themselves in the middle of the debate on who is “a real Indian”. In 1993 Donald Trump argued before Congress that the Mashantucket Pequots should not have been given federal recognition and been able to become a gaming tribe because “they don’t look Indian”. We talk about what that’s been like for them as a tribe, but also how they would define their own narrative and the importance of education in doing that. Along those lines we talk about their history, their gardening and cultural education programs, and what they would like to achieve as a THPO, including seeking international repatriation of a wampum belt.
- Trump 1993 testimony clip played within the episode followed by additional discussion with Blackfeet tribal member and Editor At Large of Indian Country Today Media Network, Gyasi Ross.
- Additional footage of 1993 Trump testimony discussing how he believed corruption was rampant in Native American casinos.
- “Native Opinion is a unique education, entertainment and informational radio show and podcast discussing American contemporary issues from Native American Indian perspectives. Co-hosts, Michael Kickingbear, of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, and, David GreyOwl, a member of the Echota Cherokee Tribe of Alabama, present an Indigenous view on American history, politics and culture, and how those things impact and shape Native American lives”.