September 25, 2022

The Story of Change: Episode 19

My guest Sarah Chayes has so many feathers in her life cap that it's no easy task to capture them in a simple paragraph: historian, war reporter, NPR Paris correspondent, founding a soap factory in post Taliban Kandahar, special advisor to international commanders in Kabul and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon, contributor to leading news journals such as The Atlantic and The Washington Post and leading author. Frankly, this still doesn't do justice to Sarah's breadth of experience, interests and work in the world. Here we explore the nexus of all these themes and even weaving in our mutual fascination with myth.

Today's guest Grant Thompson has been described as an award winning film-maker, a cinematographer, guest lecturer at UC Davis and a Berkeley grad in Celtic philology yet to me these don't do justice to the breadth of Grant's interests and work in the world. We explore the mysterious intersection between land, story, language and identity among so many other fascinating topics, and how these manifest in the through line of Grant's multifaceted work and life story. We've recently been exploring themes of indigenous loss of place and identity and here we explore something of what we Europeans traded and lost in their own rush to colonize far off lands, and the Devil's bargain that change that has wrought on we their descendant's sense of place, belonging and identity.

I'm talking with my colleague and friend Ray Basset about his extraordinary multi-decade career in national broadcasting including how the move from analogue to digital has impacted on broadcast media. Ray is host and producer of Scenic Roots on WUTC following two decades in New York with CBS and the Associated Press, one of which was as executive producer for the late broadcast legend, Charles Osgood.

In the final episode of our Trail of Tears series we now speak with Dr Brad Lieb, Director of Chickasaw Archaeology at the Dept. of Culture and Humanities of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma. We hear much about the richness of Chicasaw life and culture prior to European arrival, how the incomers impacted on life, culture and survival and also about the extraordinary capacity of the Chicasaw people to adapt and flourish under such terrible circumstances.

In our next edition of the Trail of Tears series exploring the forced relocation of indigenous people from the US south east we now speak with Jake Tiger, historian with the Historic Preservation Department of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma and hear the Seminole perspective on what happened and how the impacts play out to this very day.

As we continue our exploration of the indigenous forced relocation from the south-east, this episode we're hearing from RaeLynn Butler and Melissa Harjo of the Historic and Cultural Preservation Department from the Muscogee Creek nation.

Continuing our series on the forced relocation of indigenous peoples in the southeast known as The Trail of Tears we now hear from Will Chavez from the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. The Cherokee people were one of the largest of the nations in the southeast back in the 1800's, with their lands covering much of present day Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina and more.

Now we begin a series on a particularly challenging period in history in the south east of the USA —the forced relocation of the great tribes from their ancestral lands known generically as The Trail Of Tears. It's not a pretty story but it is an important one to be told. In the series we'll hear from a number of indigenous voices about what happened and how the effects of this mass trauma still play out to these present times. In this show I’m talking to Deanna Byrd, Sue Folsom and Ryan Spring from the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. 

In this episode I’m talking to Joe Jenkins from The Brave Effect about his incredible life journey including all the change he's both experienced and also now manifests in others lives. Joe's journey took him from being labelled the 'worst of the worst' following his time as a drug dealer, into incarceration and eventually ending up facing life in the federal prison system. Fortunately for all of us that was not to be so!

This episode we're exploring change through the theme of return from incarceration. We do so through hearing from a number of professionals working to support this in the community. We have Troy Rogers from the mayors office in Chattanooga as well as Bettie Kirkland and Larry Craig from Project Return, plus we hear from Joe Jenkins who not only spent 13 years in federal prisons but now works as CEO of The Brave Effect a project supporting returnees to successfully re-enter society.

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