Somos Nativos

To start this week’s show on what it means to be indigenous, we went right to the source. We spoke to three people from three different Native American tribes about issues facing their communities. All three currently reside on reservations.


Lauren Chief Elk , Ruth Hopkins, and Gyasi Ross are all outspoken on a number of issues facing their communities, such as violence against indigenous women, high unemployment and suicide rates, and what it feels like to constantly witness careless cultural appropriation in the mainstream media.


These conversations offer just a small insight about the ongoing problems facing Natives both on and off reservations. They also show the just a bit of the passion that these writers and activists have for their cultures.

The extended version of this segment will be available shortly.





Ruth Hopkins is a Native American (Dakota and Lakota Sioux) writer, blogger, biologist and Judge. She is a columnist for Indian Country Today Media Network and one of the founding writers of She is also a contributor to,,,,, and has been published by dozens of other sites online as well as in print. Find her on Twitter @RuthHopkins.




Lauren Chief Elk is the co-founder of the Save Wiyabi Project, an advocacy group relating to violence against Native American Women. She is also very active on twitter, where you can follow her @ChiefElk






GyasiRossGyasi Ross is an attorney, writer and member of the Blackfeet Nation/Suquamish Nation. His new book, “How to Say I love You in Indian,” is available now.

Somos: What’s In A Name?

Latino, Afro-Cuban, Chicano, Mexican-American:  For as long as people of Latin American descent have been a part of the U.S. they’ve been referred to by many names. What’s more, we even have different names for ourselves. In this segment of our new Somos series, we talk to writers and activists about what name they choose to identify themselves by – and why it matters.

Click here to download this week’s show. Image courtesy of

Explaining Somos

“Somos” is the name of a series that we are starting where we explore issues of Latino identity. We invite you to tell us how you identify yourself by making a video on youtube, posting a comment here, or leaving a message old-school style on our phone (yes, we have a phone attached to a wall!) at 646-571-1228. Don’t forget to tell us your name and where you’re calling us from. And after you post your video, tell us about it here or tweet us! We love hearing from you.

Marina Garcia-Vasquez is the co-founder and director of, a culture site and creative consultancy collective. The group aims to promote Mexican culture and heritage in a positive light through the accomplishments of Mexican nationals and Mexican-Americans both in the United States, Mexico, and globally. Based in New York City, Marina is a working journalist dedicated to writing about art, design, and architecture. She is a recent graduate of Columbia University’s School of Journalism M.A. program in Arts and Culture and a published poet.

Roland Roebuck is a recognized DC activist nationally known as a leading spokesperson on issues that impact Latino Afro-Descendants. He has worked tirelessly to champion human and civil rights. He is a founding member of several Washington DC community organizations and has compelled national organizations and elected officials to implement initiatives that address the needs of minority groups.


Matthew Yglesias is Slate’s business and economics correspondent and author of Slate’s Moneybox column. Before joining the magazine he worked for ThinkProgress, the Atlantic, TPM Media, and the American Prospect. His first book, Heads in the Sand, was published in 2008. His second, The Rent Is Too Damn High, was published in March.