For 15 years, Harlan McKosato has been leading a lively discussion of Native American concerns five days a week as the host of Native America Calling. Carried on more than 40 public, community, and tribal radio stations, the weekday news and radio call-in program tackles thorny issues, from uranium mining on Navajo lands to racism against Alaska Natives to a recent feature on Cherokee students who voted in support of a school mascot named Tommy Tomahawks. A tribal member of Oklahoma’s Sac and Fox Nation, McKosato lives in Albuquerque, where his program is recorded and broadcast.
“When we first started in 1995, only 12 stations would carry us, and it was hard to get calls back then,” McKosato told Pasatiempo. “Now we have 45 stations and our phone lines are practically full.”
The program offers geographic balance, covering more than 500 tribes from Alaska to Florida, including Canada’s First Nations. McKosato speculates that among the program’s estimated 500,000 listeners, he has a large non-Native audience as well.
“I think a lot of non-Native peoples see it as eavesdropping on your conversations,” he said. “They’ll tell me, ‘It’s so interesting to hear what you have to say.’ When you listen to our show, you’re ... going to hear about the issues that are going on right now, today. Modern media still wants to place us in the past.”
Besides producing 260 shows a year, McKosato writes a monthly column for The New Mexican. This week, he’s at the School for Advanced Research to discuss the radio show and to head a discussion of Native topics, at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 12, in the SAR boardroom at 660 Garcia St. The forum is free and open to the public. For more information, call 954-7200.