Talk­ing tribal

Pasatiempo - - Mixed Media -

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.

Har­lan McKosato

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