Native Lights is a weekly, half-hour radio program hosted by Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe members and siblings, Leah Lemm and Cole Premo. Native Lights is a space for people in Native communities around Mni Sota Mkoce — a.k.a. Minnesota — to tell their stories about finding their gifts and sharing them with the community.
On today’s show, we talk with Leslie Harper, who is a member of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, and a passionate advocate for language preservation and revitalization. Growing up, Leslie Harper loved hearing her Grandparents and relatives telling stories in their Native language. This sparked her own path as a language learner, eventually leading her to co-found an Ojibwe language immersion school in Leech Lake.
A self-described policy-nerd, Leslie Harper connects the dots between personal values and public policies and tirelessly fights against oppressive educational systems that are not in alignment with what tribal community members want for the next generation.
From classroom teaching to administration, Leslie has worked in many roles, including currently serving as the President of the National Coalition of Native American Language Schools and Programs.
Leslie Harper was featured in the Emmy-winning Twin Cities PBS documentary “First Speakers: Restoring the Ojibwe Language”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RooWZc4lLok
Native Lights: Where Indigenous Voices Shine is produced by Minnesota Native News and Ampers, Diverse Radio for Minnesota’s Communities with support from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage fund.
More from Native Lights
- Rebekah Fineday’s Gift for Building Trust in Healthcare Systems & Native CommunitiesToday, we’re speaking with Rebekah Fineday, a Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe citizen and Air Force veteran who serves as Sanford Health’s Native American community advocate in Bemidji, Minnesota.
- Levi Brown’s Gift for Building Relationships Across the TableToday we’re speaking with Levi Brown, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe citizen and Director of Tribal Affairs at the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDot). Levi talks with Leah and Cole about acknowledgement on a person-to-person level and on an institutional level. In his current position at MnDot, Levi helped facilitate the highway signs marking the 1854 Treaty boundaries in Northern MN, a step toward acknowledgment and a point of education. Levi is also a part of the Tribal State Relationship Training Program that helps develop collaboration and understanding between tribes and Minnesota state departments.
- Elaine Fleming: Celebrating and Sharing the Culture of Leech LakeToday Leah and Cole chat with Elaine Fleming. She teaches and preserves Leech Lake Ojibwe culture, history, and language. Elaine proudly lives in Cass Lake, where she has been an instructor at Leech Lake Tribal College for 29 years.
- Amber Annis: Nurturing & Protecting Authentic NarrativesToday Leah and Cole chat with Amber Annis, a Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe citizen who is currently the director of Native American Initiative at the Minnesota Historical Society. Amber has a long history not only as a public historian, but as an educator, tribal nation liaison, community engagement specialist and collaborator.
- Jada Brown: Expression and Affirmation Through SingingNative Lights is a weekly, half-hour radio program hosted by Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe members and siblings, Leah Lemm and Cole Premo. Native Lights is a space for people in Native communities around Mni Sota Mkoce — a.k.a. Minnesota — to tell their stories about finding their gifts and sharing them with the community. …