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
- Binesikwe Means’ Gift for Nurturing the Next Generation of StorytellersOn today’s show, we talk with Binesikwe Means who is an enrolled citizen of the Oglala Lakota Tribe in Pine Ridge South Dakota, and a descendant of the White Earth Nation. Binesikwe is the lead instructor for Migizi’s First Person Productions, a youth-led social enterprise that produces videos, design work, and social media campaigns for businesses and non-profits.
- Documentary Filmmaker Leya Hale’s Gift for Powerful StorytellingOn today’s show, we talk with Leya Hale (Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota and Diné Nations), a producer for Twin Cities PBS, who is known for her feature documentary, The People’s Protectors, a Vision Maker Media grant production, and winner of the 2019 Upper Midwest Emmy Award for Outstanding Cultural Documentary.
- Honoring the Life and Legacy AIM Co-Founder Clyde Bellecourt (1938-2022)Today, the first of two special editions of our show, honoring the life and legacy of NeeGawNwayWeeDun, The Thunder Before the Storm, who was known by his colonial name Clyde Bellecourt. Bellecourt passed away in his Minneapolis home on January 11th, 2022. He was 85.
- Wayne Ducheneaux’s Gift for Leadership and Native Nation RebuildingOn today’s show, we talk with Wayne L. Ducheneaux, II (Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe) who is the Executive Director of the Native Governance Center, an organization dedicated to strengthening Tribal sovereignty and Indigenous leadership, through its Native Nation Rebuilders program.
- Linsey McMurrin’s Gift for Healing in Community and Remembering ResilienceOn today’s show, we talk with Linsey McMurrin (Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe) who is the Director of Prevention Initiatives and Tribal Projects at FamilyWiseServices, where she leads programs aimed at supporting stronger, healthier, families and communities.