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.
Today, we’re talking with Syngen Kanassatega (Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe) who is a lawyer – his job is the Legal and Policy Counsel for the Mille Lacs Band’s Office of the Chief Executive, a drum keeper, and he’s also well-known on Tik Tok, the video-sharing social media site, with thousands of followers.
Syngen Kanassatega shares why he decided to go to law school, what he loves about practicing law, and how culture and tradition are woven into policymaking and government for the tribe. Syngen shares insights from a few of his favorite mentors, and reminisces about Mille Lacs Band Member “Amik” Larry Smallwood, who deeply influenced him in so many ways. (Leah shares how Amik’s wisdom helps shape this podcast too!)
We also hear how Syngen Kanassatega found a creative outlet on Tik Tok, by bringing tidbits of legal information (about Tribal Sovereignty and more) along with jokes and stories, to the popular social media platform. One recent video took aim at politician Rick Santorum’s ignorance about Native peoples’ contributions to the founding of our country. Check it out here:
Chi Miigwech Syngen for spending time chatting and sharing your humor, legal knowledge, and inspiration!
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.
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More from Native Lights
- Thomasina TopBear: Empowering Community Through ArtShe specializes in large-scale murals; her work can be seen on the sides of buildings throughout the Twin Cities and the country.
- Tabitha Chilton’s Gift for Building Access & Trust in Healthcare SystemsLeah and Cole chat with Tabitha Chilton, a White Earth Nation member who serves as Sanford Health’s Native American patient advocate in Bemidji, Minnesota. Tabitha’s focus on outpatient care at the Joe Lueken Cancer Center helps Native communities access healthcare throughout Northern Minnesota
- Jewell Arcoren: Healing With Language and The Next GenerationJewell is a community activist and the Executive Director for Wicoie Nandagikendan, an Ojibwe and Dakota language immersion preschool in Minneapolis. There, she pursues her commitments to early childhood education, language revitalization and addressing intergenerational historical trauma.
- Sasheen Goslin & Deanna Reder Bring Their Distinct Abilities to the Team at AICHOSasheen Goslin and Deanna Reder from the American Indian Community Housing Organization (AICHO) in Duluth. They are two members of the small team at AICHO that is dedicated to all aspects of wellness for the Indigenous communities in Duluth.
- Annie Humphrey’s Gift for Living With Care and EmpathyAnnie talks about her latest album Eat What You Kill, building a hemp house, and the upcoming benefit show for the American Indian Community Housing Organization (AICHO)’s Dabinoo’Igan Domestic Violence Shelter expansion.