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
- Madonna Peltier Yawakie’s Gift for Connecting Tribal Communities through TechnologyOn today’s show, we talk with Madonna Yawakie (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians) who is the President of Turtle Island Communications, Inc. (TICOM)
- Michael Lyons’ Gift for teaching Ojibwe Language with Puppets, Cartoons, and SongOn today’s show, we talk with Anishinaabe author and artist, Michael Lyons, who is the creator of “Boozhoo Nanaboozhoo,” The program explores Ojibwe language and culture, through skits, music, and conversations.
- Angela Two Stars’ Gift for Celebrating and Supporting Native ArtistsOn today’s show, we talk with Angela Two Stars (Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate) a public artist, curator, and director of All My Relations Arts, the art gallery at the Native American Community Development Institute in Minneapolis.
- Syngen Kanassatega’s Gifts for Law, Humor, and StorytellingToday, 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.
- Robert Lilligren’s Gift for Indigenizing Leadership Part 2 (Early Years and Mentors)In this 2nd part of their discussion, Robert Lilligren shares stories about his early years, the elders and mentors who influenced him, and how he overcame his natural shyness and burst into politics, so he could fully embrace his life’s purpose of service.