Insight With Beth Ruyak

Hosted By Beth Ruyak

Insight creates conversation to build community, exploring issues and events that connect people in our region. Insight covers breaking news and big ideas, music, arts & culture with responsible journalism, civil discussion and diverse voices.


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Wednesday, August 14, 2019 Permalink

Preserving Indigenous Culture

Ezra David Romero/Capital Public Radio

Lucy Parker looks out over Ahwahnee Meadow, where here family has gathered willow reeds for basket making for decades. The park service is currently in the process of restoring Ahwahnee Meadow and the Native American village formerly located there.

Ezra David Romero/Capital Public Radio

In today’s show, we revisit stories of indigenous people preserving their culture in different regions of Northern California. In an excerpt of CapRadio’s 2018 podcast YosemiteLand, reporter Ezra Romero talks with members of the Ahwahneechee tribe as they rebuild their village in the valley. Then, Dahkota "Kicking Bear" Brown discusses his role in getting the California Racial Mascots Act passed. We’ll hear about an arts education program aimed at preserving Nisenan, the ancestral language of the Maidu, and listen in on an in-studio performance from the Otsigeya Women Drummers.


For many, Yosemite National Park is more than a spectacular tourist destination. It’s a deeply spiritual place. In this episode of CapRadio’s 2018 podcast YosemiteLand, reporter Ezra David Romero meets Ahwahneechee elders who say that 40 years ago, park rangers burned down their village. Today, they’re working to rebuild a home which they’re calling “Wahhoga” or “village” in Miwok.

Activist Dahkota Brown

Dahkota “Kicking Bear” Brown was a teenager when he successfully advocated for the California Racial Mascots Act. He had played football for his Amador County high school, and was troubled by a neighboring team’s mascot, the Calaveras Redskins. Dahkota discusses the term’s violent history, backlash he faced and work he did with President Barack Obama.

Fighting Against Oblivion

The Maidu people are native to the Central Valley and Foothills region of Northern California. Before the Gold Rush, they had a thriving society of interconnected villages, but violence and government repression decimated their population. Maidu Indépendant Theater is an arts education program that uses music and theater to teach Maidu youth their ancestral language, Nisenan. In February 2019, organizer Alan Wallace and two students discussed resiliency and the urgent need to preserve their cultural heritage.

Otsigeya Women Drummers

For more than a decade, the Otsigeya Women Drummers have preserved their connection to culture and language through music. After starting out as an informal hand drum group, they formed Otsigeya, which means “We women,” and have recorded an album called Keeper of the Family, with songs in Cherokee and English. Members of Otsigeya joined Insight in December 2018 to share their story and their music.

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