Native Report – Season 12 Episode 13

we attend a rehearsal
session with Bluedog as they play some original
blues rock arrangements. We then travel to the
Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and meet tribal historians,
Loretta Metoxen. And we learned about
intergenerational trauma from Dr. Martin Brokenleg. We also learn about what we
can do to lead healthier lives and hear from our elders
on this, “Native Report.” NARRATOR: Production
of “Native Report” is made possible by grants from
the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, the Blandin
Foundation, and the Duluth Superior Area
Community Foundation. [music playing] Welcome to “Native Report.” I’m Rita Aspinwall. And I’m Ernie Stevens. Blues rock band,
Bluedog, formed in 2001. Their son is influenced by life
experiences of native people. The band received the
Debut Artist of the Year at the 2010 Native
American Music Awards. Join us now as we attend
a rehearsal session, and learn more about a band that
is, in every sense of the word, a family. [music playing] [band playing] [singing] MICHAEL LEGARDE:
Bluedog formed in 2001 by Joni and Eric Buffalohead. And they released their
first recording in 2005. Their music is influenced
by the life experiences of native people. [singing] ERIC BUFFALOHEAD:
We wanted something that would connect with
the blues community and also connect with
the native community. So we thought– you know, I
thought, oh, my black dog. But there’s already
a band called that. And red dog, there’s an
energy drink or something. So we’re just going
through the colors. What’s next? Blue, blues, dog, blue dog. That’s kind of where it
came out of, I think. You know, we kicked around
some other names for ideas. And I think that’s really where
it kind of boiled down to, is, hey, we want this name
that will, you know, connect with both of these
communities we want to connect with, the blues community. But we don’t want to give up
what it is to be native either. We want to be known as
a native blues band. [band playing] I was looking for
something we could connect. You know, if we had to be,
you know, boxed in a style– because that’s what we learned
when we first formed Bluedog. You know, what kind of
music are you defined? And what match– you
know, to match you, what venue are you
going to play at? What I contribute to
Bluedog is, I would say, documentation of history. It’s real life experiences
of native people. [singing] ANDREA BUFFALOHEAD: I’ve been in
the band since I was, I think, about 16, or 15 when
we first started. I did, um, piano lessons when
I was maybe seven or eight, and didn’t really enjoy
practicing classical music. And my teacher told my parents
that I wasn’t interested. And so she kind of
stopped doing the lessons. When I started doing backup
vocals with the band, I– my dad said, you
should play keys, like you should put
your lessons to work. My parents offered– they said,
you should sit in with us. And it was so scary
before, and then during, when we were
performing with them. And then after, it was the most
thrilling high or experience. I got the bug is
what they told me. MICHAEL LEGARDE: Rounding
out the Native American Music Award-Winning Band is
bassist, Tom Suess, and drummer, Greg Mans. Bluedog has performed
at numerous sites in and around the Twin
Cities metro area, and have played up music
festivals across the Midwest. ERIC BUFFALOHEAD: We had
people like Buffy Sainte-Marie at the house when she was
in town when I was a kid. And you know, dad was always– always had these records
on from the Stones, and Eric Clapton, and you know,
we just always were musical, and it was always going on. And there was always
this tradition to of– and our family is
all singers down– down home in Ponca, right? So I was always kind of drawn
to, like, well, I’m not there. I’m not on the drum. But I do have this inner
desire to do something musical. But we’ve had, you
know, the opportunity to play with legendary people,
Buddy Guy, and Bernard Allison, and Indigenous. That was incredible. [band playing] JONI BUFFALOHEAD:
Bernard Allison, who comes from the blues,
you know, royalty, I’ll say, out of Chicago. And he at least
heard our latest CD. And he made the comment
of, you know, you and Mato, you know, from Indigenous,
you guys got that sound. There’s just a
native sound to it. There’s something
there that’s different. And I was like, wow, really? You noticed, you
know, it’s different? Because I thought we
kind of just blended in. We have really been blessed. (SINGING) Don’t
you waste my time. Don’t waste yours. We played this show. And the next day, I was going to
Mexico for the next six months to study. And I just thought, what if I’m
never able to do this again? And then I think
from then on, I just really appreciated that I’m able
to share this with my parents and with our family. [band playing] (SINGING) Oh, it don’t
matter who you are. Whoa, it don’t. But it don’t matter
where you head. Well, there’s only one thing,
only one thing that he said. [band playing] [music playing] Obstructive sleep apnea
is a fairly common diagnosis that causes a lot of problems. Many people with this
condition are not aware they have it, or don’t
think it’s a significant issue. Apnea means without air. And this is exactly
what happens. The normal sleep cycle
includes rapid eye movement, or REM sleep. And during this time, the muscle
tone in the body is decreased. What happens with sleep apnea
is that the muscles and tissues in the airway relax,
and collapse, and narrow the airway. The tongue often falls
back and blocks the airway. If you blow up a balloon,
[blowing] and let it go, [balloon flapping] it makes that
flapping sound because the air pressure pushes the neck
of the balloon open. Then the elasticity of
the rubber slams it shut. Then the air pressure in the
balloon forces the neck open. Then the elasticity
slams it shut, and so on. If you try to do that
in the other direction by breathing in when you
sleep, the same effect causes snoring, as long as
the airway is partially open. Eventually, those tissues relax
until the negative pressure pulls the airway closed. And there’s nothing that
will pull it open again. The negative
pressure from trying to take that breath
pulls the airway closed tighter and tighter. This is how an apnea
episode begins. And they typically last
from 20 to 40 seconds before the sleeper
awakens with a gasp and reopens their airway– except they don’t really wake
up, and are usually never aware this just happened. They go back to sleep and
the cycle begins again. Most people I see
with sleep apnea have partners who send them
in, or who come in with them to visits to make sure
this is addressed. Obstructive sleep apnea
increases the risks for heart attacks, strokes,
depression, obesity, high blood pressure,
and other things that are generally not good. The hallmark of
obstructive sleep apnea is daytime sleepiness. And this can range from
falling asleep during the day when not actively
engaged in something, to falling asleep at
the steering wheel. Other symptoms are
restless sleep, insomnia, morning headaches,
mood changes, including depression and
irritability, forgetfulness, and difficulty concentrating. High blood pressure and
difficulty losing weight are sometimes things I see
that make me open a discussion about obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea tends to
get worse with age. And factors that make it
worse are obesity, alcohol, and some drugs, including
sedatives and muscle relaxers. Smoking causes inflammation
of the tissues in the airway, and worsens the problem. The most common test to
diagnose obstructive sleep apnea is polysomnography,
or a sleep study. During a sleep study,
multiple elements are monitored, including heart
rate, EKG tracings, oxygen levels, and other indicators. A normal oxygen
level is 95% to 100%. And anything below 90%
can be dangerously low. I sent someone in for
a sleep study once. And he woke up over 100
times in eight hours, and wasn’t aware of any of them. And his oxygen saturation
dropped to 74%. The most common treatment
for obstructive sleep apnea is CPAP, or Continuous
Positive Airway Pressure. This is an air pump with
a mask that seals tightly over the mouth and nose. The pressure is set to
just keep the airway open. They are sometimes a little
bit weird to get used to, but they work very well. Sometimes a mouth guard
that holds the bottom jaw forward is enough to
keep the airway open. Surgery is sometimes
used for severe cases. Weight loss and
smoking cessation are always encouraged. A newer treatment
stimulates the base of the tongue to keep it from
falling back and blocking the airway. Obstructive sleep apnea
is common, and may well be affecting you or
someone you care about. This is treatable. And your health care provider
can help you get started. Remember to call an elder. They’ve been waiting
for your call. I’m Dr. Arnie Vainio, and
this is Health Matters. [music playing] Loretta Metoxen
is a respected elder in the tribal historian for
the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin. She was born and raised
on the Oneida reservation, and served in tribal
leadership for nearly 30 years. A day doesn’t go by without
her learning something new about the Oneida Nation. [music playing] OK. MICHAEL LEGARDE: The
Oneida Nation of Wisconsin has a long and storied history. Loretta Metoxen, the
keeper of that knowledge, looks after the Nation’s
history with a passion. LORETTA METOXEN: Tribal
historian it’s very exciting. I use what knowledge I have
gained over the last 60, 70 years to enrich other people
by teaching researching, writing, spreading any
kind of information that I might have about laws
that affect tribes, especially this tribe. I study every day. And I learn something
new every day. It’s a miracle that we are
here, that we are here at all. Because we survived the
Revolutionary War, where many of our men were killed. The women also fought in
the Revolutionary War. And after the war– quickly on the heels of the war,
came the Indian Removal Act. And President Jackson was
bound that all the tribes east of the Mississippi
were going west. And we were one of them. So history, all of that
detail of daily living for our ancestors is
really, really exciting. It’s more exciting than
anything you can get on TV, as far as I’m concerned. MICHAEL LEGARDE: Born and raised
on the Oneida Reservation, Loretta served in the US Air
Force during the Korean War. LLORETTA METOXEN: I’m an Oneida
woman who was raised on a farm here on the reservation. And I volunteered for the
United States Air Force when I was 18 years old. The United States Air
Force saw fit to put me in airborne radar school,
airborne radar technician school. After a year, when
I got my orders, it said Buzzards
Bay, Massachusetts. And I thought, oh, my gosh. Where is Buzzards
Bay, Massachusetts? I thought it would be
the end of the Earth. And I didn’t know it was
Cape Cod, Massachusetts. And I– that’s where I was sent. And I was a Sergeant
on the flight line there in charge of
all the airborne radar on two flights of planes,
the 58th and the 59th Fighter Squadrons. I was the
non-commissioned officer in charge of all the
radar equipment that went into those planes,
and to install them and repair that equipment. And I was in charge
of the 564th Fuel Maintenance Radar Shop
that did that work. MICHAEL LEGARDE: Loretta also
served on the Oneida Business Committee, the governing
body of the Oneida Nation, for nearly 30 years. While on the
council, she strongly disagreed with the passage
of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, a major
piece of legislation that affected all of Indian Country. I was just in Washington when
the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was passed out of
committee in May of 1988. It would be passed
on the floor, I think, in October
of the same year. There were two other
major, major leaders who opposed that act. And those were Roger
Jourdain and Wendell Chino. And they said– and
I agreed with them. Didn’t affect anything, but they
said it was unconstitutional. And I agreed with them,
because of the commerce clause in the United States
Constitution that says, only the United States will deal
in commerce with the tribes. Well, this law gave the
control, the regulation to the respective states. So that is the part that
is unconstitutional. I believe it yet today. MICHAEL LEGARDE:
Loretta does recognize the positive economic impact
the piece of legislation has had across Indian Country. But her focus now is on
the history and retention of the Oneida culture. It could be argued
that she, herself, is a treasure of the Nation. My hopes for the future
of the Oneida Nation are that 17,100 Oneidas,
they need to know this stuff. They need to know
where they came from. They need to know the hardships
that their grandparents survived through. And that’s why
they’re still here. That’s what they need
to know, so that they can help one another
contribute to the Nation. They need to know that, because
each one who contributes will make– will make the Nation
stronger to that extent. So that’s what I
think needs to happen. It can’t happen fast enough. [music playing] I was born at a very young
age in Minneapolis, Minnesota 63 years ago. My parents– my dad went– we found work there. So we lived off the reservation
for a couple of years. And then we moved
from there to Duluth. And we lived on
Garfield Avenue when there was houses there by
the railroad tracks there. And in the late ’50s, my father
built a little shack over here. And we moved back
to the reservation, which was– made everybody
glad, especially my mother. She didn’t like the
influence of the big city. So and then everybody
was back home again. Because across the road
was my grandma and grandpa. And you know, all
the family is here. It’s a real close, tight-knit
family, our little village. So and eventually we
outgrew that house. It was just 100 yards that way. And we moved to a
house right here. And I lived here till 1969. And then 1984, I moved back. And I got this
same piece of land. And the trees in my yard, and
my mother and dad planted. So I’m home. [music playing] Dr. Martin Brokenleg grew
up on the Rosebud Reservation, and went on to become a
psychologist, therapist, and author who has trained
people around the world to more effectively work
with at-risk youth. He has a vision for how
Indigenous communities and families can raise
successful, resilient children in the face of
intergenerational trauma. Dr. Brokenleg sat down
with Christina Woods for an in-depth
conversation about his work. [music playing] Well, thank you,
Dr. Brokenleg, for being here with us today
to talk about the efforts that you’re making to try and
develop resiliency in children. I would like, first, to ask
you to help us understand what you mean when you talk
about intergenerational trauma. OK. It’s a complicated, big area. And I think, first
of all, we don’t want to think about what trauma is– the simplest definition I know
is when your emotional system is overwhelmed. That happens to everybody. Everybody gets traumatized. And human beings are designed
to get over occasional trauma. But intergenerational trauma
is a different category. Because it is the result of
frequent, maybe even daily, trauma. Essentially, the
definition I use comes from Dr.
Mariah Braveheart. And she says it is a dark
energy that is cumulative, first of all, meaning it
gains energy as it matures. So each generation can
experience a more severe form. If your parents went
to residential school, for example, you would have a
fairly intense level of trauma. But if you don’t do
your healing work, your children will have a more
severe form of that trauma. And psychologically,
the reason that exists is because emotional
self-management is an important tool that
every child needs to learn. But what happened
to the people who experienced the first wave of
trauma, whether that was war– which it often was in the US. In Canada, it was the
residential school experience. What that first generation
of people often do is shut themselves
down emotionally. And so they never become
skilled at handling themselves emotionally. And then they can’t teach
that to their children. Whereas in traditional
cultures, the older generation teaches the next
generation about how to– this is what you
do in your anger. This is our ceremony for
mourning, or whatever it is. So intergenerational trauma
gets worse with each generation. One of the clues that
somebody should know– that a person should
know I’ve experienced this is if you’re embarrassed
by it, if you want to hide it. The real problem with
intergenerational trauma is it affects all
aspects of a human being. It affects how we think
and perceive reality. It affects our emotional world. It affects us spiritually,
sexually, our social contacts, our spontaneity. It even affects us genetically. There’s a field of study
called epigenetics, which has documented that
genes have on off switches. And trauma turns
all those switches, flips all those switches. So that, if I’ve
been traumatized, my children will be born
with those conditions, whether I’m male or female. This is a persistent condition. It will not go away. Because it permanently alters
how we think, how we function. It alters our brain chemistry. So all of our function
is influenced permanently after that. Now this doesn’t mean you
can’t live a life that’s happy, and joyful, and free,
and all of that. But it takes work. Many people have
thought, there must be something wrong
with native people, for example– indigenous people. Because we have so
many social problems, and physical problems,
and addiction issues, and all those kinds of dynamics. There’s nothing wrong with us. It’s the result of that trauma. We react to the way any human
being would react to it. It seems like such
an important first step for our community is
to, first of all, know that this is a condition. Yes. And then secondly, like, what
are the first couple of steps that families or a
community could use to start that healing process? What I encourage people
to do, first of all, is to admit that we have it. Because we do. There isn’t any
indigenous person I have met who doesn’t
carry traces of it. So admitting that
we have it means we are starting to leave
that position of victim-hood. A typical victim hides whatever
has happened to him or her. There is a new practice–
well, I guess it’s not new. But it’s new in the sense
that it’s recently popular– a practice called
mindfulness meditation, which has spectacular results. And it only takes
about 10 minutes a day. And then after that
would be the process of learning, what do we do with
our emotion when we have it? It’s normal to be happy. It’s normal to be disappointed. It’s normal to be
hurt and fearful. Once we can acknowledge
all of those, then we have to
figure out, how do we work with all of those pieces? So the admission, I
think, is probably the important first step. Yes, I’m wounded. Now what do I do about it? One of my slogans is, it’s
what we do next that matters. My conversation
about resilience continues with Dr. Brokenleg. Next time on “Native
Report,” we’ll discuss how we start to heal
intergenerational trauma, creating successful
students, and facing racism. We can’t do
anything about this. See, I think– [music playing] RITA ASPINWALL: For
more information about “Native Report”
or the stories we’ve covered, look for us on
the web at, on Facebook, and on YouTube. Thank you for
spending this time with your friends and
neighbors in Indian Country. I’m Ernie Stevens. And I’m Rita Aspinwall. We’ll see you next time
on “Native Report.” [music playing] NARRATOR: Rita Aspinwall is an
enrolled member of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake
Superior Chippewa, and is an [inaudible] social
worker with Fond du Lac Social Services. Ernie Stevens is a member of
the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, and is a film and
television producer. [music playing] from the Shakopee Mdewakanton
Sioux Community, the Blandin Foundation, and the Duluth
Superior Area Community Foundation. [music playing] is provided by the
citizens of Minnesota, through the Minnesota Arts
and Cultural Heritage Fund.

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