Podcast Highlight: The Red Nation Podcast

By Sophie Williams

Five stars


⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑


I’d give it six (or ten) if I could


The Red Nation Podcast is one of the audio education media wings of The Red Nation — an Indigenous liberation coalition formed to “address the marginalization and invisibility of Native struggles within mainstream social justice organizing” and “foreground the targeted destruction and violence towards Native life and land” (The Red Nation). Hosted by writer and scholar Nick Estes with friend and comrade Sina, TRNP promotes honest and complex political education through interviews, conversations, and deep dives.


“Dead Horse” by Weedrat (an Albuquerque band offering “angry pop punk from the land of enchantment”) bookends each episode, leading us in with just the intro and taking us out with the full song. A steadfast bass line kicks into a driving oscillation of cymbals, bass drum, and guitar amongst an atmosphere of cooing, unison vocalizations. Passionate and haunting, the song insists “Don’t count on me” but ends with the repeated reassurance, “It’s gonna be okay, you’re gonna be okay.”


TRNP offers ongoing themed episodes, such as the YOTED series addressing conspiracy theories that have wormed their way deep into the settler imaginary, the group discussion Red Power Hour examining media and recent news,and the #NativeReads book review and discussion. There are also interviews, lectures, and histories with Indigenous organizers, writers, and community members around the world, with additional episodes available behind a $1 Patreon paywall. Every episode offers a conversation that traces many different paths, forming coherent and expansive analyses, along with action plans and revolutionary dreaming — nation, international, local, and global.


In one such interview, Krystal Two Bulls — a Northern Cheyanne and Ogala Lakota anti-war veteran and organizer with About Face — spoke to Indigenous overrepresentation in the armed services, with “Native people enlisting at the highest rate per capita” of any group, often “to get away from poverty or addiction… the choice was taken from them by the system” (Veterans' Day & the Demilitarization of Indian Country w/ Krystal Two Bulls). About Face invests in combating the “veteran mystique” (the culture promoting a story of military individual excellence and heroics) by politicizing veterans to transfer their skill sets.


Host Nick Estes emphasizes the economic and political implications of resistance as a threat to the US: “[It was] not only about the land, but also about the alternative world and political order that Indigenous people represented.” It is exemplified with the Ghost Dance, a “new social phenomenon” which envisioned renewal of the colonized earth — an “articulation of Land Back” in defiant response to the American government orders of the day that criminalized dancing in full. The United States “deployed half of its standing army to combat that vision… which lives on today in Standing Rock… an unarmed prayer movement” that is met consistently with military personnel. All resistance is marked as “traitorous” to America, as combatant to “not just environmental policy, but the entire history of bloody militarism.”[1]


Other covered topics include: The “War on Terror” as a continued Western crusade; the cultural erasure of the “Ancient Aliens” HBO series; the Mormon imagination of white indigeneity; the colonial origins of the sex trade; the Bolivian project of building indigenous socialism; AIM and COINTELPRO; the Chamarro people’s struggles in the face of the militarization of Guam; the US sanctions on Venezuela; the legacy of corporate-led genocide in Guatemala; and far more about resistance, community, and stewardship.


Tune in to The Red Nation Podcast for news, history, medicine, and struggle that puts Marxism to the service of challenging the specters of coloniality to build practices of non-metaphorical decolonization today.


Offering content especially consequential for those born or raised in the Americas, The Red Nation Podcast features discussions on Indigenous history, politics, and culture from a left perspective. Support the organization at Patreon.com/therednation, and listen wherever audio media is found.




Bonus Episode Recommendation: “Indigenous Resistance as an Antidote to Climate Crisis with Nick Estes” on Getting to the Root of it with Venus Roots




Dead Horse Lyrics:

​​Don't count on me x4

I saw you fall

from the sky

I saw you fall

you have to get up

cause i won't be around

don't follow me x4

it's going to be ok,

you're going to be ok




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[1] “Veterans’ Day & the Demilitarization of Indian Country w/ Krystal Two Bulls,” The Red Nation Podcast, November 10, 2020, https://open.spotify.com/episode/0lTnfQ180lKHmjLmCr0QkI?si=68a4bfb02d0f4bf5.