Original Knowing
An Interview with Lyla June

February 1, 2019

Interview by
Joanna Harcourt-Smith

In this week’s episode Lyla June speaks with Joanna about: remembering our common indigenousity; forgiveness, the way home; healing the violence in Western cultures by grieving the ancestral pain; stopping the cycles of internalized abuse; a life-changing experience through prayer; a delicate balance in committing to leadership; the indigenous caretaking of the land; the Earth needs a nurturing human touch; two principles to cooperate with the land; Lyla speaks two poems from her book co-authored with Joy De Vito “Lifting Hearts Off the Ground: Declaring Indigenous Rights in Poetry”.

Lyla June is a musician, poet, anthropologist, educator, community organizer and public speaker of Diné and Tsétsehéstahese (Cheyenne) lineages. Her music and message centers around intergenerational and inter-ethnic healing, as well as an articulation of Indigenous Philosophy. Her life story of addiction, abuse, discrimination and eventually overcoming these battles gives her a powerful vantage point from which to share a message of love, unification and healing. Lyla’s urgent, vibrant stage presence and ability to convey paths forward for indigenous liberation have brought her to universities, school assemblies, conferences, music festivals, and community centers across the United States and over ten nations around the world. She is a co-founder of The Taos Peace and Reconciliation Council, which works to heal intergenerational trauma and ethnic division in the northern New Mexico. She is a walker within the Nihigaal Bee liná Movement, a  1,000-mile prayer walk through Diné Tah (the Navajo Homeland) that is exposing the exploitation of Diné land and people by uranium, coal, oil and gas industries. She is the lead organizer of the Black Hill Unity Concert which gathers native and nonnative musicians to pray for the return of guardianship of the Black Hills to the Lakota, Nakota, and Dakota nations. She is also the founder of Regeneration Festival, an annual celebration of children that occurs in 13 countries around the world every September.

“I Can’t Sit Still”, original music by Evarusnik

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