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June 25, 2024 11 mins

Today we highlight the work of Indigenous activist, scholar and educator Charlie Amaya Scott.

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Speaker 1 (00:05):
Hey, this is any and Samantha.

Speaker 2 (00:06):
Welcome stuff. I never told your prediction of iHeart radio.

Speaker 1 (00:18):
And we are wrapping up Pride Month. It is towards
the end of June.

Speaker 3 (00:23):
But of course, as you know, we will be celebrating
and always celebrate the queer community all day every day.
So you know, even though it's official by standards of
the calendar and whatever, I guess the US teams, is
it international or just the US that doesn't in June.

Speaker 2 (00:41):
I believe it's it's not international. I think several other
countries do it, but it is not completely international.

Speaker 3 (00:49):
Okay, so they do it in their own time. Because
I also know, like, yeah, unfortunately there's a split here
in the US as well at different time, and we've
talked about that previously. But going back to officially by
calendar by US calendar holidays is wrapping up of Pride Month.

Speaker 1 (01:04):
I always go always a little.

Speaker 3 (01:05):
Bit off track, but this time we are wrapping it
up with a Native American activist, Charlie Amaya Scott. So
Scott is an activist, educator, and scholar, and as someone
who seeks to find joy and share it, I love
that when we were researching them, they just talked about
wanting to share their stories and bring joy and I

(01:26):
of course we are all down for that. Scott has
been an outspoken advocate for the indigenous community as well
as a fierce activist for climate justice. On their site
Denay Aesthetics dot com, they write, born and raised within
the Navajo Nation, Charlie Amia Scott is dedicated to creating
and sharing content that inspires joy and justice. They have

(01:46):
worked with brand and organizations around climate justice, celebrating her
culture and language, advocating and supporting movements that celebrate or
affect black and Indigenous, queer and trans peoples, and sharing
knowledge around Indigenous people's gender and sexuality, date, colonization, higher
education representation, and more. They are transactivist as well, and
they go by by them she her, So there may

(02:09):
be some interchanging here, but yeah, so that's that is
their preference and we honor that.

Speaker 2 (02:14):
Yes, yes, And they are currently working on their PhD
at the University of Denver, and according to their site quote,
Charlie is also a doctoral candidate who is intrigued by
the intricracies among higher education, settler colonialism, and social media.
Their scholarship and writings are imbued with a desire for
a more just and liberating education that supports, inspires, and

(02:37):
celebrates the next generation of queer, trans, and Indigenous students
and to expand on that. They told blogger Cassandra Banksen quote,
my area of study is similar to what I post online.
It's celebrating and advocating for black, brown, and Indigenous peoples,
particularly those who are queer in trans I'm trying to

(02:57):
address things like rainbow capitalism, cultural appropriation, misrepresentation, and college access.
In celebration of Pride Month, I've been focusing a lot
more on queer and trans folk and the marginalization that
they experienced both within and outside different Native nations. To
empower and educate others, I talk about my experiences as

(03:18):
a queer transfem and how they have influenced my life.

Speaker 3 (03:22):
Right and as they mentioned, Charlie has had a big
impact within the social media platforms talking about their work
and how to address the ideas of colonization and decolonization.
In an interview with indie kids dot org, which are
interviews with younger kids, like the interviewer here is a
ten year old named Nikki. So I was like cool, cool,
I love this idea, and by the way, the questions

(03:43):
were really really deep, and I was like, oh, I
neeed lessons from her, they say. I speak on a
lot of issues on social media, like climate justice or
justice within education. I try to encourage other Native youth
who want to go to college and advocate on their
behalf with professors or staff of a college. I want
these people to understand that the way that Native people
interact and move through this world might be a little

(04:05):
bit different and they might need more support. I also
speak a lot about gender and sexuality and about how
the Navajo Nation does not support trans people, and I
try to explain to people that the reason for this
is not necessarily our fault, and there are reasons why
they don't support trans people, but that doesn't mean they
can't change and do better. Decolonization to me means celebrating, centering,

(04:25):
uplifting the dreams, desires, and demands of queer and trans
Indigenous people. And I say queer and trans Indigenous people
because those particular relatives of mine were targeted by colonialism
in a way that's different from those who were straight
or CIS Indigenous people.

Speaker 2 (04:39):
And with that, Charlie often talks about the importance of
storytelling in order to decolonize. In an article they wrote
in Yes Magazine titled Digital Native Storytelling, they write, the
scale of social media's impact surprises me, especially considering that
it sits in the palm of my hand. It is
a thread connecting us to so many across the world.

(04:59):
Over the past last decade, there has been an expansion
and evolution of social media that has changed the lives
of people, both in how we build and maintain relationships
and how we share and produce knowledge. It has created
a culture all its own. One of the most significant
impacts I have experienced is how Indigenous people have embraced
the art of storytelling online.

Speaker 3 (05:21):
Right and they continue. Storytelling is more than just recounting events.
There is an inherent art and skill to one of
the oldest and most widely practiced forms of communication and
cultural preservation in human history. Indigenous storytellers are inspired by
and pull from what I lovingly describe as the sentient archive,
a living, breathing repository of memories, lessons, and knowledge built

(05:43):
and shared from generation to generation. There is an inheritance
form through the kinship of sharing a story, imparting strength
beauty and wisdom that transcend temporal and spatial dimensions. Our
storytelling enables us to define who we were, who we are,
and who we will be as Indigenous peoples indigenous transfim.
Who I am, who I was, and who I will

(06:03):
be exists because of my family, my community, and the
people I choose to be in relationship with, as well
as what I learn, embrace, and refuse in this life.
My use of social media is informed and grounded by
denay ways of being and knowing which I have inherited
from and cultivated with my family and community. Through online platforms,
I have been able to reclaim what was long denied

(06:23):
to me.

Speaker 1 (06:24):
My story. Social media enabled me to create new and
complex representations of what it means to be indigenous, along
with fresh forms of queerness and transness that exists in
alignment with my indigenouity.

Speaker 2 (06:36):
And with that, they have continued their activism, all the
while sharing their joy and stories with so many and
in the series In the Know by Yahoo, Charlie talks
about not only being inspirational, but being inspired as well.
They say, one of the things that I'm most proud
of is being able to be a representation and a
presence than someone who inspires thousands of people every single day.

(06:59):
I think that what I'm hoping to change in the
world is how people see and understand indigenous peoples. For
so long we are seen as savages and uncivilized, but
being able to tell them, being able to show them
that we are so much more, and that we are
brilliant and that we're beautiful. I think there's a lot
of changing how they see us and how they understand us,

(07:20):
and how they witness us. The queer community inspires me
to have a little bit of fun every day. The
indigenous community reminds me of where I come from and
who I'm representing. And the trans community reminds me that
you decide who you want to be, not anyone else.

Speaker 3 (07:47):
Uh Yeah, And to end, we wanted to read a
bit more from them. Here's some more from the Yes
magazine titled Beyond the Binary Retelling the DNAE Creation Story,
and it's just an excerpt path the creation Story where
they speak about themselves my entire life. I was taught
by my family and my community to value and celebrate

(08:07):
our language and culture. But what of the Dnay history
that is queer in trans The one I know existed
before it was silenced and erased. I read the translated
version of my stories and they feel so wrong. Although
I'm not fluid in my language, and my body remembers
in its own way. There is a rhythm that beats
across my homeland. It is soft, but it is there,
waiting for me to dance along. There is a humming

(08:28):
in the air and in synergy, waiting to be caressed.
And it starts with the retelling of these stories and
a celebration of my body, my trans feminine Dnay body.
Like first Woman and first man, I too, was made
from the ears of corn, mixed and mingled among its variations,
made and shaped by their hands in the divine. The
wind breathed life into me, as it did for my
mother and her mother and those who came before, and

(08:50):
as it will do for those after my body returns
to the earth. My choice was stolen from me, but
not anymore. I have spent years learning and unlearning what
it means to be Dnay and to be queer and
to be trans in this world, this world that denied
me first Woman's gift. Now I am reclaiming this gift.
I know who I am and with this knowledge, with
the ceremony of transformation, I am regaining my power of creation,

(09:12):
starting with myself and our stories, until finally there's a
world that celebrates people like me. So you can definitely
find more and more of their writing within Yes Magazine.
I know they are a part of that as well
as so much more as well of their own site,
dnae esthetics dot com, and you can find them under
that in social media. I believe I already follow them

(09:35):
in TikTok. I was like, this person, look is really familiar.
Oh yeah, so really beautiful poetry essentially in their writing
and what they're doing and the joy they're finding even
in times of oppression. So yeah, let's celebrate everyone and
their uniqueness.

Speaker 2 (09:54):
And certainly listeners go check Charlie out if you have
been already, and if you have any suggestions. As always,
we would love to hear from you. You can email
us at Stuff Media Mom, stuff at iHeartMedia dot com.
I believe we have we're test driving a new email address,

(10:15):
which is hello at Stuffmomnever told you dot com if
you want to try that.

Speaker 1 (10:22):
One, Oh was simpler, Hello at what.

Speaker 2 (10:24):
Hello, It's stuff Moomnever told You dot com. Oh yes,
because years ago we tried to change the email dress
because a lot of people complained about it being complicated. Yes,
it was not a choice that we made do it,
but slowly but surely we're working towards that. So if

(10:47):
you want to try that one out, all the email
will get to us eventually. So two options for you there.
You can find us on Twitter at mom Stuff podcast
or on Instagram and ticked stuff and Never Told You.
We're also on YouTube. We have a tea public store,
and we have a book you can get wherever you
get your books. Thanks as always to our super producer Christina,

(11:09):
our executive producer May and our contributor Joey. Thank you
and thanks to you for listening stuffan Never Told You
this prediction of my Heart Radio. For more podcasts from
my Heart Radio, you can check out the heart Radio app,
Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.

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