Paul DeMain’s Ojibwe name, Skabewis, means “messenger,” which is entirely appropriate for the course his life has taken. He is a speaker, journalist, managing editor and CEO of News from Indian Country, a teacher, and a member of the Oneida tribe of Wisconsin. DeMain also works with Winona LaDuke’s organization Honor the Earth, supporting Native environmental initiatives. Recently, he talked to us on Rootstock Radio about Native American food sovereignty and our need to focus on clean water.

Activists like DeMain and LaDuke have witnessed the outrageous injustice impacting Natives: land taken away, resources extracted from communities, the ugly stories of displacement. Paul reminds us of the important contributions the Native community continues to model—all things on the earth are living entities and deserve respect. He speaks about food sovereignty through Midwest Native history. He reminds all of us that in the earlier days, when Native Americans fed themselves, they were much healthier. He believes going back to this idea—feeding ourselves—is critical to reversing the diabetes and obesity issues that are pervasive among all Americans.

I enjoyed my conversation with DeMain immensely and learned a lot about the issues facing Native peoples today, as well as the work they are doing to protect our shared earth. Please listen to this enlightening two-part episode with Paul DeMain.