Native American Heritage: Ada Deer

U of M Radio On Your Historic Dial

By Karen Obermeyer-Kolb

November is Native American Heritage Month so for our second episode of the new podcast, U of M Radio on Your Historic Dial, we have selected an interview from the 1970s with Ada Deer, American Indian and Civil Rights Activist.

You can listen to the episode in the browser here and read the script below.

Episode 2: Native American Heritage with Ada Deer

You are listening to U of M Radio on Your Historic Dial podcast and this is episode 2: Native American Heritage with Ada Deer.

If you missed our first podcast, it’s worth a listen. I explain the project and what this podcast hopes to bring to the listeners. In short, we are exploring radio from the 1940s through the 1980s with newly digitized recordings from the University of Minnesota Archives.

So Hello! I’m Karen, the project archivist here at University of Minnesota Archives and as this month is Native American Heritage Month we’ve selected a few clips to honor that. Today we’ll specifically focus on Ada Deer. Deer was the first member of the Menominee Tribe to receive a master’s degree in 1961 and for her many achievements as an American Indian and Civil Rights Activist she was a National Women’s History Month honoree in 2000.

We have an interview with Deer from 1972. The labeling on the tape tells us the recording is related to an episode of the  People Worth Hearing About which, as mentioned in our first podcast, was a program highlighting the great achievements of women and minorities in America.

Cover of Minnesota School of the Air Teacher Manual, 1971-1972. University of Minnesota Radio and Television Broadcasting records, University Archives
Cover of Minnesota School of the Air Teacher Manual, 1971-1972. The University of Minnesota Radio and Television Broadcasting records, University Archives
Letter to teachers in Minnesota School of the Air Teacher Manual, 1971-1972. University of Minnesota Radio and Television Broadcasting records, University Archives
Letter to teachers in Minnesota School of the Air Teacher Manual, 1971-1972. The University of Minnesota Radio and Television Broadcasting records, University Archives

So let’s tune in to her describing Menominee County and what growing up was like.

Deer is passionate about fixing the living conditions and social problems of American Indian life in great part through efforts in education, including the programs of PRIDE and Upward Bound, and through the support and encouragement of Native American youth.

This passion for American Indian youth and activism seems to stem greatly from her experiences, struggles, and realizations. She mentions the programs and people that encouraged her on her own journey and how she hopes to give back to American Indian youth.

The end of the recording then dives into Deer’s hopes and goals for the future. Specifically, she wants to see the American Indian community to have “basic human needs” fulfilled as well as the ability for the community’s own leaders to solve issues with dignity.

Thanks for tuning in! Next time we’ll continue our theme of Native American Heritage with an episode of Tales of Minnesota on the Sioux Treaty.

The U of M Radio on Your Historic Dial Podcast is produced every other week for your enjoyment. Subscribe or download on iTunes so you don’t miss another moment of historic Minnesota radio.

If you enjoy our clips and want to hear or learn more, go to www.lib.umn.edu/uarchives and search KUOM in the collections guides.

Digitization of University Archives recordings was financed in part with funds provided by the State of Minnesota from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Minnesota Historical Society.

Karen Obermeyer-Kolb is a project archivist for the University of Minnesota Archives.

Learn more about the University of Minnesota Archives

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