Nagle creates podcast about Supreme Court case
Cherokee artist Keli Gonzales’ design of the “This Land” podcast, which Cherokee Nation citizen Rebecca Nagle created and hosts. COURTESY
TAHLEQUAH – Through the evolvement of Cherokee storytelling and the use of digital audio, Cherokee Nation citizen Rebecca Nagle created and hosts the podcast “This Land” to tell the story of a U.S. Supreme Court case involving a murder and the fate of tribal land in Oklahoma.
Nagle, a freelance journalist, wrote an op-ed piece for The Washington Post in 2018 about the Murphy v. Carpenter case in which Muscogee (Creek) Nation citizen Patrick Murphy was convicted of murdering fellow MCN citizen George Jacobs. After being tried and sentenced to death, the case took a turn after a public defender argued that the incident’s location was on MCN land and that Oklahoma had no jurisdiction in the case.
“In 2004, Murphy’s public defender argued that the crime occurred within Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s reservation and – because only tribes and the federal government can prosecute crimes on Indian land – the state of Oklahoma did not have jurisdiction to try the case. In 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit agreed. Oklahoma appealed, and now the outcome of Murphy v. Carpenter affects not only the fate of one man but the treaty territory of five tribes and nearly half the land in Oklahoma,” Nagle wrote in her Washington Post op-ed, “Half the land in Oklahoma could be returned to Native Americans. It should be.”
Crooked Media, a Los Angeles-based political media company, took interest in Nagle’s op-ed piece and asked if she would to turn it into a serialized podcast. Thus, “This Land” came to fruition and has since aired its first three of eight episodes.
In the podcast, Nagle not only covers the case’s facets, but also provides educational opportunities for non-Native people to learn about being Native and issues that are important to Natives.
“When issues like this are in front of the Supreme Court, in front of Congress, a lot of times people outside of Indian Country, they don’t know about the laws that govern our rights. They don’t know what a reservation is legally. They might not know what a federally recognized tribe is. A lot of times people don’t understand tribal citizenship and the basics of tribal sovereignty. I think the main goal with this podcast is to take a case and a story and an entry point for people that can get engaged and get interested. And along the way learn about these aspects of our history and our contemporary rights today,” Nagle said.
In the podcast, she talks about her ties to Indian land and how the case’ outcome could affect land that has been in her family’s possession for more than 180 years. She is a descendent of Cherokee tribal leader John Ridge, who along with father Major Ridge, signed the Treaty of New Echota in the 1830s, which called for removing the Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw and Seminole nations to Indian Territory, now Oklahoma.
“I think one thing to that is exciting about the podcast is that we talk a lot about the Murphy case, but there will be episodes where we talk about things like the history of the allotment and what its impact has been on Cherokee Nation, our language and even contemporary things like what’s happening in northeastern Oklahoma with the chicken houses. People will not just hear my voice but other voices from our tribe throughout the whole season.”
She said she hopes the podcast’s success creates more space in mainstream media for Native stories to be told by Native people.
“This Land” new episodes debut each Monday and can be streamed wherever podcasts are found such as Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Spotify and at thislandpodcast.com