Gabriel Night Shield decided to make the podcast Urban Indianz after growing frustrated with the way he sees Native Americans portrayed in mass media.
“The only time I see Native Americans in media is either when they’re complaining about the alcoholics and the drunks, people being homeless and begging for change and that kind of stuff – or it’s the complete opposite end of the spectrum where people live in teepees and smokin’ peace pipes and going on vision quests and things like that," said the 38-year-old hip-hop artist who lives in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
“And it’s never just the people like me that are working and raising a family and just living day to day life," said Night Shield. "And there’s you know thousands and thousands of people that are just like me but we don’t get heard because we don’t fall into those two stereotypes that the media likes to portray us as.”
Each show is a little over an hour-long and centered around a main theme. Co-hosts discuss life on and off the reservation–referencing personal experiences.
Current episodes include topics like meth and racial appropriation–like non-natives who wear headdresses for Halloween or use a fixture of Native American culture as their sports team mascot.
Upcoming shows will be about single-dads and identifying as LGBTQI+ while living on a reservation.
Co-hosts chat casually among themselves – so there are some curse words.
“We’re all just everyday people," said Night Shield.
"So we want to just give our point of view and talk as if we were just talking with each other."
Night Shield says, besides busting stereotypes, the podcast also shines a spotlight on Native artists. A co-host, Levi Hansen, interviews other musicians, artists and chefs.
“Levi and I are in the entertainment business as well so we feel that it’s good to help people get their stuff out and just promote. And then being a Native hip-hop artist, I wanted to end each show with a different Native hip-hop artist that people might not be aware of," said Night Shield.
Three episodes of Urban Indianz debuted online June 12th with new ones to be released bi-weekly on Mondays.