Prairie Public's "Ask A Native American" event paired up 8 Native and 8 non-Native people for one-on-one conversations -- 8 minutes, and you'd switch partners. We were worried that it might be dull, or it might be too contentious. We had not done something like this before. We gathered in the North Dakota Heritage Center on a Saturday morning in August of 2018, with people chatting as we dealt with some last minute substitutions. After a brief orientation, we started.
The room immediately filled with a buzz of talking. The chairs were spaced around the room so poeple could hear each other. When the signal to change came after the first 8 minutes, sure enough, it was hard to get people to move on. Energy was good and the talk was intense. As we ate lunch together afterwards, several people suggested that we do it again.
Listening to this report, you will hear a series of short interviews with several of the participants. You can get some idea of how it went.
Thanks to Wanda Agnew of Bismarck who helped organize it; the Heritage Center for being such nice hosts; and Tayson Long Feather for helping to document it. Before doing this event, we consulted with the Bismarck Satellite Office of the MHA Nation, the Sacred Pipe Resource Center, United Tribes Technical College, and the Native American Development Center. They all helped us find people to participate. Also thanks to Ross Reynolds at KUOW-FM for coming up with this format and suggesting we try it. Special thanks to all the partisipants, who volunteered a good chunk of their weekend to this event. We think they found it worthwhile.