Tiokasin Ghosthorse: Tiokasin Tasunke Wanagi Oyate Tokaheya Wicakiye:
(“Ghosthorse” “Spirit Coming In” “He Places the People First”)
First Voices Indigenous Radio
Tiokasin Ghosthorse is from the Cheyenne River Lakota (Sioux) Nation of South Dakota. He holds a Masters Degree in Native American studies and Communications. He is a storyteller, poet, university lecturer, scholar, essayist, cultural interpreter, and a peace and human rights activist. Tiokasin has been described as “a spiritual agitator, natural rights organizer, Indigenous thinking process educator and a community activator.” One reviewer called him “a cultural resonator in the key of life.”
Politics for the Lakota is spiritual and is not separate from the rest of life. The issues are profound: What does it mean to be human, to be a human being? What does it mean to be civilized? Indigenous peoples are after an inclusive politics, an inclusive world. There is no word for “exclusion” in Lakota and there is no word for “me” or “I”. The responsibility of living within this worldview are far-reaching, from the beginnings of Life itself. This way of knowing and of being must be learned by all who walk with Mother Earth.
Tiokasin has had a long history in Indigenous rights activism and advocacy. He spoke, as a teenager, at the United Nations Conference on Human Rights International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights in Geneva, Switzerland. He has supported or participated in many of the major occupations including Wounded Knee, South Dakota, in 1973, as well as Lyle Point, Washington, Western Shoshone, Nevada, and Big Mountain, Arizona. Ever since his UN work, he has been actively educating people who live on Turtle Island (North America) and overseas about the importance of living with each other and with the earth.
He is a survivor of the “Reign of Terror” from 1972 to 1976 on the Pine Ridge Lakota Reservation, and the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs Boarding and Church Missionary School systems designed to “kill the Indian and save the man.”
Tiokasin is the host of First Voices Indigenous Radio for the last 18 years, 8 in New York and 10 in Seattle/Olympia, WA.
Tiokasin Ghosthorse is also a master musician, having played and a teacher of magical, ancient and modern sounds. He is one of the great exponents of the ancient red cedar Lakota flute, and plays traditional and contemporary music, using both Indigenous and European instruments. He has been a major figure in preserving and reviving the cedar wood flute tradition and has combined “spoken word” and music in performances since childhood. Tiokasin performs worldwide and has been featured at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, Lincoln Center, Madison Square Garden and the Metropolitan Museum of Art and at the United Nations as well as at numerous universities and concert venues. He is a maker of flute and drums.