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The Nerve! Conversations with Movement Elders

Jun 22, 2023

Elder Kathy ‘Wan Povi’ Sanchez is an Indigenous community activist from San Ildefonso Pueblo, New Mexico. Kathy has worked on women’s issues related to culture, the environment, and social change for most of her life. She was among the co-founding mothers of Tewa Women United, a group that raises awareness about issues relating to colonization.

In this episode Kathy talks with Heather Bryan about growing up in close proximity to the Los Alamos National Laboratory which was built in her community's sacred mountains and where nuclear waste was stored in traditional ceremonial kivas. Kathy tells stories about growing up in close community with her Indigenous elders and in deep connection with traditional practices and wisdom, while also navigating colonial Euro-American systems and frameworks during the "Age of the Atomic Bomb."  Kathy describes her ongoing work supporting younger leaders as "a grandmother's role" where she and other elders and ancestors are watching, supporting, guarding, and protecting younger Indigenous organizers in their work.  And Kathy 'Wan Povi' Sanchez teaches us that: "There's such a disconnect within a culture of violence that doesn't give space for a language of love to to help mend the world or to help grow a soul."