In an extraordinary celebration of the 50th episode of the Regenerative Rising Podcast, Elevating Stories Activating Change, host Nisha Mary Poulos engages in a profound conversation with Dr. Lyla June Johnston (aka Lyla June). Lyla June is an Indigenous musician, author, and community organizer of Diné (Navajo), Tsétsêhéstâhese (Cheyenne) and European lineages. Her multi-genre presentation style has engaged audiences across the globe towards personal, collective, and ecological healing. She blends her study of Human Ecology at Stanford, graduate work in Indigenous Pedagogy, and the traditional worldview she grew up with to inform her music, perspectives and solutions. Her doctoral research focused on the ways in which pre-colonial Indigenous Nations shaped large regions of Turtle Island (aka the Americas) to produce abundant food systems for humans and non-humans.
Throughout this captivating conversation, Lyla shares her upbringing and how its invaluable insights informs her worldview. She beautifully contrasts the Indigenous perspective of seeing everything as kin with the divisive mentality of white settler-colonialism bred from centuries of warfare in Europe and (elsewhere) and perpetuated by intergenerational trauma. Lyla emphasizes the universal Indigenous roots shared by all, highlighting the need to reconnect with our own Indigenous ancestral ties, which for many, have been eroded over millennia. She also talks about the importance of forgiveness and restorative justice in the journey towards healing.
Lyla passionately advocates for a rekindling of our relationship with nature, urging a return to an Indigenous worldview that embraces harmony with the Earth’s rhythms. Her personal journey of healing from addiction and becoming an activist, guided by her community of elders and ancestors, illuminates the innate human capacity and drive for giving rather than ceaseless consumption. As the conversation concludes, Lyla and Nisha reflect on the significance of community and collective empowerment, leaving listeners with a deeply impactful message of purpose and interconnectedness, reminding us, in Lyla’s words, that “Every rock was created with purpose, every deer, every star, every tree, every butterfly and every human, every human is also here with purpose. And the goal here is to find our purpose and find our gifts and to give them and to know that you’re never alone in that process.” Tune in for a very special episode.
Read Lyla’s Dissertation/Thesis: Architects of Abundance: Indigenous Regenerative Food and Land Management Systems and the Excavation of Hidden History
Watch Lyla’s Ted Talk: 3000-year-old solutions to modern problems | Lyla June | TEDxKC
Watch Lyla’s Music Video: Lyla June – All Nations Rise (Official Music Video)