28. Jason Lambright: Who Are We to Judge Our Ancestors?

Keep the Bastards Honest
Keep the Bastards Honest
28. Jason Lambright: Who Are We to Judge Our Ancestors?

This is a story about colonisation, racism, and genocide.  It’s a story about erasure, not just of a culture, but of an entire people.  But it’s also a story of survival.  And it’s a story about love.  It’s a story about a woman who abandons her people, flees her home, her ancestors, her culture, and her heritage, who denies her own identity, right down to her own name, in order to protect her child from the government of her own country, a government that had an official policy to erase her people.

It’s also a story about her descendent. And his journey through his own family history, to uncover what she hid, and reclaim the culture and the heritage that his great grandmother surrendered in order to ensure the survival of her family.

This is the extraordinary story of Captain Jason Lambright.  He is Native American, of the Mendota Dakota Sioux tribe.  He’s spent the last few years uncovering 220 years worth of family history in which successive governments of his country, a country that he served with distinction, tried to exterminate his ancestors.  

 In the lead up to the referendum on the Voice, the parallels between Australian history, our First Nations peoples’ fight for recognition, and the history of the United States, and the experiences of Native Americans, and in particular Jason’s family, became too strong to ignore.

Jason has very graciously joined the podcast, to talk about his family history, and to talk about First Nations recognition from the perspective of a First Nations person from the other side of the world.

Show Notes

There’s a lot to explore in this episode!

All things Jason Lambright

Let’s start with the traditional owners of Jason’s home in Ohio, the Mingo people, and their predecessors, the Mound Builders. Their culture and their people were annihilated by disease in the 1700s, but they are not forgotten.

And then Jason’s tribe, the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota of the Sioux Nation, who are Minnesota’s First People

Jason’s blog, the Interstellar Valley

Keep up to date with, or support Jason’s writing through his Patreon

Buy Jason’s books in Australia, the United States, or the UK

Jason was also interviewed and contributed to this book, Mendota Dakota: Erasure and Recognition. There’s a chapter that covers his family history.

Hang out with Jason, Elana and the crew at John Birmingham’s blog and Patreon, and buy World War 3.1

The medicine wheel that Jason references in the podcast

History comes knocking

Custer’s last stand (Battle of the Little Bighorn)

Forced displacement of Indian tribes west of the Mississippi

The 1862 Dakota Uprising

The Trail of Tears

Wounded Knee Massacre

Treaty of Mendota (broken by the US government)

Black Elk’s Seventh Generation Prophecy

History that’s closer to home

First Nations slavery in Australia

Modern Day Campaigns for Justice and Sovereignty

Dakota Access Pipeline Protests (Standing Rock Sioux)

Mendota land transfer

Recognition of the Mendota Sioux

Uluru Statement from the Heart


Native American pop culture

The movie (turns out it was a mini series) that Elana referenced in regard to General Custer is Son of the Morning Star. There’s a low res version on Youtube if you want to watch it.

Other films and shows that feature Native Americans historically or in the present day are:

The granddaddy of them all Dances With Wolves

The Last of the Mohicans





Dark Winds

The English

Wind Talkers

Reservation Dogs

Here’s a list of documentaries about Native American experiences, many of which were referenced in the podcast, and where to stream them

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