Johnnie Jae on being a suicide survivor “You don’t just have to survive, you can thrive…”
Johnnie Jae’s Bio
Johnnie Jae is of the Otoe-Missouria and Choctaw tribes of Oklahoma. She is the managing partner of Native Max Magazine, founder of A Tribe Called Geek, and contributor to Native News Online. She is the manager and producer for the Success Native Style Radio Network, where she hosts the Indigenous Flame and A Tribe Called Geek radio shows. She is also a founding board member of Not Your Mascots.
Known as the “Brown Ball of Fury,” Jae seamlessly shifts from humor and pop culture to advocacy and digital media, which has made her a much-sought after speaker and commentator. Her work has been discussed in many media outlets, such as Indian Country Today, ATPN, CBC, USA Today, BBC, Women’s E-News, Takepart.com and Upworthy. She has been a guest on several radio shows, including Native America Calling, Native Trailblazers, BBC’s World Have Your Say, and ICI Radio.
Johnnie’s challenge to NextGen Natives
Be real, work hard, and love with all your might.
In this episode we discuss:
- Johnnie’s unique upbringing for the first seven years of her life.
- How school taught her that being “Native” was different.
- Johnnie’s various interests in school (cello, violin, classically trained vocalist) led to her being tokenized, and how that tokenization gave her access to opportunities others may not receive.
- The complexities of being “Native.”
- Suicide and the experience of suicide survivors. Johnnie is a multiple suicide-attempt survivor. We talk about addressing the stigma of suicide in Indian Country. The topic begins around the 21 minute mark. I urge you to listen. It’s a difficult topic but we need to have these conversations.
- Brene Brown’s TED talks on vulnerability and shame. I feel I’m a broken record because I’ve referenced this several times previously. But I really think it’s important information for Indian Country!
- How Native Max, A Tribe Called Geek and NextGen Native all have common goals to connect and share stories of different Native groups (nerds, fashionistas, etc.) around the country.
- Indian Country needs more voices in media telling our stories.
- How we tell Native youth that they can be successful, but we don’t discuss what it means when you find success and how to handle or navigate it with others.
- The difference between “walking in two worlds” vs walking in your own two shoes.
- How YOLO is very similar to the famous quote attributed to Chief Tecumseh.