Children of Horse Nations Gray Area podcast's new season — ELDERS — is here

Art by Mara J. Reynolds

This season, Voices’ resident audio documentarians at Gray Area Podcast are introducing readers and listeners to some of our era’s most important but perhaps lesser-known elders. They’re people who’ve survived systemic injustice and historical trauma, yet are showing new generations what they’ve learned about how to address and prevent those kinds of harm.

Our first episode, Uncle John, takes you through a journey of Indigenous healing from the Bay Area to the Pacific Northwest and beyond. It’s the story of John Spence, a Gros Ventre/Sioux elder who survived this nation’s “Indian Termination” era and now uses equine therapy to heal Native youth. (Exclusive behind-the-scenes note for Voices insiders: Spence spent time playing rugby in Monterey County, and credits rugby with helping him get sober and saving his life.)

Made in collaboration with The Imprint, Uncle John is part of the multimedia project Healing the Children of Horse Nations and was co-produced and co-reported by Nancy Marie Spears (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma). It includes a gorgeous photo gallery by renowned visual storyteller Josué Rivas (Otomí/Mexica).

Uncle John was produced as a project for the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism’s 2024 California Health Equity Fellowship

Pro tip: Scroll through the photo gallery or the transcript while you listen to the podcast.

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Art by Mara J. Reynolds

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Julie Reynolds

About Julie Reynolds

Julie Reynolds is a freelance journalist who has reported for the Center for Investigative Reporting, The Nation, NPR, PBS, The Imprint, The NewsGuild and other outlets. She is a co-founder of Voices of Monterey Bay and associate editor at The Imprint.