Checotah student takes part in podcast series

Gavin Scott

Checotah High School senior Gavin Scott seeks to share history he has not found in textbooks.

Scott created a podcast featuring an interview with independent scholar Dr. Sabine Lang, author of the book "Men as Women, Women as Men: Changing Gender in Native American Culture." 

Scott's podcast is part of UnTextbooked, a podcast series in which 15 teens from across the United States speak with authors and historians. The podcasts can be heard on such platforms as Apple Podcasts, Google and Spotify, with two episodes per week until December.

"I feel like history is very whitewashed and about this white narrative and all about them, instead of history of other topics," said Scott, who belongs to the Cheyenne-Arapaho tribe. "We are actually trying to change how history is taught and is not just in a textbook."

Scott said his episode focuses on a historical argument against the gender binary, or traditional gender roles.

"Whenever you think of indigenous people, there's this masculine outlook with the men as people who hunted," he said. "I wanted to find something that was out of that norm."

He said he looked for experts in the subject until he found Dr. Lang, who holds a doctorate in anthropology from the University of Hamburg. She also coedited "Two-Spirit People: Native American Gender Identity, Sexuality and Spirituality."

"It took a lot of digging and internet searches and praying for the best," Scott said. "I thought it was so shocking that I would find someone that knows something about my culture in another country, where they don't even have indigenous people. I thought that was so bizarre, but that's what made it more interesting."

He said Lang is a leading ethnologist from Germany who addresses "two spirits," a term used for members of indigenous tribes "who don't identify as male or female."

"In finding out about two spirits, I thought they were just another name for 'transgender,'" Scott said. "But gender wasn't even a thing back then. They didn't follow that normative."

Scott said he hopes to attend Dartmouth University and major in chemical engineering. He said he ultimately wants to work with Doctors Without Borders "to help those in need."

UnTextbooked is a project of Got History, a project that seeks to engage young people "to advance civic well-being." 

Other podcast themes include "The Jewish Role in the Civil Rights Movement," "U.S. and Latin American Relations During the Cold War and "Golden Age Piracy in the Atlantic." 

Learn more

• To access Gavin Scott's podcast, and others on UnTextbooked, go to https://www.untextbooked.com/ .

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