John Karhiio Kane is a Mohawk from Kahnawake. He lives on the Cattaraugus Territory of the Seneca Nation and has a direct connection to the people and territories of the Six Nations. John has been involved for most of his adult life in Native issues and, specifically, defending Native sovereignty. He was part of the First Nations Dialogue Team in the late 90s and worked extensively with the League of First Nations in battles with New York State over taxation.
John hosts two weekly radio shows: "Let's Talk Native...with John Kane" – now in its sixth year – streams online through the Unity Stream Network and is carried by Net Roots Radio and the TuneIn app; and “Let's Talk with John Kane” - a two hour caller talk back show - airs on WBAI-FM (Pacifica) in New York City. John served for as the interim host for "First Voices Indigenous Radio" in 2014 on WBAI as well. John’s strong voice on Native issues has earned him numerous invitations to appear on “The Capitol Pressroom with Susan Arbetter,” an influential public radio program that broadcasts from the New York State Capitol in Albany and airs in 20 markets throughout the state. Arbetter has also featured John on her television news segments on “The Capitol Report,” which air during local news throughout New York. John has appeared on WGRZ Buffalo Channel 2's (NBC) “2 Sides with Kristy Mazurek” — he is called upon as an expert commentator on Native issues. He also has appeared on “Time Warner Cable News,” Time Warner Cable’s 24-hour cable network in Albany and Buffalo, New York (two of the network’s four regional news channels). In 2013, John was featured in “Shinnecock,” a one-hour documentary produced by Thom Hoffman about the Shinnecock people and their history on Long Island, N.Y.
In June 2013, John provided commentary about the obstacles faced by North American Native peoples on “From Washington,” the global live broadcast from Washington, D.C., of Al-Jazeera International, which has more than 260 million viewers in 130 countries. In November 2013, John and his radio show were featured in an Al-Jazeera Arabic special report that was broadcast to 50 million viewers in the Arab world.
John also has been a regular guest/commentator and guest host on WBAI-FM (Pacifica) in New York City; WPFW-FM, Washington, D.C., KFAI-FM, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn.; and KQRS-FM, KXXR-FM and WGVX-FM, Minneapolis. His monthly guest appearances on “The Martha Fast Horse Show” in Minneapolis are also syndicated on KINI-FM, the voice of the Rosebud Lakota in South Dakota. In May 2013 and 2014, he was selected as one of just a few out-of-state radio hosts to be included in KFAI-FM’s special 24 hour-long day of Indigenous programming, “Turtle Island: Voices Rising.” In 2014, John’s strong support of the Hawaiian independence movement has earned him a voice on Hawaiian radio. In July and August 2014, John was featured on “Living Sovereign,” a weekly live talk show hosted by Puanani Rogers on KKCR-FM, community radio in Hanalei/Kilauea on the Island of Kauai.
John and "Let's Talk Native..." have been featured in Buffalo Spree Magazine and the ARTVOICE and have earned mention in the New York Times, The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal. He participated in the UN's International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples program on August 9, 2012, in a program titled, "Indigenous Media: Empowering Indigenous Voices.” John's words to the assembly earned three rounds of applause and an unplanned reception line at the close of the program. In June 2013, John was one of just a handful of Native speakers at the 2013 Left Forum “Mobilizing for Ecological/Economic Transformation” Conference at Pace University in New York City. The Left Forum gathering is the largest annual conference of a broad spectrum of left and progressive intellectuals, activists, academics, organizations and the interested public. In January 2014, John was a featured speaker at “Who Decides You’re Real? Fixing the Federal Recognition Process” sponsored by the Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law’s Indian Legal Clinic at Arizona State University/Tempe. In early 2014, John received a Community Leader Media Award from the National Federation for Just Communities of Western New York. John has been prominent in addressing the dehumanization and discrimination demonstrated with the use of Native slurs, images and words in high school and sports team names. He played a critical role as a member of the committee invited in to address the issue with the Lancaster School District's Board of Education. His work on the committee as well as articles and radio shows on the subject help the Board make the right decision to unanimously vote to retire the use of the word "Redskin" associated with the school district. In June of this year, John was asked to speak at an event organized by the University of Saint Andrews and the College of William and Mary at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington D.C. The conference was titled "From Doctrine To Declaration" and brought some of the most prominent speakers throughout the U.S. to speak about the Doctrine of Discovery and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. He is a member of the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA).
John has been a contributing columnist for “The Two Row Times,” a weekly news publication that reaches the Ontario-wide Native market and Haudenosaunee communities in the U.S. His columns and other writings are featured in Censored News, a collective of Indigenous and other grassroots writers focused on human rights and the protection of Mother Earth. John also writes the Native Pride blog, which can be found at HYPERLINK "http://www.letstalknativepride.blogspot.com" www.letstalknativepride.blogspot.com. His radio shows and appearances are posted on the blog with articles, quotes and links. His blog has readers in 20 countries. John has a page on the ESPN website at HYPERLINK "http://www.espn1520.com/pages/17325417.php" http://www.espn1520.com/pages/17325417.php and a "Let's Talk Native...with John Kane" group page on Facebook. His work is also included in the Native Nations Institute’s (University of Arizona) “Indigenous Governance Database.”
John is currently sitting on a Native committee assisting the Lancaster School District in addressing their Native mascot issue and the schools' team name, the "Redskins." The committee has met with school board representatives and the district's superintendent as well as participated in public work sessions at Lancaster High School.
John takes pride in tackling the tough issues that face Native people and refuses to participate in the "buffalo speeches" that continue to dumb down Native culture and beliefs. He is not afraid to be labeled an activist but prefers to be considered a conversationalist and an educator.
John’s wife of 33 years is Oneida and they have three Oneida children; all are married with children of their own (he currently has 8 grandchildren and one more due in December).
(Updated October 2015)
Frank Melli of Melli Productions, is a media strategist and is the producer / director of Let's Talk Native, and a TV Broadcast Engineer, Producer, Editor and Media Manager.
Frank is a co-founder of Souler Energy, Inc. and Civiliti.org and was nominated for the September, 2015 National Emmy Award for news editing at the PIX11 News in NYC.
Frank spent most of the last three decades working for New York-based TV broadcast operations. Now he is also focusing his lens on the Sustainable Agricultural aspects of communities and rural scene. Meet The Farmer TV, (now in 120th episode), which Melli founded with farmer Michael Clark, showcases the stories of local growers and other food producers, chefs, organizations and the markets they serve.
In the 90's Melli pioneered a series of interactive town hall meetings involving viewers in debates. Participants Jimmy Carter and Al Gore noted the influence these broadcasts had on influencing the Bush administration by keeping them from further watering down the international treaties of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. Melli also partnered with Global University System and the NYC Board of Education to demonstrate e-learning.
He is also an award winning producer for his work on environmental issues with EnviroVideo awards for documentaries “Three Mile Island Revisited” and “Nukes In Space.” Frank also work with homeless children at Sidewalks of NY Productions helping these children to win video festivals, get internships, jobs and even scholarships. Frank has lectured at Queens College and taught media literacy and live video production at I.S. 5 in NYC.
In 2002, Frank Melli co-produced “One Child One Voice.” In affiliation with the United Nations, Melli coordinated international satellite distribution, broadcasting the program globally 8 times for the United Nation’s Johannesburg Conference on Sustainable Development. Frank also coordinated the marketing and distribution of these broadcasts to over 3,000 TV stations in over 110 counties. In 2003, this program was nominated for an Emmy Award and won a total of 39 awards altogether.
Work with the natives defending the Brazilian rain forest is an ongoing long term process to which Melli continues to dedicate his life. He created a Kayapo Legal Defense Fund and a Kayapo Scholarship Fund in which, the 1st Kayapo law student graduated this year (2015) and is moving forward towards becoming the first Kayapo attorney.
Frank was the technical director / director and edited 62 yoga videos in India to show the medical benefits of yoga and continues to free- lance with Integral Yoga Institute and as a TV broadcast engineer/ technical director, and TV News/Creative Services editor for WPIX/Tribune in NYC."