Episode 18: Talking Suicide — Living with Purpose

August 21, 2017

Johnnie Jae

This week’s guest has a resume that speaks for itself. Known as the Brown Ball of Fury, Johnnie Jae is a profoundly driven and unstoppable Indigenerd from the Otoe-Missouria and Choctaw tribes of Oklahoma. She is a writer, speaker, technologist, advocate, community builder and entrepreneur that loves empowering others to follow their passions and create for healing and positive change in the world.

She is the founder of A Tribe Called Geek, a multimedia company dedicated to showcasing and encouraging Indigenous contributions to geek & pop culture as well as STEM fields. Jae, also, co-hosts the ATCG name sake podcast with Jackie Malstrom aka Jack the Pima, where they discuss native representation or the lack thereof in mainstream geekery with fellow Indigenerds from across Turtle Island.

Jae has also contributed her skills to Native Max Magazine, Native News Online, Complex, Good Men Project and the Success Native Style Radio Network.

In addition to her entrepreneurial pursuits, Jae is an advocate for many Indigenous and human rights issues, mainly focusing on youth empowerment, suicide prevention, mental health education, gender & racial equity, violence towards Indigenous people, human trafficking, police brutality, reconciliation & solidarity, and Indigenous representation in the media.

She is a Founding Board Member of Not Your Mascots and LiveIndigenousOK. Through A Tribe Called Geek, she founded #Indigenerds4Hope, a suicide & mental health education initiative for Native Youth centered around Geek Culture and STEM Education. She is also a community organizer with http://MoveOn.org  and a member of the 451 Global Digital Infrastructure Alliance.

Her ability to seamlessly shift from humor and pop culture to advocacy and business has made her a much-sought after speaker, panelist, and commentator. She has taught numerous workshops that address suicide awareness & prevention, mascots & stereotypes, digital activism, Indigenous journalism & media, and the utilization of social & digital media for business and activism. Her work has been discussed in many media outlets, such as Indian Country Today, ATPN, CBC, USA Today, Women’s E-News, http://Takepart.com  and Upworthy. She has been a guest on several radio shows and podcasts, including Native America Calling, Native Trailblazers, Black Girl Nerds, BBC World Have Your Say and ICI Radio.

In this week’s episode, Johnnie and I shared our own stories and discussed our own experiences facing suicide, our failed attempts, the fallout, and living with the knowledge that you’ve already been willing to try. If you enjoy the podcast, I’d love it if you’d subscribe and review the show. You can do so by clicking through the below buttons to your podcast player of choice. Other episodes are also available here on our website.

Also, the Our Fractured Minds podcast team has pitched a meet up event at next March’s SXSW conference in Austin, TX. You can read more about the event and it’s back ground on our blog, or you can vote for our panel to get it picked up for next year’s show (NOTE: Account creation is required for voting).


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