Lyla June Johnston

Writing for peace means: Praying before each line is written that the Great Spirit’s message comes through. The root word of genius is, ‘genie,’ or spirit. And so the true genius does not take credit for her/his work. Rather s/he celebrates the fact they they were able to move out of the way enough for Spirit’s masterpiece to flow through them. To allow the essence of love to breath and speak through us, this is writing for peace. It is to know that even if this poem brightens just one person’s day, then it was all worth it. To write for peace is to serve humanity and in doing so strengthen our own capacity to love. When we tap into this explosive force of compassion, this is when the muse can truly work through us and make each word a prayer for all things.

"I spend a lot of time honoring and calling upon my Native American ancestors. I am keenly aware that my father’s people hold a venerable medicine as well. He has ancestry from the Great Sacred Motherland of Europe.

I have been called a half-breed. I have been called a mutt. Impure. I have been told my mixed blood is my bane. That I’m cursed to have an Indian for a mother and a cowboy for a father.

But one day, as I sat in the ceremonial house of my mother’s people, a wondrous revelation landed delicately inside of my soul. It sang within me a song I can still hear today. This song was woven from the voices of my European grandmothers and grandfathers. Their songs were made of love.


"The Sacredness of Twoness" | Lyla June Johnston

From the session:
ONE, NOT TWO: SACRED WHOLENESS | 2018 Festival of Faiths

Lyla June Speaks on the Topic of Non-Violence

Lyla June discusses her personal philosophy on non-violent resistance, frames it as an Indigenous tradition and shares her own experiences of confronting darkness with non-violence and compassion.

The influence of capitalism on our spirits, with Lyla June Johnston

The influence of the capitalist system on our spirits: this was the theme of discussion I proposed to Lyla June Johnston when we began our interview.

Lyla June Johnston Interview

This short episode is with Lyla June Johnston. Lyla June is poet, musician, educator, anthropologist, activist and community servant of Diné (Navajo), Tsétsêhéstâhese (Cheyenne) and European lineages. She holds a degree in Environmental Anthropology with honors from Stanford University and a degree in American Indian Education with distinction from the University of New Mexico. Her internationally acclaimed performances and speeches are conveyed through the medium of prayer, hip-hop, poetry, acoustic music and speech. Lyla's personal goal is to grow closer to Creator by learning how to love deeper.