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Cloquet podcast celebrates Native American culture, provides valuable job information

The Middle of the Rez Road podcast is recorded locally in downtown Cloquet and features new episodes published every Thursday.

Hosts record podcast
Alyssa Abramowski, Morgan Fritzinger and Ricky Reilly of the Middle of the Rez Road podcast pose for a photo during the recording of an episode in Cloquet.
Contributed / Middle of the Rez Road podcast
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CLOQUET — Three local members of the Native American community have created their own weekly podcast to provide valuable insight into job opportunities for a wide variety of trade industries, in addition to celebrating their culture.

The Middle of the Rez Road podcast is hosted by Cloquet High School graduates Morgan Fritzinger and Alyssa Abramowski, who grew up together on the Fond du Lac Reservation.

Host poses for photo
Ricky Reilly of the Middle of the Rez Road podcast poses for a photo during a recording session in Cloquet.
Contributed / Middle of the Rez Road

Fritzinger is enrolled as a member of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, while Abramowski is a member of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

They’re joined by fellow host Ricky Reilly, who was raised on the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Reservation, and is currently enrolled in the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Tribe in South Dakota.

Inspiration for the podcast came from a construction company owner on the reservation who sought help in spreading the word about openings within his company, along with other opportunities in fields that may not be widely known.

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“He was just having kind of a hard time finding resources or help or people to work in a sense,” Fritzinger said. “So things kind of came together, and this is when I came on. And we just kind of thought, 'Well, what’s the best way to get opportunities and words out there?’”

Host poses for photo
Morgan Fritzinger of the Middle of the Rez Road podcast poses for a photo during a recording session in Cloquet.
Contributed / Middle of the Rez Road

Despite their lack of experience in the world of podcasting, the group moved forward with their idea and published their first episode on April 28. They have gone on to publish 12 more in the time since.

Each episode of Middle of the Rez Road focuses on a specific trade industry and includes special guests sharing their own experiences within the chosen field.

“One of our main goals is to share people’s success stories just because we believe it’s easier for someone on the reservation to want to get their foot in the door in a trades job,” Fritzinger said.

Guests for the approximately 30-minute episodes have included representatives from the construction, flagging and welding industries among others. Abramowski hopes the information serves as inspiration for those who could benefit from the job opportunities discussed.

Host poses for photo
Alyssa Abramowski of the Middle of the Rez Road podcast poses for a photo during a recording session in Cloquet.
Contributed / Middle of the Rez Road

“We just hope that our story reaches somebody and can help them get a job if they’re stuck in a rut,” Abramowski said. “We want to have people become their own success story.”

In more recent installments of the podcast, the hosts delved into Native art through the Creative Native Hour. One such episode included a conversation with former Fond du Lac Reservation Police Chief Herb Fineday, or Chi Ma'iingan, who discussed his transition from law enforcement to a career in art.

While the main focus of the podcast is to promote job opportunities, the organizers seek to provide information for all things Native culture, as well.

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“We also do updates on powwows, so I think just being a one-stop shop for Native news and what’s going on in local communities (is what we strive for),” Fritzinger said.

New episodes are published each Thursday and can be found on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Soundcloud.

Looking ahead to what’s in store next month, Fritzinger said she’s eager to meet and speak with doulas from the Fond du Lac Reservation, who are non-medical professionals who provide emotional and physical support to women during pregnancy and childbirth.

“We are going to be sitting down with some doulas who work for the reservation just to kind of hear about our doula programs and what they do within the community supporting moms,” Fritzinger said. “That’s one that I’m really excited for, just because I’m a mom of three, and I’ve been through it all.”

MORE FROM JAKE PRZYTARSKI:
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Jake Przytarski is a reporter for the Cloquet Pine Journal covering a mix of news and sports.
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