I Finally Brought Myself to Listen to the Jermain Charlo Podcast, and Sobbed
The "Stolen: The Search for Jermain" podcast debuted in February, but I wanted to prepare my mind to take in the information. I knew it would induce a lot of anger and emotion, so I didn't want to dive right into it. Though we share the same last name, I don't actually know Jermain Charlo, or her close family. But as a Native woman, I do know the pain of losing a number of family and friends to violence.
The Spotify podcast is hosted by Native journalist Connie Walker, who does an incredible job with her own investigation and interviews, from what I've heard so far. It's the only coverage of Jermain's case I have heard from the perspective of a Native, and Connie's angle is helpful in understanding how Jermain may have felt in certain situations, or how people may have felt about Jermain in different locations of Western Montana.
I found myself on an unexpected road trip over the weekend and I thought it would be a good time to listen, so I could really hear what was being said and give it some proper attention. It was not a good idea as I could feel the tears coming on as soon as Jermain's Yaya (grandmother) began to speak, but I couldn't turn it off, it was so intense to hear Jermain's own family speak about the kind of human, and mother she is known to be. Hearing the devastation in her Yaya's voice as she explains that she places her prayers for a safe return in small bags of tobacco and hangs them on the fence at Jermain's vacant home was about enough to make me sob right off the road.
I made it half through episode 2 before I turned back to music so wouldn't resort to pulling over and crying. Her family speaks of hearing from, and seeing Jermain in dreams, I've seen her in my own. And, if you're not already convinced of Detective Guy Baker's sincerity in helping and caring for this family, you will understand that he is very genuine and committed to this case when you listen.