A dozen Indigenous-led podcasts receive funding boost from new program

Wednesday, April 10th, 2024 10:45am


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Kori Czuy speaks at PechaKuchaYYC #39-Count Me In event in Calgary. She explores math and science through Indigenous knowledge and storytelling in her podcast Ancestral Science.
By Odette Auger
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Kori Czuy is the Métis host of the podcast Ancestral Science, which emphasizes the importance of Indigenous culture, spirituality and worldview in scientific inquiry.

On the show, Elders and Indigenous scientists talk about how science is defined, embraced and understood through spirit and relationality or connectedness.

Ancestral Science is just one of 12 podcasts to share $300,000 from the new Podcasting Program  launched by the Indigenous Screen Office (ISO), an advocacy and funding organization serving Indigenous creators.

The ISO money will support the podcasts to grow their audiences by partnering with Acast, a Swedish podcasting platform that makes 100,000 podcasts available to 400 million monthly listeners.

The Ancestral Science podcast delves into diverse topics, including the relational nature of numbers and the interconnectedness of natural phenomena.

Czuy's childhood experiences, infused with stories of the cosmos and Northern Lights, sparked a lifelong fascination with Indigenous knowledge systems. Her quest to integrate Indigenous ways of knowing into science intensified during her PhD studies in Indigenous mathematics. Czuy recognized that the vast reservoir of knowledge within Indigenous communities is often overlooked or inaccessible to broader audiences. She explains her perspective in this video https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=531277887461723

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In a recent presentation, Kori Czuy shares a grade schooler's explanation of our often turbulent relationship with math. In Czuy's studies she explores why we use the mathematics system that we do instead of other systems.

Czuy said her journey over the last 20 years was to learn about and bring together multiple ways of knowing, being and doing science.

“And often Elders and knowledge keepers tell me, ‘To know, but not to do or not to share is not to know’, which has really impacted me,” she said.

“So this inspired me to create Ancestral Science to show again the depth of science within these Indigenous knowledges from Turtle Island, and beyond.”

Ancestral Science is a collaboration with Emil Starlight of Tsuut'ina Nation from Limelight Multimedia. The funding by ISO will allow the team to expand the podcast to produce visually immersive episodes, incorporating on-location filming and showcasing the scientific principles embedded in natural phenomena, like a rainbow after a storm, an earthquake or a sunrise.

Czuy hopes more people will see the complexities of science within their culture and embrace a more relational approach to science and math.

By amplifying Indigenous voices and perspectives, Czuy envisions a future where science is enriched by the wisdom of ancestral traditions, fostering greater appreciation and respect for Indigenous knowledge systems.

Aretha Greatrix
Aretha Greatrix

Aretha Greatrix’s upcoming podcast Native Origin Stories, which will feature interviews with Indigenous digital content creators and artists discussing their origin stories and what inspired their paths.

Native Origin Stories aims to uncover motivations and challenges shaping creative journeys. Potential guests will span a range of creative industries, including animators and Indigenous stream teams.

“I love talking to people,” says Greatrix. “I love hearing about people's stories and what inspired them. I am one of those people that when I ask you how you are, I genuinely want to know how you are. I think that's why I like documentaries. I like to tell stories or share stories or make sure that people are being heard.”

Greatrix’s own origin story begins as a James Bay Cree member of Kashechewan First Nation (Albany Band), born and raised in Edmonton. Storytelling has been the common thread for Greatrix through filmmaking, streaming, and podcasting, she tells Windspeaker. A previous podcast project, Reconcile Me, featured interviews between Greatrix and their mother about their experiences and the intergenerational impact.

“I realized that I don't have to retell what my mom's going to say, because it's still my interpretation of what I'm hearing,” said Greatrix. She’s comfortable following where a story leads, and that led to interviewing her mother. “It ended up being a podcast where I talked to my mom about her experiences and how it's impacted me, and her experience of how her family's experiences also impacted her.”

Greatrix plans to livestream Native Origin Stories on Twitch. Currently Greatrix is busy as program director for the upcoming Dreamspeakers Film Festival scheduled for the end of the month. See https://dreamspeakers.org/.

Greatrix’s goal for Native Origin Stories is to serve as a platform for community-building and inspiration, they said.

creepy teepee
Left top: S.A. Lawrence-Welch. Left bottom: Ivana Yellowback. Together they make up the Creepy Teepee podcast.

Ivana Yellowback and S.A. Lawrence-Welch are the storytelling duo behind the podcast Creepy Teepee. Produced by Cynthia Murdock (Cree) of Eaglevision, Creepy Teepee will share supernatural stories in conversations that explore the spiritual aspects of the stories. Lawrence-Welch is of Plains Cree/Métis heritage, and Yellowback is from Manto Sipi Cree Nation, and a relative to Mathias Colomb Cree Nation.

Yellowback's roots run deep in Indigenous spirituality and tradition. Graduating with honors in social work, Yellowback is involved in her community, working with families and organizations across northern Manitoba. Her journey into podcasting began with a passion for storytelling and a desire to connect with others through shared experiences.

Creepy Teepee explores the supernatural and delves into the mysteries of Indigenous spirituality. Through engaging conversations and personal anecdotes, Creepy Teepee invites listeners to explore the world of ghost stories, paranormal encounters and traditional teachings.

With upcoming guests like children's author Brett Huson and storyteller Isaac Murdoch, Creepy Teepee offers a range of perspectives on the supernatural.

Yellowback and Lawrence-Welch are also considering incorporating a video component to the podcast, providing viewers with a visual glimpse into their discussions.

Creepy Teepee isn't just about sharing spooky stories; it's about reclaiming Indigenous narratives and celebrating cultural heritage.

“Spirit has always been present in my family,” said Yellowback, recalling many conversations she said she was too young for but overheard as a child.

"When you talk about spirit, they will show themselves in some capacity. They're really powerful that way. And just also nice knowing that our loved ones are still around us."

The other 9 selected podcast projects are:

Actors and Ancestors, Joel Montgrand (Cree), British Columbia

Logline: Actors and Ancestors is a film and TV podcast that celebrates Indigenous actors, talks back to industry stereotypes and looks to the future of Indigenous peoples on screen.

Alex au pays de Gaby, Terre Innue Inc., Kim O’Bomsawin (Abenaki), Quebec

Logline: A narrative educational podcast featuring the actors from the movie “Jules au pays d’Asha”. Tailored for eight to 12 year olds, it explores the perspectives of First peoples, their languages and realities, going further than history books and beyond clichés to offer insight for youth in an accessible form.

The Aunties Dandelion, Kahstoserakwathe Paulette Moore, (Kanyen’kehà:ka), Ontario

Logline: Revitalizing our communities through stories of land, language and relationships.​

Enweying Our Sound, Monty McGahey II (Anishnaabe), Ontario

Logline: As an Anishinaabe household of five (including the dog), join us as we share our experiences raising our children speaking to them in Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe language) as Second Language Learners ourselves. Anishinaabemowin is the language of the Anishinaabe people, also known as Ojibwe.

The Future is Indigenous – Matriarch Movement Season 4, Shayla Oulette Stonechild (Cree/Métis), Ontario

Logline: The Future is Indigenous, hosted by Matriarch Movement, is an 11 video podcast series that focuses on themes such as matriarchy, sustainability, Indigenous fashion and Indigenous futurism.

Indigi-Demo-Itis, Gaayangaay Productions Ltd, Kristi Lane Sinclair (Haida / Cree), British Columbia

Logline: The music podcast where Indigenous music artists pull back the curtain on their first demo, examining their career and lessons learned along the way.

Kwu Sneqsilxw, kwu sneqsilxw Collective, Jesse Martin, Levi Bent, Trenton Manossa-Gabriel (Okanagan), British Columbia

Logline: “Kwu Sneqsilxw”: Meaning “we are family.” This podcast explores what it means to be sqilx’w (Okanagan Indigenous) and what the future of nsyilxcen language and culture might look like.

Tales From The Rez Podcast, Tales From The Rez Productions Inc., Colin Lyttle Van Loon (Siksika/Blackfoot), British Columbia

Logline: Uncle Randolph is back with more terribly twisted Tales From The Rez to tell.

Truth Before Reconciliation, Tammy Wolfe (Cree (Ininiw)), Manitoba

Logline: We’re building relationships and teaching truth before reconciliation.

Local Journalism Initiative Reporters are supported by a financial contribution made by the Government of Canada.