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Indigenous knowledge-keepers share stories as part of Island podcast project

Central Island’s Indigenous literacy program coordinators launch Red Feather Podcast
Red Feather Podcast hosts Janelle Minoza, left, and Aimee Chalifoux get set up to record from their office at Literacy Central Vancouver Island. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)

The pandemic has limited opportunities for storytelling and knowledge-sharing, but a new podcast is doing its part to preserve and share those stories and that knowledge.

Literacy Central Vancouver Island’s Indigenous literacy program has started the Red Feather Podcast, a project intended to connect speakers and listeners with themes of Indigenous literacy and wellness.

Indigenous literacy program coordinator Aimee Chalifoux and Indigenous literacy program assistant Janelle Minoza created the podcast after identifying gaps in connections with Indigenous people and noting the increasing popularity of podcasts.

Chalifoux told the News Bulletin she’s excited about the conversations being recorded. She and Minoza have been speaking with Indigenous “knowledge-keepers” – community members entrusted with passing down traditional stories and teachings – on a range of lifestyle and cultural topics.

“Through COVID we’ve lost our ceremonies,” says Chalifoux in a press release from Literacy CVI. “We can’t go to our lodges, we can’t go to our sweats … there are so many things that we haven’t been able to connect with that are vital to our health and our wellness. So this was sort of our way of being able to bridge that gap, by connecting to knowledge keepers so they can pass that on to us.”

Chalifoux is of Cree and Saulteaux Métis descent and Minoza is of Dene First Nation and Métis descent. The podcast hosts intend to have conversations with Indigenous learners who receive support through Literacy CVI and give them a chance to talk about their “unique journeys and life experiences,” the release noted.

“We’re just really excited to meet with other people who we connect with,” Minoza said. “It’s my hope that it opens more doors for the learners to share their stories.”

The podcast project is receiving funding from the First Nations Health Authority. Samantha Letourneau, executive director of Literacy Central Vancouver Island, said in the release that the agency makes an effort to offer programming relevant to the community.

“This podcast is an example of this…” she said. “[It] provides opportunities for Indigenous peoples to change the dominant narrative. Through self-representations that challenge the stereotypical (mis)representations frequently presented in mainstream society, the storytellers in this podcast are presenting authentic reflections and knowledge on culture, beliefs, wellness and community – all important elements in community-based literacy.”

To access the Red Feather Podcast on Spotify, click here.

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About the Author: Greg Sakaki

I have been in the community newspaper business for two decades, all of those years with Black Press Media.
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