5 Indigenous Podcasts to Listen to for National Truth & Reconciliation Day
Hear from strong Indigenous voices.
1. Elder Eddie Gardner
Listen to your elders. It is a value that is very strong within Indigenous culture, and something that seems to be missing from western culture. Many individuals my age act like “well if they don’t know how to operate an iPhone then what do I have to learn from them” - it turns out a lot.
When we are talking about anxiety, depression, addictions, and a general feeling of emptiness we should look to our elders for sage advice? Many seniors endured the Great Depression, World War II, The Soviet Union, and other milestones in our history. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote about what gave people within the Gulag the will to persevere, despite the hell they endured. There is a lot to learn from those individuals.
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Within Indigenous culture, many elders endured racism, Indian Residential School, the 60s scoop and other tragic events. Life has never been easy. Individuals like Eddie Gardner provide insights on how to live a meaningful life, despite the pain and unfairness of life. You can hear from Eddie Gardner on YouTube, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts.
2. Carrielynn Victor
Carrielynn Victor is a jack of all trades. She is an artist, plant harvester, author, storyteller, mother, conservationist, fisher and medicines practitioner within S'ólh Téméxw (the Fraser Valley) and she has not only an incredible story, but an insightful mindset.
Over the past few years she has been creating beautiful Indigenous murals throughout British Columbia. She is sharing the deep symbolism that exists within First Nations culture. In my view, art does two important things. First, it can cross cultures. No matter your background, age, life experiences, or the language you speak - you can see the beauty in a work of art. It can bring us together. Second, art provides insights into what the artist values, and by extension you can see what the culture they are from values. In Carrielynn’s case it is evident that she values nature. We dive into all these topics, and her passion in our conversation! You can hear from Carrielynn Victor on YouTube, Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
3. John Borrows
Just recently I sat down with John Borrows. He is a professor and one of the leading authority on Indigenous law. I believe John embodies the best of the Indigenous traditions. You can hear it in his voice, there is a sense of genuine calm and peace that he has found - that many of us long for.
So often we are in a rush to go here, get to this meeting, and go through a drive thru to get some fast food to continue in our rat race. That is not the energy I got from John. In fact, he talked about how he was thinking the night before about whether silence could be a language of its own. I don’t know about you - but when there is silence at a gather, Yeesh am I uncomfortable. My partner Rebekah often points out how I struggle to let the silence stand. I would say I’m a self declared expert at keeping conversations going. Why? I’m not really sure, it just makes me feel uncomfortable.
John and I talk about how indigenous law and culture can enrich our current legal system. We talk about different perspectives within Indigenous communities. The Queen’s passing is a good example. Some First Nations people in BC (on social media) didn’t seem very phased. In contrast, John Borrows said his community actually made the Queen kin, and they mourned her passing. These issues, like many, are complicated. John is great at acknowledging and embracing not only the complexity but the nuance.
4. Sonny (Naxaxalhts’i) McHalsie
There are some people who are so knowledgeable that you need to create the space for them to speak long-form, with no interruptions, just to get a glimpse into their mind. Sonny McHalsie is one of those individuals. At first glance, he is just a regular person. Once you ask him a question, you see that some people have far deeper wells of knowledge than others. That is okay, we all have our talents - Sonny’s is sharing Indigenous culture through storytelling.
Listen to our conversation for 5 minutes and you’ll see what I mean. He has a knowledge base that is unparalleled. I could listen to him for hours, and I did. We spoke for over 3 hours, and the time just flew by! My conversation with Sonny is one of the most successful interviews. It has been listened to over 1000 times. There is a reason for that, he radiates positive energy and vast amounts of knowledge. Even his story as to why he does the work he does - is inspirational - which he does talk about in our interview. You can listen to this episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and YouTube.
5. Shayla Raine
Shayla Raine turned her wounds into wisdom and is sharing her Indigenous teachings through her book The Way Creator Sees You and through a recent documentary called Decolonizing Wellness. She is incredibly inspirational. She overcame a lot of adversity, and when she did she decided to try to motivate others to reach their full potential as well! Shayla chose to self publish her book, and has travelled to speak to audiences about the story.
My partner Rebekah and I drove all the way up into the interior to sit down with her, along a beautiful waterway in her area. We sat in the beautiful outdoors and discussed the racism she faced as a child, having teachers doubt her, the importance of supportive loved ones, and the journey of writing her book. You can listen to our conversation on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and YouTube.