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MEDIA INDIGENA : Indigenous current affairs

Weekly current affairs roundtable focusing on Indigenous issues and events. Hosted by Rick Harp.
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MEDIA INDIGENA : Indigenous current affairs
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Apr 13, 2021

It was meant as a gesture in support of Indigenous women. A one of a kind design by an Indigenous artist known for her bold, provocative imagery. But when it comes to her latest work, it’s not what her art shows that’s sparked strife so much as where it’s shown—wrapped around a cold can of beer. Cue the beer can backlash, with some slamming the artist for supposedly glorifying or at least trivializing a substance many blame for violence against and among Indigenous people. This week, the first half of an extended conversation with Chippewa/Potawatomi artist Chief Lady Bird to learn more about the origins of her collaboration with the brewery, the outrage it tapped into, and why this topic can be so touchy to talk about—for us included.

Also joining host/producer Rick Harp: MI regulars Kim TallBear, associate professor in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience & Environment, and Candis Callison, Associate Professor in the Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies and the Graduate School of Journalism at UBC.

// CREDITS: Our theme is ‘nesting’ by birocratic.

Apr 1, 2021

Canine colonial. Is it apt to draw parallels between the worst ills of mainstream child welfare systems and those of animal welfare? It’s the potentially provocative thesis of the Vancouver Humane Society, a thesis they soon hope to put into practice.

Joining host/producer Rick Harp for a decolonial discussion on dogs on and off the rez are MI regulars Ken Williams, assistant professor with the University of Alberta’s department of drama, and Kim TallBear, associate professor in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience & Environment.

// CREDITS: Episode edited by Stephanie Wood. Our theme is 'nesting' by birocratic.

Mar 31, 2021

They’re one of Canada’s oldest political parties. Heck, they gave the country its first ever prime minister back in 1867. Today, the Conservative Party of Canada hopes to form the next federal government. They may get their chance: rumours of a summer election abound.

Making the party’s recent policy convention—and the associated keynote speech of leader Erin O’Toole—possible windows into what another Conservative government might hold in store for Indigenous interests. Joining host/producer Rick Harp to parse the party's policies and pronouncements are Brock Pitawanakwat, Associate Professor of Indigenous Studies at York University, and Candis Callison, Associate Professor in the Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies and the Graduate School of Journalism at UBC.

CREDITS: “Disco High” by UltraCat (CC BY 3.0)

Mar 21, 2021

A crapload of controversy. Did an Indigenous member of the Manitoba Legislature cross the line when she claimed members of the governing Conservative party "just don't give a crap about Indigenous women and girls in this province"? The Speaker sure thought so: ejecting the member for refusing to apologize or withdraw her so-called indecorous language. Meanwhile, not so long ago, an Indigenous MP in New Zealand was also ejected from that Parliament for not wearing a tie, or, as he put it, “a colonial noose.” On this episode, our roundtable unpacks unparliamentary conduct: is it just the usual tempest in a teapot of petty politics, or a thinly-disguised dig at unruly, ill-mannered savages who refuse to behave?

Joining host/producer Rick Harp are MI regulars Kim TallBear, associate professor in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience & Environment, and Candis Callison, Associate Professor in the Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies and the Graduate School of Journalism at UBC.

// CREDITS: Our theme is 'nesting' by birocratic. SFX: 'boo 01' by tim.khan; 'Quiz Show Buzzer 2' by JapanYoshiTheGamer

Mar 13, 2021

With COVID-19 immunization programs now underway in Canada and beyond, the basic questions of who, when and where have leapt to the fore. Will the most vulnerable be the most vaccinated in time? Some, like the Métis of Manitoba, say they’ve been left exposed, prompting their efforts to try and cut out the provincial middle man by going straight to the manufacturers. A situation that arguably raises questions about just how much control or capacity Indigenous governments actually have when it comes to safeguarding the health of their own peoples.

Back at the roundtable with host/producer Rick Harp are Ken Williams, assistant professor with the University of Alberta’s department of drama, and Brock Pitawanakwat, Associate Professor of Indigenous Studies at York University.

// CREDITS: This episode was edited by Stephanie Wood. Our theme is 'nesting' by birocratic.

Feb 28, 2021

This week, high hopes for Deb Haaland—the congresswoman from New Mexico and citizen of the Laguna Pueblo who could make history as the first Indigenous person to ever serve as Secretary of the Interior for the United States. First things first, though: she still needs to be confirmed by the U-S Senate. Although committee hearings have wrapped up, a vote has yet to be held.

But amidst all the excitement over her potential appointment, some have struck a more cautious tone about what it may—or may not—make possible. That includes Nick Martin, a staff writer at The New Republic and author of the recent piece, “Deb Haaland’s Ascent and the Complicated Legacy of Native Representation.”

In this episode, Martin joins host/producer Rick Harp and roundtable regular Candis Callison to discuss why he thinks even “[some]one as capable as Haaland [confronts] an unfortunate truth… [that] whenever Native people have occupied positions of great power within [the] colonial machine [they’ve either left] embittered or transition[ed] themselves into an active participant in the grand American tradition of treaty-breaking and excuse-making.”

// CREDITS: This episode was edited by Stephanie Wood. Our theme is 'nesting' by birocratic.

Feb 27, 2021

Punishment for Pretendians: the back half of our extended look at colonial cosplay. And if part one was all about the problem, this part’s all about solutions. Just what is to be done about all these faux First Nations actors, authors and academics? What mechanisms might we use, and by whose authority? Does it make sense to target all the players, or would it be better to re-write the rules of the game?

Back with host/producer Rick Harp to assess what's been put forth as ways to sift through the grift are Candis Callison, Associate Professor in the Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies and the Graduate School of Journalism at UBC, and Kim TallBear, associate professor in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta as well as Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience & Environment.

// CREDITS: This episode edited by Stephanie Wood. Music includes: “Summer Tour Bird Windows” by Strategy (CC BY 3.0); 'nesting' by birocratic.

Feb 24, 2021

With issues of identity reaching a fever pitch of late, we thought we’d take its temperature. From Michelle Latimer’s contested claims to Indigeneity, to an ever-growing, quasi-underground list of Alleged Pretendians, not to mention a Twitter tempest over light-skin privilege, we’ll break down what’s at play, what’s at stake and—in part two—what might be ways out of this messy business.

Joining host/producer Rick Harp at the roundtable are Kim TallBear, associate professor in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience & Environment, as well as Candis Callison, Associate Professor in the Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies and the Graduate School of Journalism at UBC.

// CREDITS: This episode edited by Stephanie Wood. Our theme is 'nesting' by birocratic.

Feb 21, 2021

Medically-assisted death. It’s a controversial subject to say the least, precisely why any effort to legislate it has proven just as contentious. So it is in Canada, where laws have been challenged and critiqued, both in and out of court, as either too broad, too narrow or even both, depending on who’s doing the talking—and whom they’re talking about. And with the federal government poised to re-codify medical assistance in dying (MAID), there are those concerned the law’s expansion of access to it will do more harm than good, and that the gap between intent and outcome will see those already put at risk placed into even greater peril. One such critic is Andray Domise (aka Q), who in a recent Globe and Mail editorial argued that proposed changes to the law risk the reinscription of the Canadian colonial logic of eugenics. And Q is our special guest this episode, joining host/producer Rick Harp and roundtable regular Ken Williams, assistant professor with the University of Alberta’s department of drama.

// CREDITS: Our theme is 'nesting' by birocratic.

Jan 31, 2021

A new brief from the Yellowhead Institute has shone a light on yet another Canadian government attack on the spirit if not the letter of a human rights order demanding equity for First Nations kids. Issued by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, the order supports the right of First Nations children to access the same essential public services as any other kid in Canada, free of delays due to disputes over who should pay for it. It's known as Jordan's Principle, named for the late Jordan River Anderson, whose all-too-short 5 years of life was marred by such jurisdictional disputes.

Although everyone says they agree with the principle, their actions tell a different story, a new chapter of which is well documented in the recent Yellowhead brief, "Happy New Year To Everyone But Non-Status Kids: Jordan’s Principle & Canada’s Persistent Discrimination." In this episode, we sit down with Yellowhead Associate Fellow Damien Lee to learn more about what's driving federal moves to restrict the principle to Status Indian kids only—in other words, to only those kids Canada deems 'legitimately' Indian, regardless of who First Nations themselves claim as citizens.

// CREDITS: This episode was edited by Stephanie Wood. Our theme is 'nesting' by birocratic.

Jan 27, 2021

Repping the Queen. With Canada’s last Governor-General stepping down due to scandal, there are those who say her replacement ought to be a First Nations person. And while the idea seems innocuous on its face—what with the bulk of their day-to-day duties confined to ribbon-cutting and rubber-stamping—there is one potential complication: the fact the role literally represents a foreign monarch whose assertion of dominion over Indigenous territories is still kind of controversial.

Joining host/producer Rick Harp are roundtable regulars Brock Pitawanakwat, Associate Professor of Indigenous Studies at York University, and Ken Williams, assistant professor with the University of Alberta’s department of drama.

// CREDITS: Our theme is 'nesting' by birocratic.

Jan 22, 2021

This week, the back half of our two-part foray into fish farms. Part one discussed the myriad problems with such aquaculture; this time around, we look at proposed solutions. Might they swap one set of issues for another, or represent a genuine step toward a truly sustainable future for species so central to coastal First Nations?

Back with host/producer Rick Harp are Kim TallBear, associate professor in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience & Environment, as well as Candis Callison, Associate Professor in the Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies and the Graduate School of Journalism at UBC.

// CREDITS: Our theme is 'nesting' by birocratic; additional music by Andy. G. Cohen ('In Awareness') appears under a CC BY 4.0 license.

Jan 19, 2021

Fish farm phase-out. And with the end of aquaculture as we know it in sight on British Columbia’s central coast, there is hope it could help spark a revival in the region’s once rich wild salmon population. Or, at the very least, halt the decline of species said to be at the foundation of numerous Indigenous cultures.

But not everyone’s glad to see the farms fade away. In fact, there are those First Nations with a stake in the industry. Wading into these troubled waters with host/producer Rick Harp this episode are Kim TallBear, associate professor in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta, and Candis Callison, associate professor in the Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies and the Graduate School of Journalism at UBC.

// CREDITS: This episode was edited by Stephanie Wood. Our theme is 'nesting' by birocratic.

Dec 26, 2020

A second sit-down with Suzuki. In the first half of our discussion with Dr. David Suzuki, we learned how COVID inspired a return to his spoken word roots and why it was important to include Indigenous knowledge and voices in his new podcast. This time around, we explore whether the coronavirus is a kind of dry run for how we might—or might not—respond better to climate change going forward.

Joining host/producer Rick Harp once more are Candis Callison, Associate Professor in the Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies and the Graduate School of Journalism at UBC, as well as Kim TallBear, associate professor in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta.

// CREDITS: Our opening/closing theme is 'nesting' by birocratic; '#1 Wish' by Jahzzar. SFX: 'FireBurning' by pcaeldries.

Dec 24, 2020

Scientist, broadcaster, activist, author, grandfather: David Suzuki has worn many hats over his eight-plus decades on the planet. A planet he continues to be both amazed by and concerned for as it faces catastrophic climate change. A trajectory made all the more challenging amidst a global pandemic. But it's precisely that pandemic that indirectly inspired Suzuki to do something he's never done before: start a podcast.

It's a series featuring plenty of Indigenous voices—from Autumn Peltier to Jeannette Armstrong to Winona LaDuke—just one of many reasons we're honoured to welcome David as our special guest for this double-episode year-end discussion. In part one, David sits with host/producer Rick Harp as well as roundtable regulars Kim TallBear, associate professor in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta, and Candis Callison, associate professor in the Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies and the Graduate School of Journalism at UBC.

// CREDITS: Our theme is 'nesting' by birocratic. SFX: "Campfire...' by YleArkisto

Dec 23, 2020

Imagine what it would be like to live in a country where roughly half the population is Indigenous, said to be the highest such proportion in all of South America. Imagine too that, for over a decade, your president was himself Indigenous. Well, in Bolivia, that’s been the reality—and a fascinating one at that. A reality we delve into further with a special guest who’s written extensively about the ways in which Indigenous-led social movements have dramatically and fundamentally altered the mainstream political landscape.

Joining host/producer Rick Harp this week are roundtable regular Brock Pitawanakwat, Associate Professor of Indigenous Studies at York University, and Carwil Bjork-James, author of The Sovereign Street: Making Revolution in Urban Bolivia.

// CREDITS: This episode was edited by Stephanie Wood. Our theme music is 'nesting' by birocratic.

Dec 9, 2020

A western Canadian premier denounced by critics for bungling the province’s COVID response has now come under fire for questionable comments about immunizing Indians. We’re talking Manitoba, where Brian Pallister’s gone on-record as saying that federal moves to ensure First Nations get vaccines would somehow leave less for everybody else...?

Trust us: that's only mildly paraphrased. Joining host/producer Rick Harp to review the real rhetoric used by the premier are Ken Williams, assistant professor with the University of Alberta’s department of drama, and Brock Pitawanakwat, Associate Professor of Indigenous Studies at York University.

// CREDITS: Our theme is 'nesting' by birocratic.

Nov 30, 2020

A Heiltsuk grandfather in British Columbia has recently launched a pair of human rights complaints almost a year after he and his young granddaughter were forced to stand outside a downtown Vancouver bank handcuffed for upwards of an hour. They’d been detained there by police after a bank manager suspected their Indian Status Cards were fake and called 911 to report a potential fraud-in-progress. Now a transcript of that call has come to light, and wouldn’t you know it, someone from Indian Affairs Canada may have actually contributed to this mess. Back at the roundtable with host/producer Rick Harp are Associate Professor of Indigenous Studies at York University Brock Pitawanakwat, and assistant professor with the University of Alberta’s department of drama, Ken Williams.

// CREDITS: This episode was edited by Stephanie Wood. SFX: duck quack by dobroide; whistle by InspectorJ. MUSIC: 'nesting' by birocratic (podcast theme); 'Happy Feet,' by Twisterium.

Nov 24, 2020

Decades of disruption and destruction later, massive portions of northern Manitoba have been effectively sacrificed for hydro mega-projects, to the seemingly exclusive and enduring benefit of urban interests to the south. Which makes it all the more urgent for a northern Indigenous coalition working to prevent such a fate for what’s said to be one of the last great wild places on Earth, the Seal River watershed. A pristine 50,000 square kilometre expanse of tundra, wetlands and forests, the area’s home not only to caribou and polar bears, birds and belugas, but to the people of the Sayisi Dene First Nation.

In this episode, host/producer Rick Harp sits with Stephanie Wood—Cultural Editor with The Narwhal—to discuss her latest piece, "The last free river of Manitoba," her look at how the Sayisi Dene and the rest of this unique coalition hope to protect the watershed from industrial development forever.

// CREDITS: Episode edited by Stephanie Wood. Our theme is 'nesting' by birocratic.

Nov 3, 2020

Voting day is just hours away in the USA, a day featuring a good number of Indigenous candidates at various levels: 111 in all, according to Indian Country Today. But even as some do their best to influence the outcome, others have serious questions about their effect, the kind of questions we got deep into over part one of our discussion. Here in part two, we talk about organizing vs. mobilizing, what some call ‘Voteps’ (and their possible Indigenous equivalents), how US and Canada Indigenous politics compare, economic democracy and more—including tentative efforts at predictions about what this week may bring.

Back at the table with host/producer Rick Harp are recovering Democrat Kim TallBear, associate professor in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta, as well as special guest Trevor Beaulieu of the US-based podcast, “Champagne Sharks.”

// CREDITS: This episode was edited by Stephanie Wood. Our theme is 'nesting' by birocratic.

Nov 2, 2020

Election and Empire: with U.S. voting day just around the corner, what will November 3rd bring? Will it be a worsening of the Republican shit-show that is the Trump presidency or will it be a slide over to that other party? You know the one, the party that can’t even commit to a fracking ban during a climate crisis, much less health care for all its citizens in the midst of a pandemic? And yet, though the outcome may not be immediately clear come election night, what arguably won’t change is where non-Settler interests fit into the big picture of American politics. Be they Black, Indigenous, or people of colour, most such voters are not kidding themselves about whether settler colonialism or white supremacy are on the ballot. So what does that mean then for any marginalized population’s participation in the electoral process? How far does it go, and could or should these energies be more productively invested elsewhere?

Joining host/producer Rick Harp for the first half of this special, extended look at American politics are Kim TallBear, associate professor in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta, as well as lawyer and podcaster Trevor Beaulieu, the driving force behind “Champagne Sharks,” a US-based current events program on race, politics, and pop culture, as seen through the lenses of humour and psychology.

// CREDITS: This episode was co-edited by Stephanie Wood and Rick Harp. Our theme is 'nesting' by birocratic.

Oct 29, 2020

Back to the border: part two of our extended look at a court case that should be getting more attention, but continues to fly under the radar of major Canadian media. At issue: the cross-border hunting rights of the Sinixt people, a people whose territory long pre-dates Canada, the U.S. and the man-made, imposed divide between them. A case in which Canada’s core argument rests on its claim that the Sinixt people are 'extinct.' But the Sinixt say reports of their demise are greatly exaggerated.

Back at the roundtable with host/producer Rick Harp are Kim TallBear, associate professor in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta, and Candis Callison, Associate Professor in the Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies and the Graduate School of Journalism at UBC.

// CREDITS: This episode was edited by Stephanie Wood and Rick Harp. SFX: rattle by sandyrb; hawk cry by reidedo. Our theme is 'nesting' by birocratic.

Oct 24, 2020

Beyond borders: It’s the shot that continues to be heard across time and states. And it was roughly 10 years ago that an un-licensed Sinixt hunter named Rick Desautel took down an elk in what’s now called British Columbia, thus landing himself in provincial court. Thing is, he lives in what’s now called Washington state, south of a dividing line that does precisely that to ancestral Sinixt territory. In this episode—the first of a two-part discussion on this notable case (one seemingly under-covered in Canada)—host/producer Rick Harp is joined by Kim TallBear, associate professor in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta as well as Candis Callison, Associate Professor in the Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies and the Graduate School of Journalism at UBC, as our show re-visits a fight for rights which precede the imposed border between the US and Canada.

// CREDITS: This episode was edited by Stephanie Wood and Rick Harp. Our theme is 'nesting' by birocratic.

Oct 16, 2020

It’s a gut-wrenching, even agonizing video. As a distraught, bed-ridden Joyce Echaquan pleads for help, a nearby nurse and an orderly at a Quebec hospital do not seem particularly concerned with her condition.

"You're stupid as hell," one can be heard saying in French: the other tells the mother of seven she’s made bad choices in life, asking what her children would think of her behaviour. Those comments—streamed live to Facebook by Echaquan herself—have sparked a firestorm of reaction. But the sad truth is, it’s only the latest example of a Canadian health care system that fundamentally, and fatally, fails Indigenous people. And yet, despite all evidence, there persists a stubborn refusal to see racism as a systemic, social determinant of Indigenous ill-health.

Joining host/producer Rick Harp this week to share their thoughts on this horrific incident and the reaction in its wake are Brock Pitawanakwat, York University Associate Professor of Indigenous Studies, and Candis Callison, Associate Professor in the Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies and the Graduate School of Journalism at UBC.

// CREDITS: This episode was edited by Stephanie Wood. Our theme is 'nesting' by birocratic.

Oct 9, 2020

New sounds of the city. One of Canada’s largest centres—amiskwaciy-wâskahikan (aka Edmonton)—could be on the verge of Indigenizing the nomenclature of its political sub-divisions. Drawing on languages such as Blackfoot and Cree, the suite of newly-proposed names for Edmonton's 12 wards were recently voted on by city council, with a two-thirds majority favouring the switch. But there’s still a ways to go before it’s official, not to mention those critics who’d like these new names nullified.

At the roundtable this week with host/producer Rick Harp—who himself proudly called Alberta's capital city home for almost two years while at CBC—two Edmontonians extraordinaire: Ken Williams, assistant professor with the University of Alberta’s department of drama, and Kim TallBear, associate professor in the U of A’s Faculty of Native Studies.

// CREDITS: This episode was edited by Stephanie Wood and Rick Harp. SFX: Rimshot by Simon_Lacelle. Our theme is 'nesting' by birocratic.

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