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Stories of the Land

Indigenous storytelling that connects indigenous stories and knowledge to time and place. Part of the Indian and Cowboy podcast network and hosted by Ryan McMahon, this podcast features a rich array of storytellers and writers, activists and artists and academics.  Each episode demonstrates the importance of this claim in particular:  Without land, there will be no reconciliation.  Season 2, supported by a Canada Council for the Arts Reconciliation Grant, includes recordings from live storytelling events, as well as interviews.

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson explains why stories from the land are vital in the context of discussions of reconciliation: “Land is not mentioned in any of the recommendations, in part because the commission was set up to focus on individual suffering in residential schools. Yet, residential schools were a strategy used by Canada to break the connection between Indigenous peoples and our lands, so the state could access the land for settlement and for natural resources.”  By soliciting and sharing stories from the land, this project is an example of critical indigenous podcasting.  It’s an excellent resource for examining colonialism as an ongoing system that continues to shape institutions and relations, rather than a historical process that is based in the past.

Especially teachable episodes

  James Whetung    James Whetung, Curve Lake First Nation member, harvests and sells wild rice or Manomiin. In this episode, Whetung shares vivid stories about the significance of his reclamation of Manomiin, while laying out the political and existential import of “Canada’s wild rice wars.”  He articulates a vision of reconciliation that is essentially ecological: “I don’t want the land back broken. I want the land back fixed.”

   Hayden King & Natural Law    Hayden King’s reflections on a hunting experience open up complex questions about the relations between the law, treaties and local ecologies. He asks, “What happens when we break our laws & understanding of those laws on the land? What is the penalty we pay as Anishinaabe Peoples when we break these laws – accidentally or otherwise? How do we make peace with ourselves, the land, the animals and the waters when we break the laws & Treaties we’ve made since time immemorial?”