The Canadian Mountain Network (CMN) is thrilled to launch a third season of the Canadian Mountain Podcast in partnership with the Journalism Program at Mount Royal University in Calgary. Meg Wilcox, Assistant Professor in the School of Communications Studies, serves as Senior Producer with a rotating cohort of undergraduate students from Mount Royal University, who learn about podcasting and mountain systems, while hosting and producing episodes for the first time. New students joining the Canadian Mountain Podcast for Season 3 include Cree anthropology student Sarah Buffalo, and third-year journalism students Gabrielle Pyska, Eric Tanner and Ethan Ward (see their bios here).
Gabrielle Pyska hosts the first episode of Season 3 entitled, “Studying Mountain Systems with the Canadian Mountain Network”, where she explores CMN’s work and vision, as well as mountain systems in Canada and why they are so unique. Mountains are more than ski hills and breathtaking views. They are special and sacred to a diversity of peoples and make up an array of different ecological systems connecting the land, animals and people who live there.
Norma Kassi and Dr. Murray Humphries, CMN Co-Research Directors
Pyska interviews CMN co-Research Directors Norma Kassi and Dr. Murray Humphries, who provide their perspectives about what mountain systems mean to them and why studying them is vital. Norma Kassi, citizen of the Vuntut Gwich’in First Nation (People of the Lakes), is based in the Yukon and helped lead CMN’s design and development. Kassi also serves as a faculty member at McGill University and Senior Advisor for the Indigenous Leadership Initiative that advocates for the Indigenous Guardians programs across Canada. Dr. Murray Humphies is an Associate Professor of Wildlife Biology at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. He is also Academic Director at the Center for Indigenous People’s Nutrition and Environment at McGill.
Both Kassi and Humphries highlight that more and more people are becoming familiar with CMN’s work, which supports research that is dedicated to advancing our understanding of Canada’s mountain systems. However, more awareness is needed about CMN’s holistic approach to applied research based on Indigenous and Western ways of knowing.
CMN works with diverse knowledge holders and invests in multiple ways of knowing to advance our understanding about mountain systems and apply that knowledge for a better future for mountain people and places. CMN is especially focused on building partnerships between the academic and science community along with Indigenous peoples, partner organizations and government supporters, who are all committed to working together to advance knowledge that is inclusive.
Dr. Humphries emphasizes that CMN is also more than just a research network, it is also a training network focused on relationships and trust, and application of knowledge to local priorities. Due to a difficult past, hesitancy about research and trust remains in Indigenous communities. CMN hopes to help heal this rift, contribute to reconciliation, and encourage people to see that we can achieve Indigenous-led research that is relevant, respectful and generates tangible outcomes that can assist communities in growing and moving forward.