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Podcast Episode 5.7: Decolonizing Media on the Canadian Mountain Podcast, Part One


Annie Webb


Jan 15, 2024


Jan 15, 2024


As the Canadian Mountain Podcast (CMP) concludes its final season, the team takes a moment to reflect on their journey towards decolonizing media practices. Part One of this discussion explores the steps taken by the team to decolonize their media practices, with Part Two delving into the challenges and future possibilities.

In this episode, Indigenous CMP Producer Sherry Woods (Niitsitapi/member of the Siksika Nation) from Mount Royal University leads a panel conversation with Senior Producers Meg Wilcox and Kyle Napier (Dene/nêhiyaw Métis/member of Northwest Territory Métis Nation), as well as Julie Patton and Catalina Berguno, both journalism students from Mount Royal University. 

The discussion centers on the CMP team's commitment to decolonization, a theme seldom explored in professional circles. Throughout the podcast series, the team has strived to adapt their practices, aiming to better include Indigenous perspectives and amplify Indigenous voices. While acknowledging that it is not a flawless system, the team recognizes it as a positive step forward.

Listen to the podcast here!

As media-makers involved in Indigenous knowledge mobilization, the podcast team sees a collective responsibility to strengthen relationships with Indigenous Peoples through storytelling and partnerships. Over the years, they have implemented changes, such as expanding the production team, incorporating land acknowledgments, participating in training, and critically examining their practices.

Part One highlights changes in the podcast's approach to traditional journalism. Notable adjustments include sharing the question line with guests before interviews, providing guests with episode drafts for feedback, and incorporating a unique Land Acknowledgement, an uncommon practice in podcasting. The panel also explores the concept of 'land' within the context of a podcast, recognizing its importance to a diverse audience, which may be listening from across the country or internationally. 

The team delves into the significance of creating shared spaces for Indigenous Knowledge Holders and settler researchers. They emphasize the importance of representing pluralism in mountain and ecological research by bridging Indigenous and Western perspectives. Recognizing the historical underrepresentation of Indigenous knowledge in schools and media, the team discusses the misuse of Indigenous peoples' words and the need to uplift this knowledge to its rightful level.

The panel also explores the transformative impact of shared spaces on conversations, processes and meetings. By braiding Indigenous and Western knowledge, the team highlights the collaborative potential in building a more inclusive understanding.

The discussion extends to journalistic practices in podcast production, focusing on the integration of Indigenous knowledges and practices over time. Acknowledging the historical misrepresentation of Indigenous knowledge in media, the team ensures Indigenous Knowledge Holders control the narrative by providing questions and episode drafts in advance. This departure from conventional journalism practices establishes a platform where guests dictate the storytelling process, recognizing the importance of language and representation.

The team shares insights into rebuilding relationships and regaining trust, emphasizing the need for media makers to be accurate and conscious of biases, even in the act of recording research from a specific lens. The complexities of decolonizing media practices are acknowledged as an ongoing journey, marked by continual and reflexive learning.

The episode concludes with a reflection on the intricate nature of decolonizing media practices and the team's commitment to continuous learning. They also acknowledge that there is still more to learn in their pursuit of inclusive and respectful journalism.

Part Two will explore the limitations and challenges faced in decolonizing media, along with envisioning the future landscape of decolonized media. Tune in for an insightful conversation about the evolution of the Canadian Mountain Podcast and its ongoing commitment to inclusive and respectful storytelling.

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