Decolonizing audio production poses challenges, a journey the Canadian Mountain Podcast (CMP) team has progressively undertaken over its five seasons. In the previous episode the team discussed adaptations to their media practices, including sharing the question line with guests before interviews and sending episode drafts for feedback, thereby empowering guests with narrative control. Additionally, they explored the unique development of a Land Acknowledgment, a practice uncommon in podcasting. If you missed Part One, be sure to check it out!
Part Two of this series delves deeper into the limitations and challenges of decolonizing media, outlining the CMP team's commitment to continuing this practice into the future. Focused on their journey over the last five years, they discuss the ongoing work of decolonizing their podcast. As journalists and media creators engaged in Indigenous knowledge mobilization, their goal is to enhance relationships with Indigenous Peoples through storytelling and partnerships.
Listen to the podcast here!
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. Together, they explore the limitations and challenges of decolonizing media and how we plan to sustain this effort.
The team emphasizes the importance of journalists conducting thorough research, ensuring correct pronunciations of Indigenous words, and avoiding placing the burden on guests to educate them. They recognize the challenges of working on different timelines, with Indigenous communities operating on their own schedules distinct from "Western time." Living in two worlds, balancing Western and Indigenous perspectives, poses a unique challenge for the team.
Kyle Napier challenges the assumption that different knowledge systems are equally weighted, highlighting the settler-colonial roots of podcasting and journalism. Decolonizing their mindset is crucial, even for Indigenous individuals who may have been hesitant to share their ancestors' work. The team acknowledges the inherent biases in academia and journalism, where Western perspectives often take precedence over Indigenous research and media, stressing the need to equalize the value of both.
Meg Wilcox discusses the concept of braiding Indigenous and Western knowledges, considering the impact of colonization over the past 400 years. While acknowledging rapid progress in the last decade, the team recognizes that reconciliation cannot happen overnight, and perhaps 400 years of work is needed to address the impact of over 400 years of colonization.
The team conveys another limitation regarding technical challenges for guests, particularly those in remote areas with limited internet access. The digital divide exacerbates disparities, hindering those who would benefit the most from digital services. Additionally, they face limitations in providing audience access to finished podcast episodes, with some remote communities lacking internet entirely. Future endeavors are constrained by guest and student producer availability, geographical distances, and financial constraints preventing field trips.
The podcast team also highlights the idea of granting copyright of an episode to the guest rather than the media organization, acknowledging episodes are primarily built on guests' knowledge. While the CMP team currently holds control, there's recognition that Indigenous knowledge holders and guests should have ownership of their intellectual property. They discuss the idea of rematriation of content, emphasizing the return of high-fidelity audio files to all guests.
Lessons learned include the importance of asking questions, humility, practical and technical skills, and openness to learning. Recognizing one's limitations and taking time for reflection contribute to ongoing improvements in their work. The team acknowledges that reconciliation is an ongoing process, with continuous learning necessary for progress.
Research itself is viewed through a decolonial lens, recognizing the challenges faced by Indigenous community researchers fitting into Western research paradigms, including funding applications and reporting requirements. The podcast team remains committed to amplifying Indigenous voices, navigating challenges, and contributing to the ongoing process of decolonization.