A podcast with Jo-Ann Episkenew and Shelagh Rogers

In this podcast, Shelagh Rogers interviews a number of Saskatchewan writers that offer varying perspectives on prairie life and the prairie landscape. Her last interview is with Jo-Ann Episkenew, regarding her award winning book, Taking Back our Spirits. Episkenew is both an author and a Professor at First Nations University of Canada in Regina and a member of the Regina Riel Metis Council. She talks about her own education experience and about her realization that much of what is taught in school stems from a mistaken belief that all knowledge stems from classical Greece, denying or ignoring the fact that active and vital cultures have thrived all over the planet for thousands of years, with and without Western “knowledge”. In sharing the literature and her studies and her love of reading, she attempts to shed light on the actual history and literature of Aboriginal people with an eye to promoting healing. Ultimately she is hopeful. The indigenous stories are being told and many Canadians are keen to understand the past and present realities of First Nations in Canada. What continues to strike me is how recent all of trauma from colonial policies and residential schools is. Policies continue to smack of discrimination. On another CBC radio show today, it was noted that although Inuit Dancers were invited to perform for the Royal Tour, no Treaty Nations were invited. As Episkenew states, when Prime Minister Harper says that Canada has no Colonial history, he denies the fact that Canadian policies, in effect, continue the colonization process.

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