Storykeepers podcast is available on Apple, Spotify and everywhere you find your favourite podcasts. Episodes will be available until December 31, 2023.
S3E6: The FINALE with Waub and Jennifer. Well, it has been quite a ride. Thanks for coming along with us on this podcast adventure. We give space for Waub to talk about Moon of the Crusted Snow, and the sequel.
There is a season for everything, and this was the season for Storykeepers. In this final episode, we talk about some of our favourite guests, memorable conversations, and unforgettable books featured over our 28 episodes. We end where we began, talking about why Indigenous literatures matter. To quote from Daniel Heath Justice’s book (p. 6): “Our stories have been integral to our survival–more than that, they’ve been part of our cultural, political and familial resurgence and our continuing efforts to maintain our rights and responsibilities in these contested lands. They are good medicine. They remind us about who we are and where we’re going, on our own and in relation to those with whom we share this world. They remind us about the relationships that make a good life possible. In short, they matter.”
Keep reading books by Indigenous authors, keep amplifying Indigenous voices. Keep being the story keepers.
MP3. Season 3 Episode 6 FINALE
S3E5: The Sentence by Louise Erdrich. With Guest Host Daniel Heath Justice. What a perfect guest host to discuss a richly detailed, inspiring book. We had a fascinating, wide ranging conversation on the layers of meaning in the word ‘sentence’ , COVID, Black Lives Matter, ‘pretendians’, family, culture, and, ultimately, why Indigenous literature matters. Daniel made some very interesting points, based on his extensive knowledge of books by Indigenous writers. Definitely a book to read, and re-read.
MP3. Season 3 Episode 5 The Sentence
S3E4: Probably Ruby by Lisa Bird-Wilson. With Guest Host Michelle Good. This was an interesting and thought-provoking conversation. It was the first book we’ve discussed that focused on a character navigating the child welfare system, figuring out who she is, where she belongs, and how she makes her own family. Ruby is a strong and funny character. We made connections between this book and Michelle Good’s multi-award winning novel, Five Little Indians. Check it out!
MP3. Season 3 Episode 4 Probably Ruby
S3E3: Special episode about children’s books by Indigenous authors. With Guest Host David A. Robertson. What a privilege to learn from, and listen to the multi award-winning, multi-genre writer, speaker and advocate. We asked him how he chooses topics, writes drafts, and works with illustrators. He talks about why these writers’ perspectives are valuable and that Canadians are interested. He talked about supporting the growing market for children’s books by Indigenous authors, including in his role as Editorial Director for the Tundra Book Group.
MP3. Season 3 Episode 3 Children’s books by Indigenous authors
S3E2: Islands of Decolonial Love by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. With Guest Host Geraldine King. Here we go again, with a discussion about another genre-defying book. The title says this is ‘Stories & Songs’; even that doesn’t adequately describe the poems, text, inner dialogues, conversations, stories and songs in this collection, including an accompanying album of songs. In this episode, we have a wide-ranging discussion about sexy aunties, the use of Anishinaabemowin scattered throughout the stories; the power of being seen and understood in literature, and of course, some trickster humour.
MP3. Season 3 Episode 2 Islands of Decolonial Love
S3E1: Special Episode about 2022 Giller Long List books by Indigenous authors. As a jury member for the 2022 Giller Prize, Waub shares his insights about All the Quiet Places by Brian Thomas Isaac, A Minor Chorus by Billy Ray Belcourt, and Avenue of Champions by Conor Kerr. Common themes of family, identity, disconnection and reconnection permeate these stories. We talk about what makes good writing, and that we often make family wherever we are, but there’s always a place that calls us home.
MP3. Season 3 Episode 1 2022 Giller Longlist books by Indigenous authors
S2E12: Nishgaa by Jordan Abel. With guest host Joshua Whitehead. What a profound discussion about a genre-defying book. We discuss identity, loss, and what it means to be an urban Indigenous person, an intergenerational survivor of residential school, and a person that was disconnected from community. Using notes, artwork, transcripts, social media posts and poetry, Jordan Abel shares a raw and emotional book that wrestles with these heavy topics. Joshua Whitehead articulately reminds us what and why we wrestle with Indigeneity, and how we need to see books as animate, as kin to us as we relate to the stories gifted to us by Indigenous writers.
MP3. Season 2 Episode 12 Nishgaa
S2E11: Special Episode with Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm. Kateri is a writer, academic and publisher. Her publishing house, Kegedonce Press, has been supporting Indigenous authors and books for nearly 30 years. Check out our inspiring conversation with Kateri as she tells us how her grandmother’s and other ancestor’s gifts of storytelling inspired her to create a way for her to ‘stand on their shoulders’ to become a storyteller and writer herself, and the journey to create and maintain one of the few Indigenous publishing houses in Canada.
MP3. Season 2 Episode 11 Special Episode with Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm
S2E10: Special Episode for National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Waub and Jennifer discuss books about residential school, including ones covered in previous episodes plus books they recommend. They are: Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese; Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline; I Lost My Talk by Rita Joe; Five Little Indians by Michelle Good; Burning in this Midnight Dream by Louise Bernice Halfe; They Called Me Number One by Bev Sellars; Calling Down the Sky by Rosanna Deerchild; and Call Me Indian by Fred Sasakamoose.
S2E9: Witness, I Am by Gregory Scofield. With Guest Host Shalan Joudry. We delve into the ways in which this book of poetry is at turns depressing, shocking, disturbing and always evocative. As our guest host says, Gregory Scofield is making space, giving voice to Indigenous women in this collection, as he is indeed a witness. He also playfully pokes at, and alters some origin stories along the way. This book contains a variety of styles and is a welcome addition to Gregory Scofield’s award-winning collections.
S2E8: This Place: 150 Years Retold, an anthology published by Highwater Press. With Guest Host Brandon Mitchell. What a treat to talk to an artist, illustrator and author (and a contributor to this anthology), about this anthology of graphic short stories. Brandon talks about why we can’t just read the words in these graphic stories, but we have to pay attention to how the visuals show the emotions of the stories. He talks about the craft of creating graphic novels and that telling stories about defining moments in history from Indigenous perspectives, is a way to get young people to think about history.
S2E7: Five Little Indians by Michelle Good. With Guest Host Ry Moran. This book gives us an important perspective on the residential school experience; not so much about what happened in the school but the ways in which five characters live with the trauma caused by the abuse they suffered. Ry Moran brings us some very wise and insightful commentary on the book, and about what it really means to seek truth and reconciliation.
S2E6: The Shoe Boy: A Trapline Memoir by Duncan McCue. With Guest Host Lenny Carpenter. This may be a short book but it definitely packs a lot in the pages. At times endearing and emotional, at other times funny and insightful, read the book and listen to fellow James Bay hunter, journalist and writer talk about Cree culture, the importance of hunting and what it means to belong to the land.
S2E5: A Mind Spread Out on the Ground by Alicia Elliott. With Guest Host Courtney Skye. This is a book that all Canadians should read. While we dedicate one episode to it, we could have easily discussed these topics for an entire season: from mental illness, poverty and colonialism, to love, art and science. Listen to Courtney’s insightful commentary on a fellow Haudenosaunee writer and academic. This is the first collection of essays that we’ve discussed on the podcast.
S2E4: Tainna: The Unseen Ones by Norma Dunning. With Guest Host Reneltta Arluk. Listen as we explore some important Inuit cultural traditions and ways including ‘living in the now’, why Inuit are so practical, and the importance of ancestors. This is the first short story collection that we’ve discussed on this podcast.
S2E3: Empire of Wild by Cherie Dimaline. With Guest Host Celiese Lypka. We had a lot to talk about with this book: what is the Rogarou? What is this author saying about land, connectedness, stories, the Church, forgetting, love and belonging? Have a listen and find out the rich insights provided by Celiese as we discuss this short, but jam-packed book.
S2E2: Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing by Tomson Highway. With Guest Host Drew Hayden Taylor. Drew says, ‘humour is the WD40 of healing’, and there’s a lot of healing that needs to take place with the characters in this play. Drew and Jennifer discuss some difficult topics such as intergenational trauma, violence, misogyny and the impacts of colonialism. Listen as we wrestle with these conflicting and difficult topics, with humour of course. And we talk about how this story starts with, and comes around again to the trickster.
S2E1: The Strangers by Katherena Vermette. With Guest Host Jaime Morse. We discuss this sweeping saga of four generations of Metis women in and around Winnipeg. What is passed down with intergenerational trauma? What is lost? How do these women maintain their kinship bonds, and remember their history and tell their stories? It’s a powerful, evocate read that brings out many emotions.
S1E10: Lee Maracle Retrospective. With Guest Hosts Armand Garnet Ruffo and Tanya Talaga. Indigenous peoples everywhere were shocked to learning of Lee Maracle’s death in November, 2021. In this special episode, we tell stories, laugh, and remember Lee Maracle, her powerful voice and how her legacy in words and stories will live on to inspire future generations.
S1E9: The Lesser Blessed by Richard Van Camp. With Guest Host Leela Gilday. A seminal coming-of-age story, set in the Northwest Territories. Join us as we discuss the importance of listening to northern voices, loss, memory, suffering, and those funny, poignant, awkward and touching teenage moments.
S1E8: Seven Fallen Feathers by Tanya Talaga. With Guest Host Willow Fiddler. This book is important reading if you want to understand the impacts of colonial policies that culminated in the deaths of seven young people in Thunder Bay. We talk about anti-Indigenous racism, the realities of life for young people in northwestern Ontario, and the search for justice to ensure there will be no more ‘fallen feathers’.
S1E7: Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead. With Guest Host Rosanna Deerchild. Listen as we talk about the importance of the Indigiqueer voice, how we make a home wherever we are, the importance of stories, and the graphic sexual elements of the book that, as our guest host said, ‘made this auntie blush.’
S1E6: Burning in this Midnight Dream by Louise Bernice Halfe. With Guest Host Janet Rogers. We talk about the beauty and power of poetry and how the author, as the Parliamentary Poet Laureate, is exposing the truths and amplifying the voices of Indigenous peoples and experiences, especially about residential schools.
S1E5: Split Tooth by Tanya Tagaq. With Guest Host Alethea Arnequq-Baril. This truly genre-defying book inspired discussions around Inuit storytelling, colonialism, the author’s immense talents and the importance of an Inuit voice in literature.
S1E4: Medicine Walk by Richard Wagamese. With Guest Host Duncan McCue. The late author’s novel is a beautifully written story with many important themes and threads. Listen as we talk about connections to the land, culture, the power of stories, and father/son dynamics.
S1E3: Return of the Trickster by Eden Robinson. With Guest Host Cherie Dimaline. Listen as we discuss this much-anticipated third book in the Trickster Trilogy. We talk about the importance of laughter, the strength of kinship bonds, Jared as the anti-hero trickster and the awesome imagination of Eden Robinson.
S1E2: Halfbreed by Maria Campbell. With Guest Host Gregory Scofield. We talk about this seminal autiobiography/memoir, widely acknowledged as one of the earliest books in the Indigenous literature canon in Canada. For many readers, it was the first introduction to a personal account of life as a Métis in western Canada. We discuss how the book was recently re-released to include a previously deleted sexual assault scene and we delve into how this story impacted us.
S1E1: Why Indigenous Literatures Matter by Daniel Heath Justice. Welcome to the Storykeepers podcast with Waubgeshig Rice and Jennifer David. We talk about what literature means to us, why we wanted to launch this podcast and, of course, why Indigenous literatures matter.
. . .
Storykeepers podcast is available on Apple, Spotify and everywhere you find your favourite podcasts.