Listening and Reading – Thunder Bay

Change written in neon lights

Last week after a two year investigation, the Office of the Independent Police Review Director released its review on the relationship between Indigenous people and the Thunder Bay Police Service (TBPS). The full 208 page report, “Broken Truth: Indigenous People and the Thunder Bay Policy Service,” is worth taking the time to read and reflect on.  At minimum I encourage everyone to read the executive summary.  The report sheds light on historical contexts in the land we currently call Canada and provides 44 recommendations for the TBPS.

Senator Murray Sinclair also recently released his final report on the Thunder Bay Police Services Board, at his recommendation the Ontario Civilian Police Commission has disbanded the policy services board for at least one year. This is an equally important report that I encourage people to engage with.

If reading reports isn’t for you, I recommend listening to Ryan McMahon’s Thunder Bay podcast. This five episode podcast talks about the history and current reality of Indigenous life in Thunder Bay.  As a warning, one of the episodes deals with underage sex trafficking and folks might find the entire series hard to listen to.  That being said, McMahon’s work is really important in terms of light it sheds on local politics, lived experiences, and centering Indigenous realities.

Photo credit: Ross Findon on Unsplash

Listening – Missing & Murdered: Finding Cleo

Samsung phone with white headphone, Google Play image on screen

Earlier in March season two of the CBC Missing & Murdered podcast launched.  Written and hosted by journalist Connie Walker, Missing & Murdered is an investigative style podcast focused on the lives of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Season one, which aired in 2016, focused on the life and death of Alberta Williams, who was murdered in 1898.  If you haven’t listened to the first season I highly recommend it.  It is hard to listen to at times, but it speaks important truths about MMIWG2S in Canada and the systemic barriers faced by Indigenous communities.

Season two, which has one episode left to air, focuses on the life and death of Cleopatra Semaganis Nicotine, known as Cleo.  Cleo was adopted into the United States in the 1970s as part of Saskatchewan’s Adopt Indian Métis Program (AIM) and the sixties scoop.  Her biological family was told Cleo died as a teenager but lacked any context of her life post-adoption or details about her death.  The podcast follows the family’s search for answers.

Similar to season one of Missing & Murdered, season two does an excellent job of contextualizing this one family’s loss. A number of the episodes include a discussion of the long term impacts of the sixties scoop, the racist advertising of the AIM program, and the impact of intergenerational residential trauma on family life.

I was particularly impressed with how much effort went into searching microfilm records and archival records to provide context to the history of the AIM program and the residential school experience of Cleo’s mother. This podcast provides a good entry point for folks looking to learn more about the sixties scoop and colonialism. It is an emotional and important listen that is well worth the time.

Listening: You’ve Got This

Black headphones on table.
Photo by Alphacolor 13 on Unsplash

I’ve recently started listening to You’ve Got This a weekly academic and higher education focused podcast.  The podcast is produced and created by Dr. Katie Linder. The podcast covers a whole range of topics including productivity, writing, grading, teaching strategies, and lots of other good material. Despite not being a faculty member the issues tackled in the podcast are still relevant to the some of work I’m engaged in such as grant writing, public speaking, and project management. Many of the episodes focus on skill building, developing work strategies, and career management.  Linder brings a varied perspective to these topics while often providing concrete examples of things that have worked (or not) in her career.

Each episode is relatively short with many being between ten or fifteen minutes. I find the episodes are the prefect length to listen to while going between stores, doing short household tasks, or when I’m tried/know my attention span is going to last for a longer podcast. I also really enjoy that this is a solo female podcast that flows really well – I’m always on the lookout for really well put together podcasts.

As a bonus Linder’s show notes are really well done and include any resources she mentions in the show.  On the accessibility side of things each podcast also comes with a downloadable full transcript.

Archives As Activism: The Case of Residential Schools

Photo From: Talking Radical Radio: Archives As Activism

I’m on a podcast! Given my obsession with listening to podcasts it might not be surprising that I’m very excited to have been part of a podcast recording.

Recently Scott Neigh of Talking Radical Radio interviewed Skylee-Storm Hogan and I about the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre, activism and archives, and more broadly about documenting social movements.  Our conversation was partially inspired by my recent Active History post on “Archives As Activism” which discusses some of the current trends around archiving and documenting social movements in Canada.

You can listen to the full episode online via the Rabble Podcast Network.

Kinda related: I would love to be part of an archives or Canadian history podcast — anyone want to team up to create some awesomeness? 

Listening: Historically Yours Podcast

podcast scrabble tiles
Image by Nick Youngson used under CC BY-SA 3.0

My podcast listening has changed drastically over the past couple of months – mainly because I’m no longer spending two hours a day in the car.  I’ve become a bit more selective in what I listen to and I’ve also changed up when I’m listening.  I’m now spending more time listening to podcasts while at the gym, walking, or doing physical processing while at work.  The fact that I’m occasionally listening while moving archival boxes around or labeling folders makes the Historical Yours podcast all the more perfect.

Historical Yours is a podcast created by the University of Iowa Libraries and Special Collections.  It is hosted by Outreach Librarian Colleen Theisen and each episode features Theisen and a guest who “will read one historic letter, research the context, and discuss the role of letter writing past and present.”  I love concept behind this podcast and it’s focus on a one off letter that has no associated context.  Each podcast is like a mini-historical research research project or scavenger hunt looking to provide context to a lone piece of correspondence.

The podcast is based on a unique collection held by University of Iowa of which is comprised of thousands of single letters.  The letters have zero context about who wrote them, who they were sent to, or who held on to them over the years.  Historically Yours draws attention to this collection but also tries to fill in some of the context that isn’t currently found within the thousands of letters in the collection. It’s a bi-weekly podcast with only a few episodes released so far but I highly recommend having a listen and I look forward to hearing more episodes as they are released.