Unreserved is the radio space for Indigenous community, culture, and conversation. Host Rosanna Deerchild takes you straight into Indigenous Canada, from Halifax to Haida Gwaii, from Shamattawa to Ottawa, introducing listeners to the storytellers, culture makers and community shakers from across the country.
How two-spirit people are 'coming in' to their communities
The term "two-spirit" has only been around for about 30 years, but it's an identity with ancient roots. This week on Unreserved, meet Indigenous people who are walking the two-spirit path with pride and reclaiming their place in cultural and community circles.
Anishinaabe elder Myra Laramee was gifted the words "two-spirit" in a dream in 1990. She took these words to an annual gathering of Indigenous LGBTQ people, who adopted the term.
Alex Wilson is from the Opaskwayak Cree Nation and is a professor in the college of education at the University of Saskatchewan. She has devoted her career to understanding two-spirit identity, how it's rooted in the land and how "coming in" (as opposed to coming out) is a uniquely Indigenous experience.
Chantal Fiola and Nicki Ferland are a two-spirit Métis couple living in Winnipeg. They tell the story of their traditional Midewiwin wedding ceremony.
Joshua Whitehead's debut novel Jonny Appleseed won Canada Reads 2021. The two-spirit/Indigiqueer writer from Peguis First Nation is representing two-spirit characters in his writing as real, honest and whole. In doing so, he's paving the way for the next generation of two-spirit people to accept — and love — who they are.
Honouring Stó:lō storyteller and matriarch Lee Maracle
Lee Maracle wasn't cut from a timid, quiet cloth. With every book the Stó:lō writer published, she set out to rip out the seams of the Canadian literary world and thread new paths for other Indigenous writers.
Lee Maracle passed away on Nov. 11 at the age of 71.
This week on Unreserved, we honour the story quilt that Lee Maracle made with an extended conversation (parts never aired before) between Lee and Unreserved host Rosanna Deerchild from 2018 and stories from Indigenous writers who were inspired by the incomparable woman. You'll hear from Métis matriarch Maria Campbell, Métis poet Gregory Scofield, Cree author Tracey Lindberg, and Anishinaabe novelist Waubgeshig Rice.
Reclaiming culture through crafts
Indigenous people who relearn traditional crafts, like beadwork or making mitts and moccasins, are sewing pieces of their culture back together, one stitch, one bead and one quill at a time.
After facing a devastating family loss, Alley Yapput moved to Thunder Bay to be closer to his mom, Madeline . But this Ojibway/Cree Two-Spirit artisan found his newly retired mom wasn’t doing much with her time. So he picked up his needles and beads and ‘passed up’ the traditional craft of beadwork and moccasin making, creating a stronger bond in the process.
Mi’kmaq have been making quill art for generations. This intricate and painstaking process involves softening, dying and weaving porcupine quills onto birchbark. Cheryl Simon and Kay Sark are artists from Epekwitk, also known as Prince Edward Island. Not only has this traditional artform helped them find their way to culture, they also share their knowledge on a podcast. CBC producer Isabelle Gallant shares their story in her documentary "Meet the Quill Sisters".
Master storyteller Tomson Highway celebrates his parents' ‘beautiful love’ in Permanent Astonishment
Host Rosanna Deerchild speaks with Tomson Highway, a world-renowned Cree playwright, novelist, and concert pianist, about his new memoir Permanent Astonishment, which just won the 2021 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction worth $60,000.
Inuit bring unified voice to COP26 from the frontlines of climate change
These Inuit leaders from across Inuit Nunangat bring different experiences of language, geography and time spent on the ice, but they're coming together with one particular shared understanding — the disproportionate effect of climate change on their communities.
Indigenous thinkers reinvigorate STEM with traditional knowledge
Indigenous knowledge is more than beads, drums and sweetgrass — it's also science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). You'll hear from Anishinaabe landscape architect, David Thomas; Wolastoqey language app-developer Diego Bear and Wolastoqey Elder Imelda Mary Perley who narrated all the words and phrases on the app; and Bryan Bellefeuille, an Ojibwe educator who teaches Indigenous math.