Starting this Saturday, a brand new radio show called Unreserved takes listeners behind the headlines of the top trending stories from Indigenous Canada.
Now Canadians can get aboriginal stories from the four directions of the country via the radio airwaves, as well as continuing to get news and stories online at CBC Aboriginal.
Unreserved is hosted by writer, broadcaster and all-round rabble rouser Rosanna Deerchild.
She's an award-winning Cree author and has been a broadcaster for almost 15 years — including stints with APTN, CBC Radio, Global and a variety of indigenous newspapers. She hails from South Indian Lake, Man., and when she is not hosting Unreserved, she is behind the microphone at Manitoba's premier indigenous radio station, NCI-FM.
We caught up with Deerchild as she was getting ready to head into the studio for the inaugural edition of Unreserved.
Q: What's your ideal Saturday?
A: Sleeping in 'til 10. Brunch and shopping with girlfriends in the afternoon. And sipping vino and reading on my porch in the evenings.
Of course, being a mother of two, those things never happen. It's more like barely sleeping, followed by rushing with the girls in tow to Walmart to fight with other mothers over on-sale cereal. The wine … is more for recovery purposes rather than for relaxation. Someday, though, I will have an ideal Saturday. Someday.
Q: What are you reading right now?
A: I like to read a variety of books — kind of like cable for the mind.
So right now I am making my way through Leanne Simpson's The Gift is in the Making — Anishinabegg Stories. It is a lovely retelling (kind of!) of traditional stories from her territory.They are meant to be told to children, so I am reading that with my girls.
And any reading list is not complete without poetry. Right now I am "re-enjoying" Katherena Vermette's North End Love Songs, which won a Governor General Award last year. North End Love Songs is such a gorgeous, bittersweet story, as all good love songs are.
Q: You'll be including some music on the new show, so we are curious to know — who is on the top of your playlist these days?
A: A Tribe Called Red always gets me dancing. This DJ crew from Ottawa puts a sweet beat together to make something I like to call "tribal fusion."
In fact, there a lot of indigenous artists out there that are reaching into the past and putting a contemporary spin on music. Tanya Tagaq, who just won the Polaris Music Prize, is fearless and powerful on her latest album, Animism.
This is not music you will necessarily hear on the radio, but it is voices from this land we call Canada. And it's beautiful.
Q: Of all the people you have interviewed in your radio career, who was your favourite, and why?
A: That's a tough question. There are so many people in the community that I "girl-geek" over.
'Thomas King says that is all we are: stories. Our story is still being written.' - Rosanna Deerchild
I would have to say most recently, I got to sit down with Thomas King. He is just SO brilliant and so HILARIOUS … he makes you think and question and change as you speak with him.
I've been reading his books for many years and never dreamed that I would ever meet him, much less interview him. It was such an honour — one I will boast about for many years to come.
Q: What's your pet peeve? (Only one, Rosanna!)
A: Only one. Gah. OK. I would have to say people who don't use their manners. I know that is so old lady.
But really, just think how different our community would be if we simply used please, thank you and pardon me in our everyday lives.
Q: What's one thing that keeps you going?
A: Caffeine. Kidding. It would be knowing that the more we communicate with each other, the more we learn. The more we learn, the better we can make our world.
Q: What are you most looking forward to as host of Unreserved?
The cheque. JUST kidding. Again. (Mostly).
'This radio show is another forum and I am so honoured to be a small part of bringing that to Canadians in the hopes it will foster a better understanding of our lives.' - Rosanna Deerchild
It's the stories. Thomas King says that is all we are: stories. Our story is still being written.
It is very exciting to me that we as Indigenous Peoples are picking up the pen, the microphone, the camera and all those other tools and writing and, for some stories — like the residential school chapter — re-writing and correcting what really happened.
This radio show is another forum and I am so honoured to be a small part of bringing that to Canadians in the hopes it will foster a better understanding of our lives.
Unreserved can be heard on CBC Radio One every Saturday in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon, N.W.T. and Nunavut. CBC listeners from across Canada can stream the show online. In the very near future, a weekly podcast will be available on the CBC Aboriginal website.