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5 Indigenous heroes you'll learn about on the This Place podcast

Based on the acclaimed graphic novel anthology of the same name, This Place is a 10-part journey through 150 years of Indigenous resistance and resilience.
This Place is a podcast hosted by Rosanna Deerchild. It premieres online on June 22 and on CBC Radio on June 29. (CBC, Natasha Donovan)

Have you listened to This Place?

The 10-episode podcast, adapted from the bestselling graphic novel anthology of the same name, launched this summer and now you can listen to the entire series on CBC Listen or wherever you get your podcasts.   

This Place tells 150 years of Canadian history through Indigenous stories, music and more. It features Indigenous creators — including David. A Robertson, Richard Van Camp, Katherena Vermette and Brandon Mitchell — and incorporates elements of fantasy and magical realism to examine Canadian history from Confederation to now.

The podcast is hosted by Rosanna Deerchild. Deerchild worked with an Indigenous team of writers and audio producers to develop the episodic series. 

Told in chronological order, This Place starts in 1868 and highlights the battles and triumphs of Indigenous trailblazers.

Here are the heroes you'll learn about.

Annie Bannatyne

Despite the discrimination she faced, Métis heroine Annie Bannatyne stood up for Indigenous women and for her community. (Scott B. Henderson/colours by Donovan Yaciuk, Archives of Manitoba: Annie McDermot Bannatyne 1, Personalities, P1263, [1870s] N10672)

Annie Bannatyne was a formidable Métis business owner and important civic figure in Winnipeg. Born Annie McDermot at Red River Settlement in 1832, she played an instrumental role in fundraising and founding the Winnipeg General Hospital. Bannatyne was dedicated to charitable causes and philanthropy.

In February 1869, she became known for horsewhipping Toronto writer Charles Mair after he published disparaging remarks about Métis women in the Toronto Globe. It is believed that these actions inspired the young Louis Riel.

Listen to Annie Bannatyne's story of resilience and spirit on the This Place episode Annie of Red River

Annie Bannatyne was a formidable Métis business owner and important civic figure in Winnipeg who played an instrumental role in fundraising and founding the Winnipeg General Hospital. She also inspired a young Louis Riel with a public act of resistance — highlighted in this story. 27:26

Chief Billy Assu 

Chief Billy Assu stands with a missionary on the beach at Cape Mudge Village. He was known for the many potlatches he gave. (Kyle Charlescolours by Scott A. Ford, submitted by Sonny Assu)

Born in 1867 in Cape Mudge, B.C., Billy Assu was one of the most respected and influential potlatch chiefs in Ligwilda'xw history. 

He became a Chief at the age of 24 after his uncle Chief Wamaish died. As Chief, Assu was able to secure better wages for his people. He also negotiated with the government for the right to fish with the same modern equipment as non-Indigenous fleets.

Assu was known for the many potlatches he gave. He organized several hundred, including a large one with thousands of guests that lasted over three weeks. In 1910, Chief Jim Naknakim bestowed upon him the name "Pasala" meaning "to give many potlatches".

Listen to author Sonny Assu explore the life of his great-great-grandfather on the This Place episode Tilted Ground

Author Sonny Assu explores the journey of his great-great-grandfather, Chief Billy Assu, who was one of the most respected and influential potlatch chiefs in Ligwilda’xw history. 27:26

Francis "Peggy" Pegahmagabow

Francis “Peggy” Pegahmagabow was one of the first Indigenous soldiers to serve in the army. (Natasha Donovan, Canadian government/Wikimedia Commons/public domain)

Francis "Peggy" Pegahmagabow remains one of the most decorated Indigenous soldiers in history. Born in 1891 on what is now the Shawanaga First Nation north of Parry Sound, Ont., he was a fierce and respected Ojibwe sniper in the First World War.

Almost immediately after war was declared in August 1914, Pegahmagabow got enlisted in the army. He was one of the first Indigenous soldiers to volunteer for overseas service in the war. 

After the war he returned to Parry Island in 1919, where he continued to serve the Algonquin Militia Regiment. However, Pegahmagabow found himself facing persecution and poverty, so he became involved in politics demanding better treatment for Indigenous peoples.

Listen to Francis "Peggy" Pegahmagabow's journey from Parry Island to the frontline of war and back on the This Place episode Peggy

An Ojibwa from the Parry Island Band, Francis "Peggy" Pegahmagabow is one of the most decorated Indigenous soldiers in Canadian history. This story follows Peggy as he demonstrates bravery and skill on the battlefields of the First World War, only to return home and be denied fair treatment. 27:28

Frank T'Seleie 

Dene Chief Frank T’Seleie is best known for his impassioned speech to prevent the Mackenzie Valley pipeline from cutting through the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Alberta. (Scott B. Henderson/colours by Scott A. Ford, Alex Brockman/CBC)

When the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline was proposed in the 1970s, a young Dene Chief of Fort Good Hope, N.W.T., vowed to stop it. Frank T'Seleie is best known for his impassioned speech to prevent the pipeline from cutting through the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Alberta. From his youth to his days as a band administrator, T'Seleie was an ardent protector of the land. 

"You have come to destroy the Dene Nation. You are coming with your troops to slaughter us and steal land that is rightfully ours," T'Seleie said when speaking to the representative of Canadian Arctic Gas during the Berger Inquiry. His comments made front-page news across the country. 

Listen to Chief Frank's celebrated and passionate speech on the This Place episode Like a Razor Slash

It's 1975 in Fort Good Hope, Northwest Territories, and a young Dene Chief named Frank T'Seleie is about to change the course of history. Follow Frank's fight to stop the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline — from his youth, to his days as a band administrator, to his celebrated speech at the Berger Inquiry, which is remembered as an integral part of the efforts to protect and defend the lands within the Northwest Territories. 27:26

Ellen Gabriel 

Ellen Gabriel is a Mohawk activist and artist who came into the public eye for her work during the Oka Crisis. ( Andrew Lodwick, Ka'nhehsí:io Deer/CBC)

Ellen Gabriel is an activist and artist from Kanehsatà:ke Nation — Turtle Clan — who served as the official spokesperson, chosen by the People of the Longhouse, during the Oka Crisis.

Since 1990, she has advocated for Indigenous rights and has worked to educate the public, academics and politicians on Indigenous history, culture and identity. During the Oka Crisis, when her work brought her into the public eye, Gabriel traveled across Canada, Europe and Japan to inform people about the events happening in her community. 

Gabriel holds a BFA from Concordia University, is a board member of the Mohawk Language Custodian Association and is part of Indigenous Climate Action's steering committee. In 2008, she received the International Women's Day Award from the Barreau du Québec/Québec Bar Association and the Indigenous Women's Initiative "Jigonsaseh Women of Peace Award" for her advocacy work.

Listen to Ellen Gabriel's powerful story on the This Place episode Warrior Nation

This isn't your average coming-of-age story. It’s the summer of 1990 and apathetic Anishinaabe teen Washashk is on a road trip with his mom Raven. She wants to support the land defenders at Kanesatake. Washashk wants to go to the movies, but it's in The Pines that he'll find his place in the world. 27:26

If you want to learn more about Indigenous resistance and resilience, you can listen to the entire series on CBC Listen or wherever you get your podcasts.  

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