Rosanna Deerchild to host new CBC Books podcast based on Indigenous graphic novel anthology This Place

The 10-episode series, which adapts the bestselling comic book anthology about 150 years of Canada through the eyes of Indigenous creators, to air on CBC Radio One in 2021.
Rosanna Deerchild is a poet, author and broadcaster. (CBC)

This Place, the bestselling graphic novel anthology that tells 150 years of Canadian history through Indigenous stories, is being turned into a podcast by CBC Books.

The 10-episode series will be hosted by Rosanna Deerchild and will air on CBC Radio One in 2021.

This Place features Indigenous creators — including David. A RobertsonRichard Van CampKatherena Vermette and Brandon Mitchell — and incorporates elements of fantasy and magical realism to examine the 150-plus years of Canadian history since Confederation from an Indigenous perspective.

"This place we call Canada has an amazing story. It is not all moose, hockey and cold weather. We are more than what you learned in history class," Deerchild wrote on Facebook about the new series. 

"Indigenous people are this place and it is time we told our stories.

"The voices of our people are reclaiming and recalling the history that we are. We as storytellers have a responsibility and a gift to tell these stories back into being.

"We are Kanata.

"In This Place, you will learn about amazing pieces of our shared history through interviews with Indigenous authors and illustrators."


This Place podcast host Rosanna Deerchild is usually the host of Unreserved on CBC Radio One. She is stepping away from Unreserved this season to work on the new series. 

Deerchild is also a poet; her books include the collection Calling Down the Sky. She hails from the O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation and grew up in Thompson, Man.

Deerchild will work with an Indigenous team of writers and audio producers to develop the episodic series. 

The 10-episode CBC Books podcast will bring the graphic novel stories to life using audio storytelling techniques including narration, interview panels, music and more.

Told in chronological order, This Place starts in 1868 with Annie of Red River, about Annie Bannatyne, a Métis-Saulteaux woman who horsewhipped Charles Mair after he made inflammatory remarks in the Toronto Globe about Métis women. 

The graphic novel collection includes the stories of characters like Jack Fiddler, an Anishinaabe shaman facing murder charges, Francis Pegahmagabow, a highly-decorated First World War soldier from Wasauksing First Nation, and Rosie, an Inuk girl growing up during the Second World War.

This Place won a 2020 Manitoba Book Award and was a finalist for the 2020 Doug Wright Award for best book.

When This Place came out in 2019, writer David A. Robertson spoke to CBC Radio's In Town and Out about how the graphic novel came together.

"This project came about when I was sitting down with the publisher [Portage & Main Press]. We were talking about Canada 150 and how we can have our own voices heard. That was the seed that started this project," said Robertson.

"I think this is a landmark book — this is a culmination of where we've been headed in the past 10 years for Indigenous literature."

This story was updated to include new quotes from This Place host Rosanna Deerchild.

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