Indigenous

Ian Campeau and Jesse Thistle livestream their conversations with friends on Homies Chatting

Ian Campeau and Jesse Thistle are streaming their chats with friends and interesting people twice a week online.

'I love my family but to talk to people outside of family twice a week, it's fun,' says Campeau

'We're talking about Indigenous people to an Indigenous indigenous audience, but we're also doing it in a way that we're getting a lot of mainstream hits, too,' says Jesse Thistle. (University of Waterloo)

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to chat over dinner with Ian Campeau and Jesse Thistle? 

They've got a new project called Homies Chatting that invites viewers to their physically distanced table for casual but informative conversations twice a week.

Thistle is a Métis-Cree author and assistant professor at York University in Toronto and Campeau is a DJ formerly of A Tribe Called Red.

On March 2, Campeau and Thistle met for the first time in person during the All Nations Pow Wow at York University.

"You know when you just meet somebody and you feel like you've known them forever?" asks Thistle.

"Every time I talk to him it feels like that. He reminds me of a childhood friend."

Shortly after their meeting, Campeau suggested that the two livestream one of their chats and on March 20, the first Homies Chatting went live.

Since then the pair has invited Indigenous guests like Jesse Wente, Tanya Talaga and Dr. Janet Smylie and has also shared the table with allies and advocates like Zoe Dodd, Biff Naked and Clara Hughes. 

Conversations that take place on the show touch on politics, history, race, colonialism and more. 

"It's filling that niche audience for Indigenous people," said Thistle. 

"We're talking about Indigenous people to an Indigenous audience, but we're also doing it in a way that we're getting a lot of mainstream hits, too." 

"I feel like this show is working well in the same way that the electric powwow worked so well in its early days," said Campeau.

"It gave Native people a spot to kind of chill."

The chat is also developing different segments like Homies History, where Thistle looks at Indigenous history and uses his background in history as a PhD candidate and humour to reverse colonial narratives. 

Campeau has a language segment where he will share a word in Anishinaabemowin and explain its roots and usage with some context. 

'This is how we talk'  

While Homies Chatting can be described as a talk show or a podcast, Campeau said it's more of the vibe of chats over dinner. 

"This is exactly what it's like to go out to dinner, when I've gone out to dinner with these friends," said Campeau.

"This is how we talk." 

'This is exactly what it's like to go out to dinner when I've gone out to dinner with these friends,' says Ian Campeau. (Stephanie Cram/CBC)

The startup of the chats also coincided with the onset of physical distancing guidelines because of COVID-19.

"Personally, for me, it's a huge therapy to talk," said Campeau. 

"I love my family but to talk to people outside of family twice a week, it's fun."

A month before Homies Chatting started, Campeau began using the live streaming platform Twitch and checking out different panels, discovering the platform was used for more than just video game streaming. 

"Having that that month or two headstart became extremely beneficial," he said. 

"All of a sudden everybody has the same access to broadcast."

The show streams twice a week on Mondays and Fridays at 7 p.m. ET with links available through Facebook and Twitch. 

About the Author

Rhiannon Johnson is an Anishinaabe journalist from Hiawatha First Nation based in Toronto. She has been with the Indigenous unit since 2017 focusing on Indigenous life and experiences throughout Ontario. You can reach her at rhiannon.johnson@cbc.ca and on Twitter @rhijhnsn.