Unreserved with Falen Johnson

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Indigenous musicians find new ways to create, promote and thrive during pandemic

Musicians are always finding ways to explore new sounds, new ideas or new spaces — but the ongoing pandemic has left many looking for new ways to thrive as artists. This week, we visit with a few Indigenous artists to hear how they're keeping the music going in 2021.

'We come from the stars': Indigenous astronomy, astronauts, and star stories

Long winter nights are perfect for looking up at the stars, and that’s exactly what we’re doing on Unreserved this week. From Indigenous astronomy to the first Indigenous astronaut, find out how Indigenous people are reframing the way we look at the sky. 

Indigenous documentarians tell their own stories of connecting to culture

Documentaries can be a powerful tool for storytelling, but for years Indigenous people were the subject matter and not the people telling their own stories. This week, two documentaries about culture, connection, and finding your way back. 

How Indigenous skateboarders use their boards for creative expression and land reclamation

For many Indigenous people, skateboarding is an active way to express yourself, and reclaim territory in unexpected ways. This week on Unreserved, meet Indigenous skateboarders who are taking the sport onto the streets, and into communities. 

Top picks: Falen Johnson's fave moments of the season

As we wrap up this season of Unreserved, we’re looking back at some of our favourite moments with host Falen Johnson.

'It has never been a secret that children went missing': Will the loss of 215 be a watershed moment?

In late May, when it was announced that the remains of an estimated 215 Indigenous children had been found on the grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School, it was the leading news story across the country. Yet for many, it wasn’t “news” at all.

The Indigenous connection to the Underground Railroad

Most stories of the Underground Railroad follow the narrative of white people helping Black people escape slavery, but overlook the involvement of Indigenous allies who often risked their own lives to help freedom seekers cross into Canada safely. Historian Roy Finkenbine is among those rewriting that history.

What happens when hidden histories become a national conversation?

June is National Indigenous History month — a time to celebrate and reflect on the contributions of the many nations across this land. But much of that history continues to be unacknowledged in the mainstream, and even hidden.

'Making up for lost time': Julian Taylor on his first Juno nominations

Julian Taylor has been performing and recording albums for more than 20 years. This year, after the release of his latest album The Ridge, the Black and Indigenous artist received his first two Juno nominations.

From Igloolik to Nashville: Indigenous Juno nominees show their range in 2021

There may not be the usual red carpet event for the Juno Awards this year, but artists are still anxious for Canada’s biggest night in music. This week, meet all the nominees for Indigenous Artist or Group of the Year.

'I hope to be that beautiful complication for people': Jeremy Dutcher on his signature style

When Dutcher plans looks to wear to awards shows, he asks himself, "What kind of images would have been really helpful or useful for me to see as a young Indigenous person growing up in rural New Brunswick? What would that have felt like to be able to turn on the television and see big, brown bodies taking up space?"

They sent body bags and toe tags. She made a ribbon dress

Using a sewing machine and the strength of her ancestors, Abigail Echo-Hawk transformed a symbol of death — body bags intended to bury Indigenous lives lost to COVID-19 — into a healing ribbon dress that affirms Indigenous resiliency.

Deb Haaland wore a ribbon skirt to her swearing in ceremony. Meet the designer who created it.

Deb Haaland invited Agnes Woodward, a Plains Cree dressmaker from Kawacatoose First Nation in Saskatchewan, to sew a traditional ribbon skirt for her swearing-in ceremony as the first Indigenous cabinet secretary in U.S. history.

Indigenous fashion: The politics of ribbon skirts, runways and resilience

Clothing is a way of making a statement and telling people what you believe. Fashion can empower, it can challenge, and it can be deeply political.

From ballet dancer to zombie slayer: Cree actor Michael Greyeyes on his prolific career

The Plains Cree actor and performer from Muskeg Lake Cree Nation in Saskatchewan has appeared in more than 50 films and TV shows, ranging from prominent Indigenous leaders like Sitting Bull to Gooch in Dance Me Outside, one of his most well-known roles.

How Indigenous people are promoting and learning their languages

This week on Unreserved, we hear from language learners across Turtle Island who are helping make their language more accessible to people who want to learn.

These parents are trying to raise their kids in an English-free home

Emmaline Beauchamp fell in love with her language and it transformed her life. Now she and her husband have a podcast about how they try to keep English out of their house as they raise their two children exclusively in Anishinaabemowin.

Refocusing the lens: how Indigenous people are using documentaries to tell their own stories

This week on Unreserved, we’re talking all about Indigenous documentaries, from the history of Indigenous docs to how filmmakers today are reframing the stories being told.

Stripped of identity: Powerful music video depicts lasting impacts of Sixties Scoop

In her powerful new music video, Jayli Wolf tells the story of her father being taken from his family by the Canadian government in the Sixties Scoop, which saw tens of thousands of Indigenous children forcibly removed from their homes and adopted out to mostly non-Indigenous families. 

How Madisyn Whajne turned her Sixties Scoop survival story into music

Musician Madisyn Whajne used her settlement money from the federal government to release her debut album.

How Indigenous musicians are using song to reclaim their identities

Music has a way of expressing and feeling emotions in ways most other things can’t. Musicians and listeners alike can connect with the sounds, the lyrics and the meaning of songs and express themselves through it.

He may have been the first Black and Indigenous person to seek U.S. presidency. Why don't you know his name?

If George Bonga had had his way, the United States would have elected a Black president nearly 200 years before Barack Obama, and that leader would also have been Indigenous. 

Navigating the complexities of Black Indigenous identity

From the complicated history around slavery to mixed race people finding their place in community — this week on Unreserved, we are looking at the Black Indigenous experience. 

The dark history of Canada's Food Guide: How experiments on Indigenous children shaped nutrition policy

Nutritional experiments were performed on intentionally malnourished Indigenous children in residential schools in the 1940s and ’50s. These experiments are directly connected to Canada’s Food Guide, explained historian Ian Mosby

Pow wow pivot: How one Indigenous chef found new ways to keep food on the table

The back of chef Shawn Adler’s vehicle is carrying about 325 containers of frozen Three Sisters Stew (corns, beans and squash), he’s cooked and plated on beds of wild rice pilaf. This load, and the two-hour drive that takes from his home in Eugenia to downtown Toronto, are part of his new normal.

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