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'Keep the Native kids woke': podcast Coffee & Quaq explores contemporary Indigenous Alaskan issues

Coffee & Quaq is a new podcast out of Anchorage, Alaska that looks at contemporary issues impacting Indigenous people living in the state. Host and producer Alice Glenn says the name of the podcast is a nod to both contemporary and traditional aspects of her Inupiaq culture.
Coffee & Quaq is a new podcast created in Anchorage, Alaska that looks at contemporary Indigenous issues. (Coffee & Quaq website/provided by Alice Glenn)
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Coffee & Quaq is a new podcast out of Anchorage, Alaska that looks at contemporary issues impacting Indigenous people living in the state. 

Host and producer Alice Glenn says the name of the podcast is a nod to both contemporary and traditional aspects of her Inupiaq culture.

"Quaq is the Inupiaq word for frozen or raw meat or fish, and it's also a verb to eat frozen or raw meat," said Glenn.  

"I try to cover these current events topics happening now, so I kind of used [coffee] as a way to keep the Native kids woke, and then quaq to examine our topics through an Alaskan Native lens," said Green. 

"So kind of both sides of this western culture and then our Indigenous culture." 

Glenn decided to launch the podcast when she was unable to find Indigenous Alaskan podcasts. 

"I went to school down south and I was definitely missing my culture, my home, my food, [and] my people," said Glenn.

"When I moved back it was like a reawakening and a reconnection with friends, family and culture, and it kind of surprised me that although we've been here for thousands of years … we still weren't being seen in mainstream media, especially from a young Native contemporary view." 

In addition to filing a much needed gap in Indigenous podcasting in Alaska, Coffee & Quaq also aims to dispel stereotypes of Indigenous people. 

"We often hear about our rural [Indigenous] communities in the news a lot … [but] it kind of feels like a skewed vision of being defined by the disparaging parts of our communities," said Glenn.

"Yes, of course there's a time and place for those [stories], but I also don't want that to be our only narrative. I don't want that to be how everyone in Alaska or everywhere else sees us as Native people, there's so many beautiful parts to us."

The response to the podcast has been overwhelming positive, said Glenn. 

"People have been reaching out to me from literally all over the world to thank me, to say how much this episode, or that episode has touched them, and that I'm doing important work," said Glenn. 

Glenn is excited to see more and more Indigenous people using podcasting to tell their stories. 

"Only we as Native people know the intricacies and the complexities and the beautiful parts of our culture, enough to share," said Glenn. 

"I think that if we don't have that representation, if we don't have people like us who understand and know the way we grew up and our experiences as native people share those stories, it's just not going to be accurate."