On the surface, a new podcast hosted by Amber Dion and Terri Suntjens is about shaping accessible content for social work classrooms. But dig a little deeper and you’ll find a platform for Indigenous storytelling – one built on honouring, recognizing and amplifying Indigenous voices.
“From the time I was a little girl, I have witnessed and experienced Indigenous voices being silenced. It has to stop,” says Dion, assistant professor, social work. “This podcast is an Indigenous-led, Indigenous-created platform – one where we can collaborate to make sure that voices are amplified in ways that can’t be ignored.”
Dion invited her colleague, friend and MacEwan’s director of Indigenous initiatives and kihêw waciston, Terri Suntjens, to help her build 2 Crees in a Pod – a podcast that would not only serve as a resource to Bachelor of Social Work students in her fourth-year Advanced Practice with Indigenous Peoples course, but one that would be welcoming and accessible for anyone, from any discipline or community, who wants to learn.
“I too consider myself a learner in this podcast,” says Dion. “Our guests have things to say that everyone – academics, community members and non-Indigenous folks – should hear.”
Why 2 Crees in a Pod?
Dion and Suntjens both grew up in Indigenous communities, are around the same age, are both mothers, share a background in social work and now work in academia. “The name of this podcast – 2 Crees in a Pod – just feels like the perfect way to describe who we are,” says Suntjens. Listen to 2 Crees in a Pod.
Since May, Dion and Suntjens have been recording the dozen episodes that will make up the first season and releasing one each week. By the time all 12 episodes are available in August, 2 Crees in a Pod will include a collection of episodes from Indigenous scholars and trailblazers who have done extensive academic work.
In the most recently released episode, Dr. Michael Yellow Bird, dean of social work at the University of Manitoba shares his research on trauma and neuro decolonization; in episode two Sharon Streinhauer, coordinator of the social work diploma at University nuhelot’įne thaiyots’į nistameyimâkanak Blue Quills, discusses circle protocol; and in the podcast’s first episode, Dr. Leona Makokis, resident Elder at University nuhelot’įne thaiyots’į nistameyimâkanak Blue Quills, looks at Indigenous governance models and organizational structures.
But it was something Makokis shared beyond how Indigenous organizations are organized – that she was able to survive her experience as a child in residential school by not developing relationships – that really stands out in Dion’s mind.
“I have known Dr. Leona Makokis since I was a baby and I have heard tons of her stories, but I had never heard her say that before,” says Dion. “That one statement, for me, says so much, including the work we have yet to do within our communities around developing relationships.”
The podcast’s second season, which Dion and Suntjens are already planning, will include a focus on the importance of relationships. “We really want to talk about all kinds of nitty gritty, everyday subjects, including how to build healthy relationships in small Indigenous communities,” says Dion.
They also plan to use season two to shift focus from trailblazers to feature voices that are rarely heard in this type of forum – Indigenous people working on social work’s front lines. “Students want to hear from up-and-coming social workers who are out in the field and working in community, so we want to make sure to amplify those voices too.”
Listen to 2 Crees in a Pod wherever you get your podcasts, or follow 2 Crees in a Pod on Facebook.
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