New podcast holds up Indigenous voices on climate change

A new podcast is bringing together Indigenous perspectives on climate change and decolonization.

It's called Story-telling/Story-listening: Decolonizing Research. It's the brainchild of Jessica Hum, who used to work for the Tłı̨chǫ Government, and then went on to do her masters in resource and environment at Dalhousie University.
The four episodes focus on changes to land and water, as well as relationships. Hum says her research looks closer at climate change — how it's affecting the landscape, and how people who know the land are responding and adapting to it.
Tłı̨chǫ knowledge holder and Elder John B. Zoe is featured in the first episode, which launched at the end of April.
"When I first started talking to John about this, you know, we wanted to explore what decolonizing research really meant," Hum said.

"If we're doing research, talking about the land, asking those kinds of investigative questions, how can we do that with an approach that honours the way those original landscape stories were told orally, through storytelling and through story listening."


In his years of exposure and experience on the land, Zoe says listening to elders has been crucial; they can provide "layers of information" from Tłı̨chǫ history to the present. He said that's especially true with place names, which have become a navigational tool.

"It's like the land is talking to you because if they see a place and describe what it means or what happened in that area … it's like it's written on the landscape and the only way to read it is to go out."


Zoe said society today is focused on "western knowledge," but the podcast brings listeners to the "natural classroom."

"And the idea is that, if you're in the natural classroom, that we need to be aware of our surroundings because just by being there, the transfer of information is happening just by being present."

Zoe says the Tłı̨chǫ are combating that vacuum by doing their own research in their own way — boots on the ground, observing things like weather and wind, and drawing on historical knowledge.


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Comment by Rituu B Nanda on January 3, 2021 at 15:33

Hi Ian, reading your blog again. Very useful as I begin work with indigenous communities -design, implementation, measurement and research- all led by the community. Thanks.

Comment by Rituu B Nanda on September 1, 2020 at 11:57

Hi Ian,

Your post made my day:-)

Thanks for drawing attention to this valuable work. Very much need if we truly want 'no one left behind'.  I have been facilitating community-owned research for a long time. I think not only indigenous but communities and citizens when take ownership in research they develop critical thinking and it also stimulate action based on evidence.

Goebel et al (2019) " Through stakeholder involvement in the research process, a democratisation of knowledge takes place, not remaining limited to a small circle of researchers but being created and shared in a larger group of those involved, who decide together about the urgency and focus of the subject."

Goebel, K., Camargo‐Borges, C., & Eelderink, M. (2019). Exploring participatory action research as a driver for sustainable tourism. International Journal of Tourism Research. doi:10.1002/jtr.2346 

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