I’ve spent the last couple of months mentoring and teaching up-and-coming Indigenous storytellers. I’ve worked with a couple of teams for the NSI Telus Storyhive podcast program and am currently doing some mentoring for Audible’s Indigenous Writers’ Circle. I really believe programs like this are important to help make space for Indigenous creatives.
When I was coming up in the business there were no programs like this, and in fact, when I chose to focus my career on Indigenous story, I had quite a few editors and colleagues ask me if I was afraid of “ghettoizing” myself. My answer was always the same: No, because if I don’t care enough to tell stories of my community, who will? Then I’d ask them if they asked the same of sports, entertainment, political or food writers. This always seemed to give them pause for thought.
This was in the 1990s and early 2000s. A lot has changed since then and we can find a lot more Indigenous stories being told in the mainstream media by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous voices. But we still need more Indigenous voices driving the narrative in everything from the six o’clock news to feature films to the music we hear on top 40 radio stations, as well as in commercials and on billboards.
But there are organizations and companies doing the work, and making space for our voices. SiriusXM is making space on The Indigiverse (Channel 165) and this show — The Kim Wheeler Show.
I want to give a shout out to JJ Neepin. JJ is a director and a member of the Directors Guild of Canada. She was recently selected to take part in the Level UP program in partnership with Access Reelword. She’ll be shadowing on the tv series Hudson & Rex in Newfoundland and Labrador.It’s opportunities like this that help get Indigenous people through the door which hasn’t always been open for us. But once we get through that door the world is wide open to show off the skills this community has.
This week on The Kim Wheeler Show on The Indigiverse, I’m talking with Sarah Midanik. Sarah, a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta, is the President & CEO of the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund — a national charity that seeks to improve the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians.
This week’s airtimes:
Frida, July 30th at 4 pm ET
Saturday, July 31st at 12 pm ET
Sunday, August 1st at 7 pm ET
Monday, August 2nd at 1 pm ET
You can also listen to The Kim Wheeler Show on the SXM App