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Podcast initiative focused on sharing diverse stories

The Grande Prairie Friendship Centre and Peyakoskan Podcast Initiative are bringing together post-secondary and high school students as well as community leaders to look at a wide range of social issues in a soon-to-debut podcast series.

Some of the topics that will be covered are racism, discrimination, and truth and reconciliation. Peyakoskan Program Coordinator Cara Jones says podcasting is just an extension of oral tradition, in which elders pass down stories and knowledge to the next generation, and is building on what she calls the “knowledge transfer.” Participants in the initiative will be broken down into teams, with the post-secondary students or mentors leading a group of three high school students.

“Each team will pitch a segment around the topics that we discuss when we come together, and it will bring together their experiences,” Jones says. “They are going to interview each other because everyone has a story, and so they are going to learn the art of interviewing.”

Jones says since there are so many community leaders around the Peace Country for the podcast teams to talk to these conversations will bring to light what is happening in different communities and what people are doing around different initiatives that have to do with anti-racism and multiculturalism. While Peyakoskan is the Cree word for one nation, one family, and one tribe, the project is looking through a wider lens at the community as a whole and the different human beings and backgrounds involved. According to Jones, this is a mirror reflection of what she loves about the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre.

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“The Friendship Centre is open to everybody, Indigenous or non-Indigenous, and we all need to work together to create solutions, and understand our differences. So this is open to everybody from every background; the more backgrounds the better.”

In the past, Jones has been part of similar initiatives, including a TELUS workshop that was put on in Grande Prairie called Identity, which brought Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth together to talk documentary filmmaking. She explains one of the most moving parts of that experience was to see the “veil” lift between the youth, the experts, and those in the community. Jones hopes the podcast initiative program can have a similar outcome and be something the youth are proud of.

“I have to tell you, although I created the basic beginning of it, it has to be youth-led,” Jones says. “So we are looking for youth that wants to continue into the future, who want to be a part of creating something sustainable. Because it has to be youth-owned and is their voices, their experiences, and their knowledge of the trends that are happening, or things that we can’t see as adults. When it is youth owned and led it usually ends up being extremely successful.”

Jones and the Friendship Centre will be resources that participants can use to support the visions that they have for the project. They want to help these podcasters and podcast teams to create something they are proud of, that has longevity; something that can educate and inspire people across Canada and with the power that podcasting has even possibly the world.

The project will run from January to May of 2023 and is broken down into five steps. Along with learning interview skills and hearing other people’s stories, participants will learn about everything that goes into a podcast from choosing a name to creating graphics, editing the podcast, and learning how to promote it. The applications are open to students between the age of 16 and 24 years old.

For those interested in learning more about the program, including the criteria to be a mentor or a high school student participant, are encouraged to check out the initiative’s website.

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