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Hanes: With a foot in two worlds, podcaster reclaims the Indigenous narrative

Janis Qavavauq-Bibeau’s actuality “is sort of each Indigenous individual’s actuality. … And I noticed, ‘OK, it’s not simply me.’ ”

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The exasperation in Nakuset’s voice is clear as she describes a case through which youth safety companies wished to grab the kids of an Inuit household as a result of they have been sitting on the ground to eat throughout a house go to.

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“They don’t get it. They see it as one thing that’s unsanitary; they don’t perceive that it’s a cultural approach,” says the director of the Native Girls’s Shelter throughout an interview in her workplace, describing the disproportionate variety of Indigenous kids in custody in Canada as a continuation of the residential college system.

That is no run-of-the-mill interview. It is a recorded dialog with Janis Qavavauq-Bibeau, who’s an outreach employee for the Native Girls’s Shelter in addition to a analysis director for the centre’s Iskweu venture.

Qavavauq-Bibeau can also be a podcaster, making her debut on the third season of the Indigenous 150+ podcast sequence, which shall be launched with a digital listening get together Thursday night. The frank, fly-on-the-wall alternate with Nakuset is featured in her first episode and illustrates her strategy to storytelling in addition to the sorts of tales she goals to inform.

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Behind the experience gleaned from their front-line work, this can be a dialogue between two ladies intimately accustomed to the maddening injustices of kid welfare insurance policies that also rip Indigenous youth from their heritage, cultures and communities. Nakuset was put up for adoption within the Sixties Scoop and Qavavauq-Bibeau additionally grew up in foster care.

Sharing the lived experiences of Indigenous folks — the traumas and the tragedies, in addition to the on a regular basis micro-aggressions — is without doubt one of the essential causes Qavavauq-Bibeau acquired into podcasting.

“I type of had a tough upbringing with my household. I believed it was simply my household as a result of I used to be in foster care, so all my associates didn’t have their grandmas murdered, their mother move away tremendous younger, suicides with an ‘s.’ After which I began working on the Native Girls’s Shelter and I type of realized, ‘Oh wait, my actuality is sort of each Indigenous individual’s actuality. They acquired their grandmas murdered, they acquired their aunties lacking.’ And I noticed, ‘OK, it’s not simply me,’ ” she advised the Montreal Gazette.

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“I used to be like, ‘You realize what? Perhaps doing a podcast speaking about Indigenous folks’s realities and what they undergo could be useful.’ There’s not one thing unsuitable with us genetically and that is why loads of Indigenous individuals are in care. It’s really due to trauma.”

With a foot in two worlds, Qavavauq-Bibeau stated she has a knack for speaking to folks from all backgrounds.

“I wish to say I’m like a colonized Inuk, as a result of I used to be raised in white foster care, so I slot in within the system, however I get to see each side. I take to each other with the group members and the homeless inhabitants of Montreal, however I additionally get together with government-level folks and may discuss to them tremendous properly,” she stated.

Qavavauq-Bibeau attracts on her work as inspiration for the podcast. By means of the Iskweu venture on the Native Girls’s Shelter, she acts as a liaison between the households of lacking Indigenous ladies and the police in Montreal. She compiled a database on murdered and lacking Indigenous ladies within the metropolis, connecting dots and scanning archives to uncover many extra instances.

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“I discovered an article that stated the RCMP solely estimated about 46 instances of girls which have been murdered,” Qavavauq-Bibeau stated. “So I created a database and since then I’ve discovered 205 names, which is like 4 instances larger, at the least.”

In one other episode, she interviews Cree journalist Connie Walker, who herself was instrumental in exposing the shameful apathy lengthy displayed towards lacking Indigenous ladies. The general public stress from such tales of institutional indifference resulted in a federal inquiry that tabled a report in 2019 with tons of of suggestions, the overwhelming majority nonetheless unrealized.

By inviting the listener into her conversations with different Indigenous folks, Qavavauq-Bibeau seeks to amplify their voices and reclaim a story that’s usually co-opted by outsiders.

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“The standard media has dehumanized Indigenous folks for therefore lengthy. When an Indigenous girl is lacking or murdered, they focus on the unsuitable issues, like being a intercourse employee or a drug addict. However it’s identical to, ‘She was an individual. She mattered to somebody,’ ” she stated.

“I’ll simply provide you with a fast instance: My mother handed away in 2006 and I acquired the coroner’s report. And the primary phrase of the coroner’s report is, ‘The shopper is overweight and is unclean.’ And I requested a journalist who’s used to studying coroner’s experiences, ‘Is that this one thing that you just see loads? You’ll be able to really feel the judgment within the first phrase of the coroner’s report.’ And she or he was like, ‘No, I’ve learn many, many coroner’s experiences and I’ve by no means learn that.’ I used to be like, ‘Wow, that’s tremendous hurtful.’ ”

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Qavavauq-Bibeau hopes to coach. Her supposed viewers is Indigenous and non-Indigenous folks alike. As an example, after Nakuset vents her frustration within the podcast, Qavavauq-Bibeau interjects to demystify why Inuit don’t at all times eat on the desk.

“Once we eat conventional meals, we sit on the kitchen flooring with numerous meals objects, like frozen meat or fish, positioned on prime of cardboard. The cardboard is typically positioned over a flat piece of plywood to guard the ground, and everybody gathers and sits across the space and cuts and shares the meals collectively,” she defined.

The third instalment of her podcast for Indigenous 150+ shall be her pilot on the Iskweu web site, the place Qavavauq-Bibeau intends to proceed storytelling by this accessible medium, due to coaching she acquired from Good Affect Movies.

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She needs to do a program on the Indigenous expertise in well being care, and invite as audio system a number of the unhoused Indigenous folks she meets by her outreach work.

“I believe I give off a safe-person vibe they usually simply inform me all their tales and I’m like, ‘Wow, I perceive why you may have an alcohol dependancy or a drug dependancy. I actually do get why and I don’t choose you.’ It’s really easy to disregard them and simply faux that you just’re not seeing them. They fall by the cracks of society, so I actually want to have Indigenous homeless folks come share their tales.”

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