New Indigenous-focussed CFUV podcast Dene Talk covers modern stories of resilience, resistance, and resurgence

Culture

Dene Talk is the beginning not the end of more Indigenous programming at CFUV, says series creator Cassidy Villebrun-Buracas

dene talk by nicole neidhardt
Artwork by Nicole Neidhardt

A new Indigenous-focussed CFUV podcast that covers modern stories of resilience, resistance, and resurgence has recently released its first two episodes. Dene Talk was created by Cassidy Villebrun-Buracas, a member of the K’atlo’deeche First Nation with Métis heritage, currently living on unceded W̱SÁNEĆ and Lək̓ʷəŋən lands.

Dene Talk is a podcast that focuses on contemporary Indigenous stories related to each episode’s theme.

The idea to start a podcast originally came to Villebrun-Buracas through his role as the Indigenous media producer at CFUV. Though he has not always worked in radio, telling stories has been a long-time passion of Villebrun-Buracas’s.

“Previous to [the CFUV position] I was working in restaurants on and off for about 10 years or so,” he said. “I’ve always had a strong passion for podcasting and story telling. My mom worked for the CBC, so I grew up with radio being a big part of my childhood.”

For now, the podcast is a three-part series that covers the topics of resilience, resistance, and resurgence — with each episode presenting stories that centre around one of these themes.

“This project has really allowed me to put into words a lot of the feelings that I have about colonialism. And I really wanted to tell these stories that really didn’t stray away from the violence that a lot of Indigenous people face living in a colonial society,”  Villebrun-Buracas said. There needs to be focus on the real pain and trauma that Indigenous people face, but also the parts of Indigenous life that are “very rich, beautiful and expressive,” he commented.

Each episode of the podcast features multiple guests. The guests chosen all have been involved in, or contributed something to, the main topic covered in the episode. For example, the first episode, on resilience, features two Indigenous women, Shayli Robinson and Gwen Villebrun, as they recount their life experiences and discuss the challenges they have faced. The second, on resistance, features two land and water defenders, Pihesiw and Nila-Aks.The third episode of Dene Talk will cover the topic of resurgence and will be released during Dene Talk’s airtime on Wednesdays at 11 a.m.

When it came time to choose the guests, Villebrun-Buracas initially looked to those who he had a personal relationship with for interviewing.

“I interviewed my aunt, who was a big part of my life growing up and a huge inspiration,” he said. “The first couple of people that I reached out to, I definitely looked close to home and to people that I had connections with.”

Making the podcast was an overall positive experience and he owes it to CFUV, his family, and partner for their support, says Villebrun-Buracas, but there were challenges that came with the process.

“It’s been very positive, [but] it has also been incredibly challenging. I think that, for myself, battling imposter syndrome and battling this fear of not being worthy, that I have no idea what I’m doing, that no one wants to hear my stories,” he said. “It has gotten easier over time to process that.”

Although there are only three episodes slated as of now, Villebrun-Buracas said there are vague plans to continue Dene Talk into the future, as well as to offer more Indigenous media in his newer role as Indigenous Programming Coordinator. For now, the plan is for Villebrun-Buracas to have two projects every month or so. One will focus on a topic with a greater level of depth, similar to the format of Dene Talk, and the other will be a radio show that will cover broader topics.

Villebrun-Buracas emphasizes that he is open to collaboration, and urges anyone with story ideas, an interest in being interviewed, or just the desire to learn about his position to reach out to him through his contact information at denetalk.ca.

Dene Talk can be streamed from all major platforms including Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and  Soundcloud.