Feb 4, 2021
Early January, Canadian Geographic and the Métis Nation—Saskatchewan (MN—S) launched a Métis culture podcast aimed at exploring the rich Métis culture and Michif Language. The ‘Paykiiwikay’ Métis Culture Podcast, aired on January 12 and featured Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program (SUNTEP) Regina faculty member Russell Fayant.
The first episode of the series is titled Michif History, Language, and Culture with Russell Fayant. During the episode, Russell shares the history of the Métis Nation in Saskatchewan using his own family stories and personal connections to the Michif language.
Russell is Métis from the Qu’Appelle Valley in southern Saskatchewan, where his family settled back in the 1860s as Michif buffalo hunters after leaving Manitoba to escape colonization. Most of the Michif speakers in his family are elders, and he is the first generation that did not speak Michif, so he had to work to reclaim the language for himself. As an educator, Russell has dedicated his life to keeping Michif alive by teaching courses on the language. He states, “Michif is the language of reconciliation because it incorporates diverse worldviews of settler society as well as the Indigenous community in equal parts.”
The podcast will air ten episodes hosted by Métis artist and writer, Leah Dorion and produced by veteran Métis broadcast journalist, David McGuffin. In an article by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, David shared that “Working on ‘Paykiiwikay’ has been one of the highlights of his broadcast career.”
‘Paykiiwikay’ is Michif for “come and visit,” and each episode features conversations with Métis elders, educators, and leaders from across the province. With a wide range of topics to come, the podcast hopes to address the need to preserve heritage, tradition, and Métis identity.
Coming up in May, another Gabriel Dumont Institute (GDI) staff member, Amy Briley, will be featured on the podcast with an episode on Métis beading. ‘Paykiiwikay’ can be streamed on Apple Music, Google Play, Amazon Music, Spotify, and Soundcloud. New episodes are released every two weeks.