Canadian Geographic and Métis Nation–Saskatchewan (MN–S) are proud to present ‘Paykiiwikay’ Métis Culture Podcast, a new online series exploring the rich Métis culture and Michif language.  

Hosted by interdisciplinary Métis artist, mentor and author Leah Dorion the first ten episodes of ‘Paykiiwikay,’ which is Michif for “come and visit,” takes listeners on a journey through Métis communities around the province of Saskatchewan.

"Working on ‘Paykiiwikay’ has been one of the highlights of my broadcast career,” says producer and veteran journalist David McGuffin. “I am proud of my Métis roots, which date back to the fur trade.  Like too many Canadians my understanding of the story of the Métis people faded out at the Battle of Batoche and the defeat of Louis Riel. Working with Leah and the Métis Nation–Saskatchewan on this series has opened my eyes to the depth and richness of Métis history, language and culture. I hope our listeners gain as much from listening to this ten part journey, as I did from working on it." 

Episode 1:

An introduction to Michif language, history and culture with Russell Fayant. Fayant shares the history of the Métis Nation in Saskatchewan using his own family story as an example of how the Michif language almost died, and is now rallying back though programs like SUNTEP Regina that promote Michif language, and summer immersion programs at Lebret Farms.

 

Episode 2:

This interview with award winning Métis singer, songwriter, performer, actor, and writer Andrea Menard explores how she is working to promote the use of Michif language, teachings, and worldview through her own contemporary artistic practice. Menard shares her worldly advice for any Métis person wanting to enter the entertainment industry. 

Episode 3:

This podcast explores the stories of language loss and its impact on Métis elders and community members. Elder Calvin Racette teaches us about the historical factors about why Michif language is endangered today. This episode talks about the Road Allowance experience and how racism and exclusion devalued their personal Michif language retention and fluency.   

Episode 4: 

Jenni Lessard is one of Canada’s top chefs and proud of her Saskatchewan Métis roots. She and Leah talk about why making and processing traditional Métis foods, including the harvesting of local ingredients, helps contribute to the preservation of Michif language and identity.  

Episode 5: 

This episode of Paykiiwikay takes a deep dive into the history of the Michif language, from its earliest roots in the fur trade, up to the present day and why Michif language preservation is so important. Our guest is Norman Fleury. He is considered the world's leading Michif language expert, translator, and knowledge keeper. 

Episode 6: 

In this episode, award-winning Métis musician Adam Daigneault talks about his love of traditional Métis fiddle music, his influences and mentors in northern Saskatchewan, the centuries long history of the fiddle in the northwest and its importance to Métis people. Adam is also the fiddler who plays the Paykiiwikay theme song, Buffalo Gals. He tells us about the Red River origins of this classic Michif song. 

Episode 7:

Métis elder Joanna Potyondi traces her roots back to one of the first Michif leaders, Cuthbert Grant, the hero of a crucible moment in the birth of the Metis people, the Battle of Seven Oaks in 1816. And she has Grant's shotgun to prove it. Now in her 80's, Grandma Joe was raised in Roche Percée, Southern Saskatchewan, by her grandparents who were born in the midst of the Métis Resistance of the 1880's. She has lived her life steeped in the rich heritage of Métis horse culture that grew out of the years of the buffalo hunt and has dedicated her life to sharing the stories and traditions of Saskatchewan’s Qu’Appelle Valley with the generations that have followed.

Episode 8:

On this episode of Paykiiwikay, we're joined by award winning Métis educator, Cort Dogniez. He is an active leader in the revival of the Michif language for urban Métis in his hometown of Saskatoon and beyond. A teacher with decades of experience in Indigenous education, he is currently the Métis Education Program Leader based at St. Michael’s Elementary School in Saskatoon. There he developed and helps guide the groundbreaking core Michif program for young learners that was launched in 2019.

Episode 9:

Amy Briley, a leading Metis traditional beadwork and sewing expert, is our guest on this episode of Paykiiwikay. She and Leah talk about the history and traditions of Métis beadwork, of one of the defining aspects of Métis culture. Amy discusses her own Métis heritage and how she came to be an author and leading educator on Métis sewing traditions through her work at the Gabriel Dumont Institute. She recalls working on her first pair of moccasins, the art of choosing the right moosehide, how to get started in beadwork and why this craft is vitally important to keep alive.
 

 

Episode 10:

On this final episode of Paykiiwikay - Season 1, we travel to the thriving Métis community of Île-à-la-Crosse, the heartland of the Northern Michif dialect, to meet with the man who has arguably done more than any other to revitalize Northern Michif as a living language. This year, Vincent Ahenakew is retiring as the principal of the Rossignol High School where, for decades, he spearheaded efforts to bring Michif into the school curriculum. He was so successful, that having passed a course in Michif is now a requirement to graduate, and Michif can be heard in the hallways, classrooms and read in text-books, many of which Ahenakew translated himself. He also literally wrote the book on Northern Michif, as the creator of the Michif/Cree Dictionary: Nêhiyawêwin Masinahiķan, published with the Gabriel Dumont Institute. You can also hear his voice on the “Northern Michif To Go” language app that he helped develop.  We hope you enjoy this episode with one of the great Metis educators. 
 
Host Leah Dorion and producer David McGuffin would like to thank their colleagues at the Métis Nation–Saskatchewan and Canadian Geographic for making this season possible. They also want to thank their guests for their wonderful telling of the story of the Métis people, and to you, their listeners, for making this podcast a success. It is now a featured series on Apple Podcasts Indigenous Voices category.
 

Mína ka wapamitin! See you in Season 2!