"Family reunion": Métis podcast brings Indigenous speakers together

Feb 23 2022, 7:46 pm

It’s Métis-led, Métis-hosted, and highlights Métis voices — and a second season is on the way.

The host of the Métis Speaker Series podcast, Darian Kovacs, is unearthing their own identity through the creation of the podcast.

“I love the democratic nature of podcasting and the internet for this sort of thing, and I think more and more people are realizing there are three people groups in our Indigenous world, and Métis is one of them,” says Kovacs.

Kovacs’ father is a refugee from Hungary, but they didn’t know much about their mother’s history until their maternal grandfather passed away. 

While compiling information for his eulogy, they discovered he was Métis and didn’t tell anyone.

“Back then, if you were Métis, your birth certificate had you registered as a half-breed,” says Kovacs. 

“I think my grandpa was from a generation that was quite ashamed of being Indigenous. He never told his kids, you know. He didn’t broadcast that he was proud of it. He was the opposite of proud of it, and so my mom and aunts, my uncle was brought up not even knowing about it.” 

Making Métis Speaker Series was one opportunity for them to reclaim that knowledge and identity in a way that is positive and healing. They’re doing it not only for themselves but for other Métis people looking for a place to unite and celebrate what makes them special.

Kovacs started working on the podcast out of the desire to “flip the story [of] what it means to be Indigenous” — to be excited rather than ashamed. 

The podcast is a platform for Métis people to discuss their lives, thoughts, feelings, and experiences. It’s a way to pass down the wisdom and document stories that may otherwise be lost to time. 

Not just for Métis listeners, but entirely Métis-made, it’s a historical achievement Kovacs is thrilled to host. 

The project is funded by MNBC and led by Creative Lead Brittney Bertrand.

As for guests, they speak to everyone from Métis poets to medicine workers and elders on the show.

The reactions so far have been “incredible,” says Kovacs.

“Whether you are Métis to the core and you know it and you’re just kind of discovering this family for the first time and showing up to the family reunion like, ‘Oh, look at all my family members!’ — or if you’re not Métis, there has been a nice response,” they say.

“People were listening to it and discovering what this third ‘brand’ of Indigenous is.”

The other two they’re referring to are First Nations and Inuit, but many Canadians don’t know much about Métis people by comparison.

The people group is unique, with its own nation and identity that has changed wildly over the years. 

“Historically, the Indigenous voice hasn’t often been heard or seen in media, nor has it had a seat at the table. As a result, it’s been great — there has been a growth and inclusion of Indigenous writers, staff at different media outlets, but typically it’s a First Nations perspective,” they say.

“I think the Métis name and people haven’t had as strong of a voice.”

Métis Speaker Series can be streamed anywhere podcasts can be found. There’s a new episode every week, and they just renewed it for a second season.

To see a portrait of every guest in a Métis art form by Nevada Christianson, check out the podcast’s website. All of them will be displayed in a gallery in Vancouver for “Métis Now: Elders, artists, and activists” in March.

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