On November 25th Tanya Talaga release her new podcast in partner with Audible.ca “7 Truths”. A show where indigenous people share their stories in relation to the 7 grandfather teachings of the Anishinaabe people; truth, love, humility, honesty, respect, truth, and bravery.
Please tell us about 7 truths
7 Truths is about the 7 grandfather teachings of the Anishinaabe people used in their everyday life, these teachings are meant as guide posts on living a well and good life. These teachings are love, humility, bravery, wisdom, honesty, respect, and truth, and what I did was I used each of the teachings and I told a contemporary story through those teachings to try and illustrate what they mean and kind of how we see the world through our eyes, in hope that it teaches others. You can use those teachings no matter who you are, anyone can look at those teachings and think about ” How can I conduct myself in a good way? Whether it’s when I wake up, or when I walk out the door, that I’m treating people with love and bravery, and acting in a way of wisdom. They apply to everyone.
This series is a learning journey for me; I just talk about walking in two worlds. I wasn’t raised in community, I was raised outside of Toronto. I feel like i’m learning everyday. I’m not an expert on anything, I’m learning as I go, and I think I take the listener with me.
Can you tell us about the seven grandfather teachings?
What’s cool for me is that we’re able to amplify Annishaabe women, which is also my language that I don’t know, that I’m learning. But Sam, who I call of course my elder, he’s done every single episode speaking of each of the teachings in our language , and that to me is really important that Sam and I have this platform where he’s able to teach the teaching of our language, because indigenous languages are on the decline and anything we can do for language retention, i’m all for it and it’s helping me learn too.
How long have you been working on this?
I pitched the idea to audible and they were like “okay we’ll do it.”, we started to do it and then COVID happened, and I was on a plane on march 12th coming back form Thunder Bay and we just got back from doing interviews for the episodes, but still had 3 more to go. When I’m working I tend to zone out of most moods, and I remember looking at Twitter on my phone and seeing “COVID” and the world shutting down. This project has been with me all throughout COVID. This occupied the most of my time and I’ve loved it. It’s been something to think about, especially when we see what’s happened all over the world.
How did you know now was/is the right time to express these stories and messege with the public?
Well, you never really know, do you? As creators and storytellers you just go with what moves you. You go with that voice inside of you saying “this is what you need to write, say, or do right now”. I hope that people listen and realize that this is a good thing to listen to especially in 2020. Besides COVID, we’ve seen the death of George Floyd, a greater awareness of police brutality, the defund police movement, violence against women, everything really. When you think of these teachings and listen to these stories it all comes into focus because it’s all about equity and about how we move forward as a society. It would’ve been great if everybody took these teachings to heart, this country would be such a better place if we all did a little bit of this everyday.
What are you hoping people take away from this/whats the goal?
I want people to listen with open hearts and open ears, and to hear the voices of people that they might not necessarily have heard before, or stories they might not have heard before. The episode on humility – is so great because all of the teachings are wrapped up in humility; what it is to be a good ally and what it means to accept people for who they are, regardless of the colour of their skin. I think that if we were just to listen and pay attention, you can ask yourself “I thought I was woke, but maybe I’m not. I need to hear this.”. That’s what I hope people gain from this, a little bit of introspection.
I was saying to someone else earlier “I have no idea what people are going to think.”, when you’re in this really weird period of when you finish the podcast episode and it’s released – and you can’t touch it anymore, and waiting for it to be up you’re like “Oh my god, did I do this right? Is this going to be liked?”.
Be sure to check out “7 Truth” November 25th with Audible.ca
“Thank you to everyone who participated and told their stories throughout. I always say man hands make change, and there were many hands in the making of these episodes. All the people whom agreed to be in the episode, and share very personal stories, this podcast wouldn’t be what it is if we didn’t have the voices speaking with me. I’m very grateful.”