Senior Deep Roots producer Greg Osaba (left) and Natalia Nybida, producer of Who Speaks for Brother Wolf. Photo by Odette Auger

Cortes Radio documentary series links environmental issues and First Nations knowledge

Cortes Radio’s premier documentary series, Deep Roots, is returning for a second season.

A collaboration between the community radio station on Cortes Island and the Klahoose First Nation, Deep Roots originated a year-and-a-half ago from a proposal sent to the Community Radio Fund of Canada by Odette Auger and David Rousseau. The idea was to take contemporary environmental issues and look at them through the lens of traditional knowledge and culture, Rousseau told Cortes Island blogger Ray Hales (the ECOReport).

The program, aimed at building skills and generating original stories, is an outreach project bringing radio into the community in a much deeper way, Rousseau told TheECOReport.

As a community voice, Cortes Radio is usually the voice of whomever steps up to create programming on the community radio station. Deep Roots is a proactive reach into the community, particularly a part of the community that has a growing awareness that it has stories to tell and is opening up to writing in a new way, Rousseau said.

For the first season, 10 story producers from teenagers to seniors were recruited to create 30 minute documentaries. They trained under former CBC producer Rob Selmanovic and former radio news reporter, and Cortes Radio senior producer and series producer, Greg Osoba, provided the project’s oversight. Many of the documentarians were complete neophytes and the productions developed presenting and interviewing skills.

One of the documentaries produced by then-fifteen-year-old Natalia Nybida is called Who Speaks for Brother Wolf? and involved the young producer talking to all the correspondents she had worked with and asking them what they would say to brother wolf.

“And what comes out is really profound,” Rousseau said.

Another documentary, entitled Finding Gilean Douglas & the Protected place, reflects on Cortes Island’s best-known ecological philosopher. Secrets of the Cedar Weavers follows the history of a hat to show how this trdition continues today.

You can access all 10 podcasts from the DEEP ROOTS INITIATIVE link at the top of Cortes Radio’s website.

For the second season, a stronger link between the stories and the First Nations legends and traditional knowledge and culture has been made. Ten new projects are currently in production and will be ready soon.