Dufferin News

Local Podcasters Explore Reconciliation

Talking Twenty - How To Take Progressive Action Towards Reconciliation

To observe Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, an honest but non-confrontational conversation has been released between two local podcasters and Madelaine McCracken, a Métis woman pursuing her Ph.D. who supports educators in teaching Indigenous curriculums to students.

“I think our main takeaway for listeners is to consider other people’s emotions and just leading with kindness when having these difficult conversations,” said Bridget O’Rourke, co-host of Talking Twenty. “We want to demonstrate how to have these difficult conversations in a way that isn’t confrontational or scary.”

This week, the podcast ‘Talking Twenty’ published a two-part series titled “How to Take Progressive Action Towards Reconciliation.” In the first episode, McCracken and the hosts discuss topics such as what it means to be Métis, the importance of educating oneself on Indigenous history and how to begin that process, and an explanation of why Indigenous individuals were hidden for so long and how they are reconnecting with and reclaiming their community and culture. The second installment delves into residential schools, treaties, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and how it got its start. The trio also discusses how to approach conversations surrounding Indigenous history in a trauma-informed way, in addition to how to advocate with and for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples to the government. Moreover, McCracken explains how Orange Shirt Day came to be and what it’s all about.

“A lot of people aren’t as educated as they should be, but they also don’t know where to start,” said O’Rourke, who explains that a vital message imparted by McCracken was to not rely on a single Indigenous friend or relative to be an educator. “You really have to be the one to teach yourself, and then you can ask them for their story.”

Mary Margaret Courtney, who also co-hosts Talking Twenty, told Dufferin News that one of the points McCracken emphasized was being trauma-informed when having conversations on sensitive subjects such as residential schools. 

“Being trauma-informed is making sure you are considering people’s history and where their trauma may be coming from, whether its generational trauma or their own. These conversations are sensitive,” said Courtney. “I think where a lot of the conversations go awry is when people get triggered and then the conversation doesn’t go anywhere because your emotions take over your brain.” 

Courtney tells how McCracken explains how one becomes trauma-informed and how one can be physically, emotionally, and mentally aware of the different experiences of those listening to and participating in conversations.

“Madelaine points out ways that you can be a bit more sensitive so that the conversation may be more productive and carry itself better,” said Courtney, being candid in saying that she and O’Rourke are far from experts in the area. “Like we were so nervous about interviewing her with these questions because we were two Canadian-Irish girls who got whatever education was given to us. Some of it was correct, some of it incorrect, so we’re just learning now.”

The hosts said the way they’ve approached learning more about Indigenous history and culture is to ‘just dig into it’ and start learning people’s stories, and that doing so is one small step towards taking progressive action towards reconciliation. 

For those interested in listening to Talking Twenty, including the two-part series featuring the conversation with Madelaine McCracken regarding Truth and Reconciliation, the show is accessible for free through major podcasting platforms. Listeners can also stay up to date by following Talking Twenty on social media, including Instagram and Facebook. If one is interested in appearing as a guest, inquiries can be submitted to podcast@talkingtwenty.com.

To keep up with McCracken and her work, one can follow her on Instagram @madelaine.mccracken and Twitter @educatetheearth. Madelaine McCracken is expected to join the hosts for an Instagram Live session this Friday where listeners can help support them in fundraising for the Orange Shirt Society. If you would like to donate to the Orange Shirt Society directly, one can do so by going to the Orange Shirt Day website orangeshirtday.org/donations.html

Bridget O’Rourke and Mary Margaret Courtney are lifelong friends in their twenties who grew up in Orangeville and started the podcast Talking Twenty earlier this year. The show features conversations with millennials and how they are navigating through life. The duo says the podcast aims to help listeners gain a general yet accurate understanding of the different struggles people face.

“We’re growing up in this digital age that nobody’s ever grown up in before, and what we see on social media a lot of the time is fake,” said O’Rourke. 

Courtney followed this up by saying they want to get past the Instagram feeds and learn about the actual struggles others in their twenties are going through and how they’re dealing with it.

“We want to see the struggles that got you here because that’s adversity and that’s where the lessons are,” said Courtney.

The premiere episode of Talking Twenty was titled “Talking Transgender” which featured a discussion about being a supportive ally with a transgender man named Liam Jotham. Another episode spoke to adapting to changing circumstances in career, parenting, and the pandemic. Currently, episodes are released every other week, with a pre-release chat between the two hosts published a week prior. As mentioned, one can access the show through major podcasting platforms or by going to talkingtwenty.com.

Talking Twenty

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