Sparking conversation about issues faced by Canadian indigenous communities – from safe drinking water to pollution to flooding – is the purpose of a new podcast launched today by a team led by a University of Guelph student.

The “Water Dialogues” podcast aims to bring together western science and indigenous perspectives, said Lindsay Day, a master’s candidate in the Department of Population Medicine.

Water-Dialogues“Our work shows that the perspectives, values and ways of knowing of indigenous peoples in Canada have largely been ignored in decision-making processes around water,” said Day, who created the Water Dialogues podcast.

“While there is growing recognition that we need to do things differently, how to effectively and respectfully navigate approaches that engage diverse knowledge systems is an ongoing learning process.”

The podcast initiative stems from an 18-month research project funded by the Canadian Water Network based in Waterloo, Ont. Led by an interdisciplinary team from four universities – U of G, Queen’s University, Dalhousie University and Cape Breton University – this project integrated knowledge from First Nations, Inuit, Métis and settler peoples in Canada.

Using a narrative documentary format, the podcast contains recorded portions of a national meeting of 28 indigenous and non-indigenous water experts and researchers from across Canada.

Underlining the collaborative nature of the project, Day said, “We can all learn from the powerful voices and wisdom within this podcast.”