"Why Science" airs on Windspeaker radio in Alberta every week throughout September, October, November, and December.
Listen Wednesdays and Fridays on CJWE 88,1
, The Raven
, and Cuzin radio
online. We will update this page
weekly with more information about each subject and guest. Enjoy the features and if you have any questions or comments, please drop us a line
Week of November 29th
Guest: Donna Saucier
Donna Saucier is a registered nurse and a Regional Program Coordinator with First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba
. As an Indigenous nurse she understands many of the problems faced by her First Nations clients and is able to get more buy-in to treatment programs. She also works hard to incorporate tradition and culture into Western medicine practices into the care she is able to provide to the communities she visits. Donna says she has always wanted to help people and finds her work to deal with diabetes in First Nations communities to be rewarding and important.
Week of November 22nd
Guest: Tim Patterson
Tim Patterson was born Morris Coutlee a member of the Lower Nicola Indian Band that belongs to the Scw̓éxmx (“People of the Creeks”) a branch of the Nlaka'pamux (Thompson) Nation of the Interior Salish peoples of British Columbia Canada. He is a guide and integrates Indigenous knowledge into his business.
Science is knowledge says Tim, and we are never very far from it because it is with us everyday. And science is also all about story. The story of how a fish moves, when it moves, why it moves, and how the ecology affects it. All we need to do is observe the fish and the world around it he says. It becomes part of our cumulative knowledge.
Week of November 15th
Guest: Zoe Todd
Zoe Todd is a Métis anthropologist from Amiskwaciwâskahikan (Edmonton) in the Treaty Six Area of Alberta, and a professor of sociology at Carleton University. She writes about fish, art, environmental change, and Métis legal traditions.
Indigenous science can be viewed as an a body of knowledge for sustaining communities and can play an important role in creating a better future for everyone. The view that Indigenous science could help us with our current sustainability and biodiversity crises was the focus of Quirks & Quarks on CBC radio in June. Zoe was one of the guests on the program and you can hear the full 20-minute segment
where she points out how Indigenous and Western science can be blended successfully.
Week of November 8th
Guest: Adele Sweeny
Adele Sweeny is a Registered Nurse and Program Director at First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba
(FNHSSM). She is from Wabowden in Manitoba and her band is Pimicikamak Cree Nation. One of the underlying philosophies of her work is to work at the community level to emphasize disease prevention and promote better health.That community level work has been disrupted by the pandemic and Ms. Sweeny is worried about the effects of the break that may not become apparent for quite some time. The FNHSSM works with the 63 AMC member First Nations in Manitoba, 7 tribal councils, and the 3 Provincial Territorial Organizations in Manitoba.
Week of November 1st
Guest: Naomi Ruth Lee
is an assistant professor in the department of chemistry and biochemistry at Northern Arizona State University. She grew up on the Seneca-Cattaraugus Reservation in western New York and as an undergrad student benefited from having a strong mentor.
Her research today focuses on vaccine development, and research to improve Indigenous health care, STEM education, and mentoring to help Indigenous youth find a career in science. Naomi is involved with the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science and wants to see young people encouraged to aim high. She also wants to see indigenous knowledge incorporated into STEM. After all she says, "We were the original chemists, biologists, neuroscientists of this land.
Week of October 25th
Guest: Kevin Ahkimnachie
Kevin Ahkimnachie is the Director of Livelihood with Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta and is part of the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) project at the University of Alberta (funded in part by Genome Alberta). He is particularly interested in the the effects and spread of CWD because of its importance to "country foods" which many Indigenous communities rely on. CWD is a fatal disease found in cervids - deer, elk, moose, caribou, and reindeer - and the Government of Canada says that as a precaution, people should not eat any part of an animal that has tested positive for CWD
. Managing the CWD problem isn't all about the meat either, as many parts of the animal are used for things such as tanning hides.
Apart from applying science to the problem of CWD, Kevin feels that the science surrounding air, land, and water can help protect and preserve hunting, fishing, trapping, harvesting, and gathering rights.
Week of October 18th
Zoe Todd is a Métis anthropologist at Carleton University who writes about fish, art, environmental change, and Métis legal traditions.
Fish are more than food in Indigenous culture - they are part of a world view and of the relationship with nature. Zoe not only studies fish and their habitat but also fish and their relationship with people, with culture, and with art and restor(y)ing. She is part of Freshwater Fish Futures
which is a collective of scientists, artists, writers, landscape architects, architects, environmentalists, journalists, and community leaders dedicated to protect freshwater fish locally and globally, for now and into the future.
Week of October 11th
Guest: Lee Wilson
Lee Wilson is a professor at the University of Saskatchewan in the department of chemistry.
As your Why Science editor was preparing this post there was a news headline that brought this episode into perspective. “Iqaluit issues Do Not Consume for town’s drinking water
” because of what appears to be fuel contamination. We cannot always tell what is wrong with our water, but as Lee says we sometimes need to rely on science to tell if our water is safe so we can take charge and address some of the issues affecting our water. It involves chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics, and yes, traditional knowledge.
There was a time when we were confident in the quality and quantity of our water supply, but that is not necessarily the reality today. Lee says the upcoming generation should consider going into science and looking at the world in dual ways to come up with better practices to ensure sustainability.
Week of October 4th
Guest: Michell Hogue
Michelle Hogue is an assistant professor and co-ordinator in the First Nations Transition Program at the University of Lethbridge. Living on the land for as long as Indigenous people have, means being closely connected to the science of the land and that connection has always been part of Michelle's career in science. She says that Indigenous science is life and living, while western science often is a step removed. Michelle has focused much of her time at the University of Lethbridge bridging Indigenous ways of knowing with western education methods. We should also note that Michelle was one of the first to step up and help us with this series and was willing to give her time to an untried idea. Thank-you Michelle!
Week of September 27
Guest: Edward Doolittle
Edward Doolittle is a Mohawk from Six Nations in Ontario and is an Associate Professor at the First Nations University of Canada at the University of Regina.
Think mathematics is not part of your life everyday? Hard to keep track of hockey statistics without math. Or balance a cheque book or set out on a trip without knowing how far you are going or how long it will take to get there. Try building something without measuring. You need it to add a deck to your house. Or think of the box where light was once kept in the beginning
- before the Raven stole the box and let loose the light.
Week of September 20th
Guest: Latiya Northwest
Latiya is from the Samson Cree Nation in Maskwacîs and is a student at the University of Alberta's Environmental and Conservation Sciences and Native Studies program. Environmental sustainability is a global ambition and responsive, community based models have often proved to be a successful approach. The United Nations has targeted areas such as sustainable consumption, sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, forests management, reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss. Indigenous communities personify these goals by already having a strong interconnection to the natural world and an ecological view of the world woven in their culture and communities. In this segment, Latiya emphasizes how knowledge of animal behaviour, plant regeneration, and even forest management through prescribed burning has been passed on through generations of storytelling.
Week of September 13th
Guest: Robbie Potts
Robbie is a Plains Cree and works on our Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) project at the University of Alberta. CWD is a fatal prion disease which affects deer, elk, reindeer, and moose. It is found mostly in Saskatchewan and Alberta with a few reported cases in Quebec. It is not passed on to people, but the Government of Canada says that as a precaution, people should not eat any part of an animal that has tested positive for CWD.