The podcast

Porcupine Podcast Logo

This is Porcupine. In this podcast series, hosts Merrell-Ann Phare and Michael Miltenberger explore reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous Canadians. Listen in as they have in-depth, funny, and revealing discussions with a variety of people, from activists to comedians, who are all focusing on reconciliation in big, small, and surprising ways.

Why “Porcupine”? There’s this old joke that goes: How do two porcupines hug? Carefully. And such is the story of reconciliation – at least so far.

“We’re all treaty people, and we’re all Canadians.” 

– Michael Miltenberger

“It’s also my country and my future and the future of people I love, including Indigenous and non-Indigenous people – I just think [reconciliation] is everybody’s responsibility, regardless of who you are.”

– Merrell-Ann Phare

Season Two

With: Steven Nitah

Steven Nitah, a Dene from the Northwest Territories, negotiated a protected area in the heart of diamond mining country and his traditional territories. As Steve will tell you, this protected area, five times the size of Prince Edward Island, is an essential part of reconciliation for his people because it’s about co-governance.


Episode 2: The Human Right to a Healthy Environment: How It Can Transform Society and Achieve Reconciliation

With David Boyd

   35:57         Play Episode           Download       Environment, Human RightsReconciliation

If you think the United Nations has nothing to do with your day to day life, think again. Lawyer and United Nations Special Rapporteur David Boyd will show you how the human right to a healthy environment is a game-changer for reconciliation.


Episode 3: Addressing the Indigenous Health Gap: Reconciliation Through Bridging Western and Indigenous Medicines

With Nicole Redvers
   39:42         Play Episode           Download    Health CareIndigenous MedicineReconciliationTraditional HealingWestern Medicine
Nicole Redvers walked into the wrong lecture at the University of Lethbridge and it changed her life. Now, as a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, she works to help heal using traditional Indigenous medicine and Western medicine.


Episode 4: Finding Healing After Surviving Residential Schools in Canada

With George Tuccaro

   31:07         Play Episode           Download   HealingReconciliationResidential Schools

From residential school to singing on stage with George Jones, George Tuccaro shares his courageous journey from the drunk tank to professional CBC broadcaster, and why personal healing is essential to reconciliation…and joy.


Episode 5: Reconciliation: Redefined by an Indigenous Spiritual Leader

With Stan McKay

   32:40         Play Episode           Download    ReconciliationSpiritual Leader

What do a Cree Elder, a theologian, and an ex-Moderator of the United Church of Canada all have in common? They are all Stan McKay, and he’s going to talk to us about what a covenant of reconciliation is, and why the earth needs to be part of it.


Episode 6: Reconciliation and Serving the World Through Sustainable Engineering

With Kerry Black

   26:56         Play Episode           Download           Engineering ,  ReconciliationRenewable Energy

Engineering Professor Kerry Black says that engineers working with First Nations need to focus on building relationships not just buildings. She’s passionate that her profession has some fundamental changes to make if they are going to be part of reconciliation.


Episode 7: How Housing Could Save the Lives of MMIWG

With Lesa Semmler

  46:02         Play Episode       Download       HousingMMIWGReconciliation
Her mother was murdered when Lesa Semmler was eight. Now a politician and advocate for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, Lesa explains why having a place to go can save a life and is vital for reconciliation.


Episode 8: Exploring Reconciliation through Clean Energy in Indigenous Communities

With Professor Diana Lewis and Professor Heather Castleden

  46:02         Play Episode           Download         Reconciliation, Renewable Energy

Professor Diana Lewis and Professor Heather Castleden are frustrated that First Nations still get resistance from big power utilities when they want to build renewable energy projects. For them and the First Nations they work with, reconciliation is based on good energy.


Episode 9: Reconciliation and Climate Change: Indigenous Peoples Taking Action

With Dianne Saxe

   28:23         Play Episode           Download       Environmental Law, Reconciliation

Environmental lawyer and now green party politician Dianne Saxe reveals how speaking truth to power sometimes comes at great personal cost and that when it comes to environment and reconciliation, hope combined with action is the only way forward. 


Episode 10: Indigenous Economic Reconciliation: The Way to a Strong Canadian Economy

With Dan Christmas

   27:23         Play Episode           Download         Economic Development, Indigenous Governance, Membertou First Nation, Reconciliation

Dan Christmas helped transform his community, Membertou First Nation, from rags to riches. He explains why creating an environment where business can thrive is key to reconciliation.