The Arctic Youth Network set out to interview the hosts of some of our community’s favourite podcasts. On Friday July 23, 2021 I had the pleasure of interviewing the podcast hosts of a brand-new podcast series called “Decolonizing Power.”
“Decolonizing Power” is an endeavor produced by Indigenous Clean Energy. The series aims to highlight inspirational stories focused on Indigenous and community-led clean energy projects from across the globe. Its first episode, titled “Kakinaw Ayawin,” aired on May 26, 2021.
The editing of the podcast, the music, the friendly, funny, and educational banter between the hosts, and the truly remarkable stories told by the guests creates a perfect podcast to enjoy on a Sunday morning with a cup of your favourite tea. The excellent production of the podcast makes it almost impossible to tell that the hosts and the guests are never actually in the same room. They are actually, in some cases, oceans apart.
The hosts of the podcast, Freddie Huppé Campbell, and Mihskakwan James Harper, have interesting educational and professional backgrounds.
Freddie is a Métis woman from the traditional unceded territory of the Ktunaxa and Kinbasket Peoples, also known as Kimberley, BC and currently resides in Ottawa, traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Public Policy from the University of Mary, and a Master’s of Science in Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding from Durham University, UK. She is the global hub program coordinator of Indigenous Clean Energy.
Mihskakwan James is from Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation in Treaty 8 Territory, Alberta. He currently is a development analyst at NRStor Inc., a Canadian energy storage developer. He graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering and has recently completed a Master’s of Science in Renewable Energy from KTH Royal Institute of Technology and Ecole Polytechnique, with entrepreneurial training from ESADE Business School.
The expertise and the positive energy of Freddie and Mihskakwan James fills their episodes with educational and heart-warming stories. Here’s a teaser of some of the highlights of my interview with the dynamic duo. Our conversation has been condensed and edited for clarity.
What’s next for Decolonizing Power?
James: There are so many possibilities […] I will say that the podcast is a stepping stone to facilitating even more voices and even more stories to be shared in an international space. […] My perspective is that until Indigenous people are authentically empowered through Indigenous Action and Climate policy climate policy will always fall short of what is actually needed.
The Arctic Context
James: […] For the Arctic through my work, we’re trying to get a project completed […] and through that we’ve had to work with different technological providers for example because the “one size fits all” renewable situation just doesn’t work. It simply doesn’t work and it can’t work. […] in the Arctic, especially in the Arctic. […] A large-scale solar developer who typically does things in the South may not know that bifacial solar panels are better. I didn’t even know this myself, but apparently, they capture a lot of sun reflection from the snow in the winter, so if you have another side of panels on the other side of the array you capture all of that sun as well. An interesting feature of doing renewables in the North. Another one being deicing heating for wind-turbine blades. […] These little nuances where if they get missed it will actually negatively harm the overall design and energy solutions for the community. And I think with things like that it needs to be community centered and as much as possible have as much local input into its design, implementation, construction, all the way through, end to end making sure it’s a success and fits with the community’s needs.
James: [00:32:55] As Freddie was saying too, from an Indigenous lens, not to put us all sort of in a monolith per se, but I think that it’s fair to say that as the original stewards of the land there is a responsibility to make sure that generations ahead also experience the beauty and the wonders of the gifts that the Earth provides and this is what motivates me to do the work. And honestly it’s a great exchange of energy in a figurative sense because that’s what the interconnectedness is about, that’s what relationships are about […]. What’s the quote: “Clean energy starts with good energy” and I’m glad that we shared it all today. Thank you.