On November 10, 2022, the Indigenous Youth and Wellness team hosted a launch party to celebrate the sixth season of Teachings in the Air—an Indigenous health and wellness podcast led by Elder Gerry Oldman that aims to inspire, motivate and empower Indigenous people to be sound in mind, body and spirit.
Elder Gerry has had a longstanding relationship with PHSA and other health authorities across British Columbia, working as a consultant on a number of projects. At PHSA specifically, he supported the development of the San’yas Anti-Racism Indigenous Cultural Safety training program and the Cuystwi program, which was designed to support First Nations youth who are at high risk for suicide due to the generational impacts of colonization.
“I started this podcast because I thought it would be a good way to teach and inspire people. The assimilation process has taken a toll on our ability to pass down Indigenous knowledge and I know there's a hunger within our community to learn more about our culture. I thought a podcast would be a great platform for this,” says Elder Gerry.
In the past six years of production, Teachings in the Air has seen a diverse listenership with audiences tuning in across British Columbia and even as far as Russia and Ukraine. While the podcast focuses on issues faced by Indigenous people in Canada, it can be beneficial for anyone to enjoy.
“We’re all human beings and we have a shared history in this country. We can only form relationships when we take the time to understand one another. There’s a lot of stereotypes and untruths that exist and this podcast is a platform to correct some of those misconceptions,” says Elder Gerry. “I'm not here to create fog. I'm here to create an understanding. Once you understand, you'll know why an Indigenous patient coming in might be angry with you or why they are afraid or if they simply seem like they just don’t care. You'll have an understanding of what brought them to this level of existence.”
“Twenty-five percent of Indigenous people have serious mental health problems,” says Elder Gerry. “That’s the hard reality we’re facing.”
The sixth season of Teachings in the Air entitled “The Healing Road” includes a number of personal anecdotes and strategies to heal the mind, body and spirit. Also included are interviews with clinicians and counsellors to help destigmatize mental health counselling and seek help when it’s needed.
The sixth season of the Teachings in the Air podcast is now available on Spotify. Previous seasons are also available online.