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A groundbreaking new Indigenous radio show

February 5, 2010

Healing Perspectives on Village 900, Camosun's student powered radio station.

Back L to R: Dan Mack, Trevor Day, Richard Spearman
Front L to R: Annie Banks, Nathan Moss

When Trevor Day first enrolled in the Indigenous Studies Circle Seminar at Camosun College, the last thing he expected was to find himself hosting Healing Perspectives, Village 900’s newest weekly radio program. Now, Trevor and his classmates have teamed up to forge a groundbreaking new show. Healing Perspectives airs at 7pm on Tuesday evenings, and again at 9am on Sunday mornings.

Despite Trevor’s busy school schedule, he makes the time to gather diverse groups of people and co-ordinate the weekly recording sessions. He also made time to take us behind the scenes to explain what the show is about, and how it all began.

“It (the Talking Circle Seminar) was taught by Ruth Lyall last semester, and I found it to be a very powerful experience. I had never participated in a circle before, and I was surprised at how comfortable I felt speaking in front of a large group.”

“My Indigenous ancestry comes from the Secwepemc Nation in the central interior of BC, near Cache Creek” says Trevor. “I’m a first year student in the Indigenous Studies program here at Camosun, and am very grateful to be learning about my heritage. I wish to acknowledge the Coast Salish people, whose land we work and study on today.”

Starting the show

“The original idea for an Indigenous radio show was put forward by Sylvia Fee, one of my classmates. Richard Spearman, who is also very involved, asked me if I had any ideas,” says Day. “I though it would be great if we could somehow take our Indigenous Studies Circle Seminar class and put it on the air.”

With the help of Nathan Moss, William Morris and Assistant Producer Richard Spearman, new episodes are recorded every Friday.

Participants, including Trevor, sit in a circle at Village 900 studios and let each episode evolve as the day’s topic is discussed. All the while, Richard Spearman deftly covers the microphone duties while monitoring the recording. The first episodes include discussions on identity, spirituality, leadership, and motivation.

“We try to keep the topics broad, so that they are open to interpretation. This way it allows participants more flexibility in trying to convey their unique perspective and we have a more dynamic and less homogenous discussion” adds Trevor.

On-air healing circle

Taking the experience of a healing circle into a recording studio adds another, larger dimension. As the emotions and feelings of each participant are expressed, the microphones are on and the recording equipment is rolling. Once edited to fit the one hour time slot, these intimate moments are then given freely to the world each time the show is broadcast.

In keeping with the respect that the healing circle demands from all involved, every effort is made to minimize post-production editing. Other than removing the inevitable noises that sneak in while the microphones are repositioned, what is said in the circle is retained in the recording exactly as it was said.
During each session, Trevor leads with a careful but kind watch on the process to ensure the final mixdown fits within the one hour time slot. If the circle runs short, participants are asked if they have further comments or observations on that day’s topic.

Annie Banks participated in the very first episode. When asked about her feelings before and after the session, her answers reflected what many others have experienced during the first month of recording.

”I was very honoured to be invited to be a part of the show, and was very much looking forward to it. I found the topic ‘Role Models, Teachers, and Teachings’ to be a topic I felt comfortable speaking about,” says Annie, “I was hoping to contribute in a way that was good for the show and I am always looking to ease my unease with speaking in public.”

About being an active part of the circle, Annie says “I learned more about the people in the circle, most of whom I know but have only just met this year, so that was a great experience. I felt very lucky to get to hear about people’s role models, teachers, and teachings – and to be among my role models and teachers too!”

“I have been thinking more in-depth about the topic. I also feel that my friendships with the people in the room have deepened” are Annie’s feelings about her time in the circle. When asked if she would do it again, she responded “Oh yes, definitely! I would certainly recommend the show to anyone who is interested in taking part! I would say just be yourself, relax, and enjoy the experience.”

How it works

What makes the circle work so well is that there are just two simple rules: Only one person may speak at a time, and each person has a turn to speak to the group, without interruption. These rules allow a sense of equality within the circle. People who are shy or quiet get the same opportunity to express their views as their more outspoken peers. In Trevor’s words, “It greatly improves the overall quality of the discussion.”

“The show consists of seven (or so) guests and myself,” continues Day, “We do a quick go-around of the circle to introduce everyone to each other and our listeners, then we go around again to discuss our topic for that show. Depending on the length of the first round, we may do one more if we have time.”

Guests on Healing Perspectives include faculty, staff, and students from Camosun’s Aboriginal Education and Community Connections department, plus local elders like Skip Dick of the Songhees nation. As Trevor has found, “The more diverse our group is, the richer the discussion is. We try hard to bring in people from different age groups and backgrounds. At this point, we are welcoming anyone who would like to participate in an on-air talking circle, whether they be Indigenous or not.”

Trevor organizes and hosts Healing Perspectives for reasons that extend far beyond his academic responsibilities. In his own words, “I hope that by listening in on an honest, compassionate discussion among a diverse group of people, our listeners are able to experience some of the learning and healing that happens on our show. It may be a little cliché, but I think: Like all great programming, if our listeners can reflect on something that was said on the show after they turn the radio off, our intention has been fulfilled.”

For more information or to comment on Healing Perspectives, email:

Last updated: February 8, 2010 10:07 am

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