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FNUniv Student Willis Janvier’s Journey to Preserve Dene Language Through Podcasting

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FNUniv Student Willis Janvier’s Journey to Preserve Dene Language Through Podcasting

May 8, 2024



Willis Janvier, a student of Indigenous Social Work at the ¶«¾©ČČapp (FNUniv), hails from Clearwater River Dene Nation near La Loche, Saskatchewan. He found unexpected inspiration to start the “Dene Yati” podcast following a lighthearted moment during a Zoom call where he playfully used a “radio voice.” This humorous clip, once shared on social media, quickly resonated with a wide audience, gaining considerable popularity. Encouraged by the positive response and driven by a deeper sense of purpose, Janvier saw an opportunity to create a platform that would allow him to delve into and share the rich tapestry of Dene culture and language.

The podcast aims to celebrate and share the Dene language and culture, drawing inspiration from Janvier’s late father, a former broadcaster for MBC, Saskatchewan’s Indigenous radio network. Janvier interviews Dene speakers, including elders, to preserve and share cultural stories and teachings. Despite challenges and moments of doubt, Janvier is motivated by feedback from listeners, particularly those reconnecting with their culture after experiences like foster care or displacement from residential schools.

The podcast, which has attracted an international audience, including listeners from Russia, has also helped Janvier personally reconnect with his Dene heritage, learning ceremonies, stories, and cultural practices previously unknown to him. Through his podcast, Janvier emphasizes the importance of preserving the Dene language and culture for future generations.

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