Content Warning: The stories in this series deal with difficult and sometimes traumatic topics. This episode in particular discusses substance use, family separation and residential schools. Please practice self care, stop listening, and seek help if you need to. Scroll down to find links to available supports.
The fourth episode of the Voices of the Street podcast series features a conversation on Indigenous honour, healing and empowerment, with your host, Nicolas Leech-Crier.
Nicolas interviews Voices of the Street contributor Eva Takakanew about her written piece, “My Mother’s Comfort,” a deeply personal poem and reflection on drug use and the intergenerational mother-child relationships in her life as an adoptee from the Sixties Scoop.
Together they speak about their experiences as adoptees and reconnecting with their culture as adults. They also speak to finding empowerment through Indigenous-led education programs and taking part in the cultural resurgence of their generation.
Nicolas Leech-Crier (and his secret identity, “Mr. Essential”) is an adoptee of Cree heritage and a freelance writer.
At 43 years old he has spent approximately half his life surviving in the streets and more than a decade in the DTES. It never occurred to him that being a “drug user” would ever be useful, but thanks to the incredible support and loving friendship shown to him by his many neighbours and friends in the DTES, he’s parlayed his street smarts and community connections into a successful career as an overdose responder and outreach worker.
In 2018, Nicolas became a coordinator and facilitator for the Speakers Bureau at Megaphone and just recently his title was upgraded to Storytelling and Community Networking Liaison. (Mr. Essential’s title remains the same: One-time Imaginary Podcast Host of Some Notoriety).
In everything he does — from powerful plays, to playful pictures, or post-secondary presentations and paradigm-shifting podcasts — he sends love to his 11-year-old son, Money.
Eva Takakanew was born in Edmonton, Alberta and is from Thunderchild First Nation near Turtleford, Saskatchewan. She is a descendant of Chief Poundmaker.
Eva moved to Vancouver and lived with her biological mom until just after her first birthday and then was adopted at the age of two. Last July, Eva graduated with a diploma in family community counselling from Native Education College and hopes to one day work with youth. She also has aspirations to become a Native court worker. Eva loves to write and says it helps her calm her busy brain, which never seems to shut off.
Theme music by John Brennan
Extra music and sound effects by John Brennan and Helena Krobath
Sound engineering, editing, mixing and mastering by Paige Smith, Fiorella Pinillos and Kathy Feng
Show art by Kathy Feng & Paige Smith
‘O Canada’ by Henry Burr, CC BY-NC 3.0 US, UCSB Cylinder Audio Archive
Flute piece provided by Paul Cheoketen Wagner: www.sacredbreath.ca
Cite this Episode
Leech-Crier, Nicolas. “Voices of the Street: My Mother’s Comfort — with Nicolas Leech-Crier and Eva Takakanew” Below the Radar, SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement. Podcast audio, March 8, 2022. https://www.sfu.ca/vancity-office-community-engagement/below-the-radar-podcast/series/voices-of-the-street/163-nicolas-leech-crier-eva-takakanew.html.
About the Series
The 2021 Voices of the Street anthology, “INSIDE we are all the same,” jumps from the page in this special podcast series. For four Megaphone storytellers, poetry and prose from last year’s special literary edition are a starting point for exploring the themes that moved them — in a whole new form: audio storytelling.
Featuring interviews with writers and personal reflections on how their lived experiences merge with the themes of the text, this podcast series illuminates Voices of the Street in a new way.
The Voices of the Street podcast is a six-part series for Below the Radar, curated and hosted by participants of Megaphone’s Speakers Bureau.