Speaking Across Knowledge Systems: A Podcast Series

An illustration of a night sky, a forest, and blended streams of water. The text "Speaking Across Knowledge Systems" is in the night sky. The text "An audio series from Conservation through Reconciliation Partnership" is at the bottom in the water.

Cover art by Elena McCulloch

Prepared by: Daniel De Kok and the Knowledge Systems Stream of the Conservation through Reconciliation Partnership

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Podcast Episodes


This project was conceived by the Conservation through Reconciliation Partnership (CRP) Knowledge System Stream members and brought to life through the consideration, care, and diligence from Daniel de Kok, as host, editor, and lead producer of this podcast.

We are grateful to the members of CRP’s Knowledge Systems Stream who generously shared their knowledge and for their thoughtfulness in sharing their expertise, learning, and reflections. They include: Dr. Deborah McGregor (Steam Lead), Jonaki Bhattacharyya, Karen Beazley, Nathan Cardinal, Soudeh Jamshidian, Dr. Gita Ljubicic, Allyson Menzies, Andrea Reid, Dr. Jennifer Silver, Jeji Varghese, and Barbara Moktthewenkwe Wall.

We’d like to thank Elena McCulloch for developing the beautiful cover art for this podcast.

We are grateful to Benjamin Barst for contributing original music for this series.

We also thank Dali Carmichael and Ethan Persaud-Quiroz for supporting concept development and providing overall podcasting guidance.

The work of Kristy Tomkinson and Elena McCulloch in transcript editing, logistical support, and web development has been invaluable in executing the vision of this project.


Speaking Across Knowledge Systems is a series of conversations with Indigenous and non-Indigenous environmental science scholars and practitioners about how they approach, understand, and engage with diverse knowledge systems in their work. The podcast delves into the different paths to acquiring, validating, respecting, and sharing knowledge, and how to move beyond a singular focus on Western ways of thinking and doing to achieve conservation goals.

Indigenous knowledge systems are rich, diverse, and often place-based. This series of conversations offers insights and guidance for holding space and respect for Indigenous knowledges, practices, and relationships.

This podcast series is about being open and respectful with how diverse knowledge systems can contribute to our collective goal of environmental sustainability. It is an auditory resource, and we ask that you, as a listener, take the time to pause, slow down, and listen openly to each episode.

People convey knowledge that is based on their training, education, and experience. Within these conversations, we bring people together of various backgrounds and experience to share how they engage with different knowledge systems in their work.

Please start by listening to the introduction and listening guide, where Anishinaabe scholar Deborah McGregor welcomes you into this space, introduces the context for this project, and outlines how we can best embrace and share diverse knowledges.

Each episode is centred around a theme that emerged from conversations with guest experts. While they may be sequenced, there is no specific order in which you must listen to them. We do, however, encourage you to listen to them all. Enjoy!

*Please note that these conversations were recorded between September 2021 and March 2022. We recognize that the Indigenous-led conservation movement is changing and progressing at a rapid pace and we are all on a continuous learning journey when it comes to understanding, embracing, and approaching various knowledge systems.

Listen to Speaking Across Knowledge Systems

Click on the button below to listen to the full series on Spotify. Or, click on the episodes in the menu to the right hand side to listen to each episode directly from this page.

Hosted by:

Daniel de Kok

Daniel de Kok grew up in the countryside north of Kingston. He sees far fewer deer in the fields than before. He studied English literature at Queen’s University. He then taught English in Seoul, South Korea. Dan returned to Queen’s for a Master’s in English literature, then taught in Shanghai, China. He then returned to Canada to study law at Osgoode. He lives in Toronto but he misses the countryside.


Featuring conversations with:

Dr. Deborah McGregor (Knowledge Systems Stream Lead, Conservation through Reconciliation Partnership)

Deborah McGregor is an Anishinaabe scholar from Whitefish River First Nation, Birch Island Ontario who joined York University’s Osgoode Hall law faculty in 2015 as a cross-appointee with the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change. Her research has focused on Indigenous knowledge systems and their various applications in diverse contexts including water and environmental governance, sustainability, and environmental and climate justice.


A woman stands by a tree overlooking a river.
Jonaki Bhattacharyya

Jonaki Bhattacharyya is an ethnoecologist who does applied research and conservation, specializing in wildlife and habitat stewardship work with community-based, Indigenous-led initiatives. Jonaki provides technical support, stewardship and land use planning, and facilitation services to Indigenous Nations, NGOs, and their partners. She draws on an interdisciplinary background and diverse cultural experiences when working with humans, animals and ecosystems, to integrate multiple ways of knowing and research methods in creative ways.

Jonaki earned a PhD from the University of Waterloo, and by learning from Tsilhqot’in – listening and walking on the land. Having engaged in applied work and research for over 17 years, in the last decade she has provided technical and research services to support Indigenous communities, First Nations, and guardian programs throughout Canada. Jonaki is part of the core team working to establish Dasiqox Nexwagwez?an (Tsilhqot’in Protected Area). She is also actively involved in work supporting community-based wildlife monitoring and fire stewardship.

Photo credit: Ashlene Nairn

Karen Beazley

Karen Beazley is a professor emerita in the School for Resource and Environmental Studies at Dalhousie University. Professor Beazley’s (she/her) research interests include biodiversity conservation system planning, Indigenous protected and conserved areas and co-production of knowledge, regional habitat connectivity planning, and environmental and research ethics. Her work is interdisciplinary, collaborative, and geared both to contributing to academic literature and to affecting change in landscape conservation planning and policy at transnational and provincial levels.

Nathan Cardinal

Nathan is a senior advisor with Parks Canada where he has been working for the past 17 years in a variety of roles, including the manager of resource conservation at Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, and has led a variety of innovative and award-winning projects regarding conservation and restoration. Nathan is also a member of the Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge Subcommittee with the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) and currently sits on the Management Committee for Nááts’įhch’oh National Park Reserve to support the rights of Sahtu Dene and Metis.

Through these different opportunities, Nathan has had the opportunity to collaborate with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples from coast to coast to coast, and at national, regional, and local levels, and focuses much of his efforts to help organizations advance their abilities to properly respect and support Indigenous Peoples’ efforts to conserve and steward their homelands. He holds a BSc in Environmental Science from UBC and a Masters in Environmental Studies from Dalhousie University. Nathan currently resides on Salt Spring Island in the traditional territory of the Hul’q’umi’num and WSANEC People with his family.

A man smiles at the camera. Behind him is a boat on the water.
Soudeh Jamshidian

Dr. Soudeh Jamshidian is Director of Education and International Relations at the IISAAK OLAM Foundation (IOF). She is an adjunct professor and instructor for the IPCA Planning Certificate at Vancouver Island University. Soudeh is a passionate leader, experienced in crafting dynamic and creative solutions for addressing environmental and social justice challenges.

At the age of 19, Soudeh founded an environmental non-governmental organization called Daumoon in Iran, which focuses on community participation in conservation. Her life journey has taken her to Iran, India, Afghanistan, Mali, and Canada to collaborate with indigenous and local communities, policy makers, international organizations, and academics for conservation and resource management initiatives.

Soudeh has a PhD in Resource and Environmental Management from Simon Fraser University. In her role with IOF, Soudeh advocates for building respectful and reciprocal collaborations among indigenous communities around the world and creating a new inclusive paradigm to decolonize conservation

A woman smiles at the camera.
Gita Ljubicic

Gita Ljubicic is a Professor in the School of Earth, Environment and Society at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and is a Canada Research Chair in Community-Engaged Research for Northern Sustainability. She works at the intersection of cultural and environmental geography, driven by a deep commitment to respecting and learning from Indigenous knowledge alongside science in order to address complex socio-ecological issues.

Since 2001, Gita has worked with Inuit community members and organizations across Inuit Nunangat (Inuit homelands) in Canada on projects that aim to address community-identified priorities. Her research team (straightupnorth.ca) involves northern and southern researchers working together with a shared goal for research to benefit community partners, contribute to decision-making, improve research practice, and support Inuit self-determination in research.

A woman wearing glasses smiles at the camera. She has long reddish blonde hair.
Allyson Menzies

Dr. Allyson (Ally) Menzies is of mixed Red River Métis and Settler descent, born and raised in Treaty 1 & 2 territory and the homeland of the Métis Nation (a.k.a Manitoba). She studied hibernation physiology of cave-dwelling bats for her MSc, and winter physiology and behaviour of red squirrels, snowshoe hares, and Canada lynx in the Yukon for her PhD.

Ally’s postdoctoral work aims to identify the Indigenous values that need to be better prioritized in wildlife monitoring and research, and to determine which methodologies and approaches are most effective at doing so. She is starting as an Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary in 2024, where she will continue to work on developing approaches to environmental research, monitoring, and management that truly respect Indigenous rights and knowledge systems to create a path forward for conservation science that is rooted in mutual respect, reciprocity, and reconciliation.

Andrea Reid

Dr. Andrea Reid is a citizen of the Nisga’a Nation, a descendant of the Gisk’aast/Killerwhale clan, with her paternal family coming from Gingolx. She was raised, however, on Epekwitk/Prince Edward Island by her mother (Irish ancestry) and brothers, and now lives in the Nass River Valley, home of her Nation, in Lax̱g̱alts’ap.

Dr. Reid joined the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries at the University of British Columbia as an assistant professor in 2021, and is now a Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Fisheries Science (Tier 2). She has launched and now leads the Centre for Indigenous Fisheries, committed to research and teaching approaches that are intergenerational, land-based, and profoundly relational.

Jennifer Silver

Dr. Jennifer Silver is a Professor in Geography, Environment and Geomatics at the University of Guelph, where she has been faculty since 2011. Prior to that, she held a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Duke University Marine Laboratory in North Carolina and received her PhD in Resource and Environmental Management from Simon Fraser University.

Jennifer’s research program currently examines: a) commercial fisheries, coastal communities and Indigenous fishing rights in British Columbia; b) opportunities and challenges evolving at the intersection of rapid environmental and technological change; c) digital cultural and environmental politics.

Jeji Varghese

Jeji Varghese is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, CESI Faculty Affiliate, GIER Affiliate, and Faculty Affiliate at the One Health Institute at the University of Guelph, on the traditional lands of the Attawandaron, Anishinaabek, and Hodinöhsö:ni’ Peoples on the treaty lands and territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, Between the Lakes Purchase (Treaty 3), Dish with One Spoon Territory.

As a critical community engaged scholar and environmental sociologist Jeji’s research interests include Indigenous and Western Science knowledge systems engagement in land/water governance/stewardship/conservation, just climate transitions, socio-ecological sustainability, and a scholarship of teaching and learning focused on community engaged learning and land-based pedagogies.

Jeji’s teaching foci include undergraduate courses in Society, Knowledge Systems and Environment, Sociology of Water, Qualitative and Observational Methods, Indigenous-Settler Relations in Canadian Society and a graduate course in Environment, Food and Communities. Her courses prioritize Indigenization, decolonisation and often include a community engaged learning (CEL) component.

A woman smiles at the camera.
Barbara Moktthewenkwe Wall (Bodwewaadmii Anishinaabe)

Barbara Wall is Assistant Professor and Director of Studies, Indigenous Studies PhD Program at the Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies (Trent University).

Barbara teaches undergraduate courses within the Indigenous Environmental Studies and Sciences program as well as graduate courses within the Indigenous Studies PhD program. Experiential learning and Universal Design is emphasized using Indigenous pedagogies.

A woman stands for the camera but looks off into a body of water framed by trees.

Podcast Episodes:

Introduction and Listening Guide

Start your learning journey with this introduction and listening guide, featuring host Daniel de Kok and Anishinaabe scholar Deborah McGregor. Daniel and Deborah welcome you into this space, introduce the context for this project, and outline how we can best embrace and share diverse knowledges.

Click on the play button below to listen to the episode.

Click on the button below to view the full transcript.

Episode 1: What is Indigenous Knowledge? What are Indigenous Knowledge Systems?

In this episode, guests share how they approach knowledge systems and where, or from whom, they have found insights and inspiration that helps guide their approaches in their work. This episode features conversations with Barbara Wall, Jonaki Bhattacharyya, Jeji Varghese, Karen Beazley, and Jennifer Silver.

Click on the play button below to listen to the episode.

Click on the button below to view the full transcript.

Episode 2: Stories, Anecdotes, and Analogies

This episode delves into some of the complex and abstract concepts of navigating knowledge systems through personal anecdotes and stories to help illustrate them and bring them to life. This episode features conversations with Nathan Cardinal, Jennifer Silver, Soudeh Jamshidian, and Jonaki Bhattacharyya.

Click on the play button below to listen to the episode.

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Episode 3: University, Pedagogy, and Learning

This episode presents some approaches to teaching and learning with and about Indigenous knowledge systems. Guests share how they approach Indigenous knowledge systems in the classroom — formerly as students and currently as instructors and continuous learners. This episode features conversations with Jeji Varghese, Andrea Reid, Barbara Wall, Allyson Menzies, Jonaki Bhattacharyyaa, and Jennifer Silver.

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Episode 4: Bridges and Barriers between Indigenous and Western Ways of Knowing

This episode examines the tensions that often exist between Indigenous knowledge systems and Western science within the context of environmental conservation. Guests discuss how bridging several knowledge systems together can provide a more holistic picture of our communities, our societies, and our natural environment.

This episode features conversations with Jeji Varghese, Andrea Reid, Barbara Wall, Allyson Menzies, Jonaki Bhattacharyyaa, and Jennifer Silver.

Click on the play button below to listen to the episode.

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Episode 5: Connections Between Conservation and Reconciliation

What is environmental conservation? Who does it stand to benefit? How might approaches to conservation change if it considered Indigenous perspectives on knowledge and existence?

This episode examines the dark history of conservation in North America, highlights the current and rapidly changing movement of Indigenous-led conservation, and looks to possible conservation futures. It features conversations with Nathan Cardinal, Soudeh Jamshidian, Karen Beazley and Allyson Menzies.

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Episode 6: Weaving, Braiding, and Two-Eyed Seeing

How could we and/or should we bring together knowledge systems? How do we account for the differences and disparities between different ways of knowing?

This episode delves into the terminology, language, and concepts behind the ways in which we can respectfully engage with and bridge diverse knowledge systems. It features conversations with Nathan Cardinal, Jennifer Silver, Karen Beazley, Allyson Menzies, Soudeh Jamshidian, Gita Ljubicic, Andrea Reid, and Barbara Wall.

Click on the play button below to listen to the episode.

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