A brother-and-sister team in Victoria have started a horror-themed podcast where they tell tales about chilling creatures from Indigenous oral histories.
Mackenzie Taylor, 25, and Josef Stafford, 20, call their podcast the Historical Natives because they talk about the histories of famed figures such as Sasquatch, the Wechuge and the Wendigo.
Each episode begins with introductions and land acknowledgements before launching into history about the creature and, in some episodes, a performance of a fictional story written by Stafford.
Taylor is tasked with the research and says they want to make sure the sharing is done in a good way that’s respectful to the living cultures that the stories come from.
“For the first part of the episode we talk about who the creature comes from. A little bit about their language, their history, any major things that happened in history around them,” she says.
“Then we tell the story.”
The sibling team are from Whitesand First Nation but were born and raised in Saanich Territory. They started up the Historical Natives before the new year and have already finished their fifth episode, with three that are currently available to listen to.
They plan to release a new episode every two weeks. Stafford says the episodes have already garnered a bit of a following, sometimes generating more than 50 listeners at a time.
“The most popular right now is the Sasquatch one,” he says.
In the episode called the People and the Sasquatch, Taylor and Stafford talk about the Coast Salish people and territory where the Sasquatch comes from.
“Most of the Pacific Northwest has a cool, wet climate and has many regions classified as rainforests, so basically the trees are lush and thick, which makes it easy for the Sasquatch to hide,” Taylor says.
“In every nation’s depiction of the Sasquatch, they’re covered in thick body hair, have their own language and can cause unconsciousness if they touch you.”
Both siblings have a sense for business, with Stafford in his second year of a Business Administration Diploma program at Camosun College and Taylor having a Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design.
They decided to start the podcast after completing a business training program for youth with the Indigenous Perspectives Society.
“Eventually we want to get into books” Taylor says, adding that the short stories could eventually be compiled into a literary collection.