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Dene podcast aims to share teachings about mental health

For National Addictions Awareness Week in Saskatchewan, an Indigenous podcast called Pîkiskwêwin launched a series that explores Dene teachings about mental health.

The Pîkiskwêwin director of marketing and design said the series is about Dene people sharing their lived experiences, resilience and the things they do for self-care and really talking about mental health supports within their community.

The 12-episode podcast series called Dene Teachings About Resilience will be released every Tuesday for the next five weeks and can be found at or can be streamed on Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, and Spotify.

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“It’s really to share the Dene language with those folks that are fluent in Dene within their community … that maybe don’t understand a lot of the options available or help available,” said Felicia Dewar.

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“Sometimes it’s a lot easier to speak and you feel more comfortable being able to share your story when it’s in your own language and we don’t have that for Dene.”

Holly Toulejour, a Dene fluent speaker from La Loche, Sask., hosts the Dene series in which she interviews speakers in her language to talk about mental health, addictions, loss and grief.

“Mental health is still such a taboo topic for people,” she said. “I wanted (our conversations) it to be accessible. I want people who struggle with mental health to reach out sooner rather than later.”

Toulejour, who is also a licensed mental health therapist, said in a release that hosting this series is fitting for her as it hits a topic that she’s passionate about. She said growing up in northern Saskatchewan, she sees the need for mental health supports and services.

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“I just applaud Holly and her guests for being so honest and so vulnerable and willing to share what they’ve learned and what they’ve gone through to help others in their community,” said Dewar.

“That’s really where this is coming from, is the love for their community and wanting to help others that … are having their own journey with mental health.”

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