The Historical Natives review
I first heard of this show whilst listening to a podcast about the awful stories of residential schools of Canada. Whereas that show was about the more corporeal type of awful monster, this show is very much folklore based. After sitting patiently in my “unplayed” list of podcasts, I decided it was time to do The Historical Natives revie
Now the more hawk-eyed among you may think that the low score you see above is an indicator of a bad podcast (as it usually is). Please read on though, and let me explain my decision.
So what’s it about?
The Historical Natives is a folklore podcast in the vein of Uncanny Japan. Each bitesize episode covers a different creature from first nation folklore. These run from the well known (Sasquatch and the Wendigo), to the equally terrifying, though less well known Walking Sam or the Stick Indians. These creatures are not exclusive to single tribes either, but are known by many names and descriptions across the entire continent. A prime example here would be the sasquatch.
The hosts are MacKenzie Taylor and Josef Stafford, two self confessed, albeit recently converted horror fanatics who grew up in a small village in the wilds of BC. The strange thing was, it wasn’t even a “true” horror film that sparked this journey off, but Wayans brothers spoof Scary Movie. I’m not gatekeeper enough to care how people get into horror though, it’s the destination not the journey that’s important.
The second half of each episode gets a story written by Josef on the aforementioned creature. It is also is a language lesson of sorts where the hosts teach you a new word from the relevant dialect of the tribe featured in the episode.
Is it any good?
It could be very good, easily as good as Uncanny Japan, but it is ultimately let down by the hosts’ inexperience. Mackenzie and Josef started this show using a grant from a business initiative for First Nations people. This is a great idea, because sometimes (as it is here) there are people capable of producing great content who wouldn’t normally get a chance.
Having a microphone and a means to upload audio is only half the story though. The room they record in is not really suitable for the job. Some heavy blankets hung around the place would probably help no end. Unfortunately it sounds like they are sitting in a kitchen, recording the podcast to a mobile phone.
Also you can really tell the whole thing is written down first. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, but the times where they try to make it sound like a conversation, particularly in episode 1, gives the impression of a school exam where you have to write dialogue for a presentation. I would guess that English might not be their first language or that their reading skills just aren’t brilliant. There are times when they stumble over words as they read them.
I’m really trying hard not to be patronising or presumptuous here. I have great patience listening to people speak, and I’m happy to ignore these hurdles to get to the story underneath any linguistic problems or equipment issues.
You really should give this one a go. Try your best to ignore the shortcomings and you’ll find a really interesting series. Ultimately I feel I may have started this show too late. The website is no longer live and there is no real social media presence any more. This is a great shame because with some work this could be a brilliant show. Their culture is so rich with stories that it’s our loss if they don’t continue.
So “migwetch” Kenzie and Josef. I hope you get the time in future for more episodes.
Usually at this point I give you a link to the website where you can find the episodes. Unfortunately though, because the website is down, you’ll just have to search your podcatcher for episodes.