BEST OF CULTURALLY MODIFIED

We’re celebrating our Indigenous content in our first ever Best Of issue, and we’re thrilled to feature a brand new exchange with Hereditary Chief Na’Moks and Chief Knedebeas.

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Photo by Carla Lewis

Culturally Modified - the Society

The world shapes our culture

Our culture shapes our world

Culturally Modified is a registered non-profit society.

Our goal is to promote awareness of cultural diversity and foster cross-cultural understanding as well as create a forum for dialogue about Pacific Northwest culture and its role in today’s world.

We are supported by donations from you, our readers, and partnerships with private and corporate supporters.

STORIES IN THIS ISSUE

Making the Familiar Unfamiliar

There’s a concept known as the curse of knowledge — a bias that can happen when we know a lot about a subject. The curse of knowledge has a habit of creeping in when we least expect it. It’s a bit like going on autopilot: the sun rises, we follow our morning routine, perhaps we order coffee and the barista says good morning, just as expected. We can pigeonhole people into roles this way. We follow the well-worn grooves of the habitual.

This is the case on Wet’suwet’en territory right now. There’s a complex dynamic between Indigenous peoples, the RCMP, Coastal GasLink, the media, the provincial and federal governments, and others involved. Chief Na’Moks and Chief Knedebeas share their viewpoints in our exclusive article.

For over a year, the people and the events surrounding the Unist’ot’en camp have garnered global attention. Yet, much of what’s emerging casts people in old roles starring in an even older plot. We know these narratives. Or we think we know them. We’ve seen them unfold in Canada since the dawn of colonization, and through the Battle of Batoche in Saskatchewan, during the Oka crisis in Québec, and in every time period in between. We see these narratives globally, whether it involves Indigenous peoples in Australia, Brazil, Sierra Leone, or the United States. Like a well-trodden footpath, we can travel up and down our own expectations for how people will behave, and what outcomes we await. 

Since our inception in 2017, we’ve published 63 stunning articles on seven expansive themes. In this issue of Culturally Modified, we’re also taking the opportunity to highlight our Indigenous content, which is anchored in our relationship-driven approach to journalism.

There is danger in engaging with this bias — our curse of knowledge. There is a danger in overlooking the complexity and uniqueness of every new situation, and there is also a risk of neglecting to see people as whole, multi-faceted, and nuanced.

What’s the solution? We can dispel the curse of knowledge by becoming curious. We can come together in our shared spaces: whether in offices, coffee shops, parks, community centres, and, most powerfully, on the land itself. We can listen to those on the ground — those who belong to the communities in question. This requires close collaboration with community members, creating space for Indigenous people to tell their stories, rather than trying to print the quickest headline. At Culturally Modified, the events unfolding at the Unist’ot’en camp are personal — affecting our neighbours, our colleagues, and our friends — and we’re aware of how easy it is for people to become misrepresented. Now more than ever is the time for collaborative, trust-based journalism.

Since our inception in 2017, we’ve published 63 stunning articles on seven expansive themes. In this issue of Culturally Modified, we’re also taking the opportunity to highlight our Indigenous content, which is anchored in our relationship-driven approach to journalism. By working closely with Indigenous communities, we offer a platform to a variety of voices unlike any heard in mainstream media today. We’re also highlighting three of our favourite stories with our Staff Picks, which celebrate the breadth, depth, and diversity of our content. In our first Best of Culturally Modified issue, we’re taking the time to look at these impactful stories with fresh eyes.

Join us, as we make the familiar unfamiliar and highlight articles that teach us something new with every read and re-read.