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Alaska Native producer wants to indigenize the podcast

Feb 22, 2019

Alice Qannik Glenn works on her podcast Coffee and Quaq, which touches on Alaska Native issues and features Alaska Native guests. (Contributed photo)

An Anchorage-based podcaster collects, records and produces discussions about important Alaska Native topics with the goal of indigenizing the podcast.  

The podcast Coffee & Quaq -- the brain child of Alice Qannik Glenn -- starts with a simple phrase, “Radio check. Anybody copy?” In a recent episode, Glenn says the opening is a sendup to growing up in Utqiaġvik, Alaska, and listening to VHF radio. Users would often check to see if the radio was working using the phrase.

Now, that intro carries a new message:

“I say that Coffee and Quaq is a podcast to celebrate and explore contemporary Native life in urban Alaska. I was born and raised in rural Alaska, in the village,” Glenn said. “I grew up with that sense of community, that sense of culture. I just wanted to create something that would celebrate that, and to push that a little bit further.” 

Glenn is a momentum program fellow at Rasmuson Foundation and produces Coffee and Quaq in her spare time.

Quaq” is the Iñupiaq word for frozen or raw fish or meat.

“Coffee to kind of represent our contemporary and I like to say ‘woke’ side,” Glenn said. “And quaq to examine current event topics through an Alaska Native lens.” 

The idea for the podcast occurred after Glenn reconnected with friends and family after college. The conversations she had often were so good that she wished she’d recorded the conversation.

“You have these gold nuggets of ideas that come from these discussions, and I really feel like that happens all the time,” Glenn said. “That happens in every conversation that you have with another Alaska Native person. They have such a unique perspective and thoughtful perspective and holistic perspective, so from those you can have these really great discussions.” 

Five episodes -- ranging from topics to traditional tattoos and cultural appropriation -- currently are available to listen.

“I know that Alaska Natives and Native people in general have been represented inaccurately, just egregious misrepresentations of Native people in media,” Glenn said. “As a Native person, I need to provide accurate, authentic representation of the people that I'm speaking with.” 

Glenn estimates that Coffee and Quaq has about 2,000 downloads and plays.

For more information, go to coffeeandquaq.com.