The Development of Aboriginal Broadcasting in Canada

Via Scoop.itMediaMentor

[excerpt] Early in the game, when southern television began to bombard the airwaves in northern communities, Canada’s Aboriginal people made the connection between cultural survival and the ownership and control of media. Community radio and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s (CBC) Northern Service short-wave radio had been an integral part of northern life since the mid-1950s. By the early 1970s, 16 per cent of Northern Service programming was in Inuktitut and, with CBC and government-funded training and technical support, radio began to be used throughout the North for everything from political information and local news to bingo and the communication of family messages. The catalyst for Native-owned and operated broadcasting came in 1973 when the CBC began beaming southern Canadian and American television via satellite into northern communities. The Inuit welcomed some programs, such as Hockey Night in Canada, but many Aboriginal leaders and elders saw southern programming as a threat to their language and cultural traditions. They were upset that the sounds and images entering every home failed to reflect anything of their own reality and values. One young leader, Rosemary Kuptana, who later became president of the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation, likened the onslaught of southern television to the neutron bomb. “This is the bomb that kills the people,” she noted, “but leaves the buildings standing.” […]


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