The Persistence and Creativity of Canadian Aboriginal Newspapers | Demay | Canadian Journal of Communication

Via Scoop.itMediaMentor
Canadian Journal of Communication, Vol 18, No 1 (1993) [excerpt] The Persistence and Creativity of Canadian Aboriginal Newspapers Joël Demay (University of Ottawa) Introduction More than two years have elapsed since the federal government decided to cancel the Native Communications Program (NCP), the main funding source for Canada’s Aboriginal newspapers. The NCP had been started in 1974 to provide support to Native Communication Societies so that they could in turn provide media services (mainly newspapers, some community radio as well) to the Native people of their region. In a radical departure from its long, though wavering, commitment to the development of Native communication, the federal government cancelled its $3.45 million NCP in its 1990 budget. That decision sent waves of shock and anger across Canadian Native communities. Non-Native Canadians have also denounced the shortsightedness of the federal decision. At the time of the cuts, the imminent death of this country’s Native press was predicted. Although two newspapers have indeed stopped publishing as a direct consequence of the cuts (Kainai News died in Alberta and Micmac News went “dormant” in Nova Scotia), the rest of the Aboriginal press still reports and publishes, albeit material somewhat different from the NCP time and in conditions which are far from ideal. A surprising number of editors are looking beyond the financial strain and frailty of today at the growth and possible prosperity of tomorrow. Nevertheless, the newspapers are all in fragile situations. Often the sheer determination of the men and women putting those papers out is what allows them to survive. To assess the situation, the author talked with many of those dedicated individuals in a telephone survey of Aboriginal newspapers this past summer. This article is based on those interviews. After analyzing why Kanai News and Micmac News finally stopped publishing, a review of the newspapers by region will be presented. Lessons in survival are then drawn from the newspapers’ experiences and prospects for the future proposed. […]


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