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Indians in Cyberspace
by Mike MacDonald

Who is
by Cheryl L'Hirondelle

First Nations in Cyberspace
by Mike Patterson

Image Credit: NASA JPL-Caltech E. Churchwell University of Wisconsin


First Nations in Cyberspace: Two Worlds and Tricksters - Where the Forest meets the Highway

by Mike Patterson

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4.2 Menace and Promise in the Media

Television (which Jerry Mander calls "freedom of speech for the wealthy" (1991:78)) has had a bad effect on family relations, language and social structure in remote communities. Cindy Gilday points out that the effect of TV of the Dene has been "to glamorize behaviours and values that are poisonous to life up here... People are sitting in their log houses, alongside frozen lakes with dog teams tied up outside, watching a bunch of white people in Dallas standing around their swimming pools, drinking martinis and plotting to destroy each other or steal from each other, or to get their friends' wives into bed... I heard of one old woman who prays every night for the people in the soap operas. She thinks they're real" (in Mander 1991: 104-105).

Six Nations actor, musician and Native activist Gary Farmer points out that TV is "the modern assimilator, replacing the old methods of residential schools, churches, and governments... Television has infiltrated practically every native household from the farthest reaches of the Northwest Territories through the tip of South America, and indigenous communities are bombarded by information that does not reflect their reality or their needs, their language or their culture... This cycle of alienation must be broken and Indian media are the only hope in sight for this task" (1994: 63).

There are now over two hundred Native radio stations on reserves across Canada, many of them tied into networks such as the Wawatay Native Communications Society in Sioux Lookout Ontario. There are dozens of small television and cable producers as well, creating shows in Native languages that are broadcast on Inuit, Dene and other TV networks across Northern Canada. These are augmented by many Native radio stations now online (mostly in the U.S.), most notably Native Radio at Gary Farmer has now established a Native radio centre in Toronto, and is lobbying the CRTC to allow for a Canada-wide Native radio network.

"For the past twenty years, indigenous communities around the world have begun to take control of the media most related to them. This is not an easy task" as the communities face governments and regulatory boards that favour private broadcasters, but communities are mastering the technology and the "positive change a publicly owned radio station can make in an Indian community is astounding," and "one day, all the indigenous broadcasters around the world will come together - one day soon" (Farmer 1994: 64).[22]

Next: 4.3 Questions - Adoptions, Survivals

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[22] To this end, a number of Native communities are offering courses in broadcast and other media. At Tyendinaga, "the Aboriginal Media Program was created in the spirit of telling our own stories." The three-year post-secondary program leads to either a diploma in print or broadcast journalism. At

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