December 29, 2009: Volume 36 #26, Page 18
"I cut my teeth in communications at Wawatay almost 15 years ago, 12 to 13
years ago," Monastyrski said, explaining it is important to have First
Nations communications people trained to talk and speak to the media, to
react to the media. "I find it is really vital right now. I know more
First Nations and more tribal councils and more Aboriginal organizations
nationally, provincially and regionally are hiring communications people,
PR people, marketing people to do those jobs.
Everyone has a communications officer, a lot of them are Aboriginal, but a
majority of them aren't."
Monastyrski stressed there are not many Aboriginal people currently in the
"I believe we are the first generation of communications professionals to
do that and I believe we are realizing the importance of it with our H1N1
going on, with Aboriginal issues being on the front page of the Globe and
Mail every day," Monastyrski said. "We need more and more trained
Aboriginal people out there.
Monastyrski said the Northern Ontario First Nations Communications
Conference is an amazing idea which he wanted to be involved with.
"I think we should have a national Aboriginal communications conference
where we can all get together and discuss and train ourselves and share
trade secrets and everything else that is going on out there," Monastyrski
said. "I think this is a great beginning and it is great that northwestern
Ontario or Wawatay, one of the oldest communications agencies in Canada,
to take a lead on."
Monastyrski said Chief Adam Fiddler, as a former CBC journalist, knows how
to speak to the media.
"They can do a ten-minute interview, but use two minutes of that interview
and form it to any story they want to form," Monastyrski said.
Monastyrski believes Aboriginal people need to create their own medium,
such as Wawatay, APTN and other Aboriginal publications have already done.
"(We need to) either create our own medium and tell our stories our way
and distribute it to mainstream and Native communities or have more and
more experienced Aboriginal people in these positions, have more reporters
working for national newspapers, for CBCs, the Globes, the Posts, have
more and more trained Aboriginal people."
Monastyrski said getting young people involved and excited about media and
communications through the Northern Ontario First Nations Communications
Conference is the way to start.
"We are the first generation of (Aboriginal) communicators that are doing
this this way using modern technology," Monastyrski said. "It is about
training our youth."
"There are so many things happening right now in our community where we
need trained media and communications people."
Monastyrski said the Aboriginal media is growing and everybody has access
to the media now through Internet and Twitter.