Monday, 7 May 2012

Northern Aboriginal Broadcasting - Aboriginal Peoples’ Program, Canada

Northern Aboriginal Broadcasting - Aboriginal Peoples' Program

"... Eligible Activities

Funding may be provided for network production activities if they are judged to contribute to the protection and enhancement of Aboriginal languages and cultures, and facilitate Northern Native participation in activities and developments related to the North.

The NAB supports Aboriginal broadcasting societies to produce and distribute radio and television programming in the north. The NAB was established as part of the federal government's Northern Native Broadcasting Policy. The Policy set out five policy principles:

  • Northern residents should be offered access to a range of programming choices through the exploitation of technological opportunities;
  • Northern Native people should have the opportunity to participate actively in the determination by the CRTC of the character, quantity and priority of programming broadcast in predominantly Native communities;
  • Northern Native people should have fair access to Northern broadcasting distribution systems to maintain and develop their cultures and languages;
  • Programming relevant to Native concerns, including content originated by Native people, should be produced for distribution wherever Native people form a significant proportion of the population in the service area; and
  • Northern Native representatives should be consulted regularly by government agencies engaged in establishing broadcasting policies that would affect their cultures. ..."

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Northern Native Broadcast Access Program (NNBAP) & Northern Distribution Program (NDP) Evaluation Final Report
Executive Summary Study Background & Purpose
For 20 years, Aboriginal broadcasters have provided audiences in remote, rural and Arctic communities across Canada a unique native-language public radio and television service.
The Northern Native Broadcast Access Program (NNBAP) has been in operation since March 1983, with the purpose of supporting the production and distribution of relevant Aboriginal programming to Northern Native people. The program funds 13 Aboriginal communications societies, which serve over 250,000 Aboriginal people (status/non-status Indian, Inuit and Métis) living in northern regions of Canada.

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History of the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation


"... It was clear to the Inuit leadership that television, with its capacity to flood every living room in the arctic with images from the consumer-driven south, represented a unique and potentially devastating threat to a culture already reeling from the impact of trade, education and religion. When CBC introduced its Accelerated Coverage Plan (ACP) in 1975, reaction from the Inuit community was swift and sharp. The ACP proposed to provide CBC television programming to all communities in Canada with populations of over 500. Since the objective of ACP was to make "Canadian" programming…that is, a mixture of southern Canadian and American…available to all, no consideration was given to local access, to programming in aboriginal languages, or to a community's right to control the local airwaves.

It is difficult to describe how shocking the invasion of television to an Arctic community could be. An Inuit woman once described her feelings upon watching "All in the Family" for the first time.

"…There was the father, obviously a stupid man, screaming at his children and his wife. He seemed to hate them. They were lying to him, they were treating with contempt, they were screaming back at him…and then in the last five minutes everyone kissed and made up…We were always taught to treat our elders with respect. I was embarrassed for those people on TV. I thought, I always knew white people were weird. I wondered if that was really what people were like in the South…"

Programming depicting southern attitudes, values and behaviors proliferated in the North throughout the mid-seventies. Inuit and community leaders were quick to realize that this electronic tidal wave of alien images and information would lead to the deterioration of Inuit language and culture, and could disrupt the fragile structures of traditional community life.

Inuit have successfully adapted to technological innovation several times throughout their history. Neither firearms nor snowmobiles are indigenous to the North, but both have become central elements of contemporary Inuit hunting culture. It was clear that television in the North was not going to go away; the challenge for Inuit was to find a way of adapting to this technology to their own ends, using television as a vehicle for the protection of their language, rather than as an agent of its destruction.



In 1984, the Nielson Task Force on Federal Programs reviewed the Northern Native Broadcast Access Program (NNBAP) and the Native Communications Program. The Task Force concluded that both programs were achieving their goals, and that no realistic alternative to the programs existed.

In 1986, both programs were evaluated by an independent firm, and were judged highly successful. In 1987, both programs were renewed and given permanent status.

In February 1990, with no warning or consultation, the federal budget eliminated the Native Communications Program,..."

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