Indigenous media in Saskatchewan developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s with the political organizations serving as incubator. Both the Metis Society and the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians (FSI) had newspapers which served as political house organs but in the process expanded to include news of general interest to the client group. The Metis Society published The New Breed and the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians The Saskatchewan Indian; these two news magazines are still published sporadically. The print media has since become privatized, with publications such as Eagle Feather News and Saskatchewan Sage. In the past thirty years the province’s Indigenous population has tripled, thus creating a more lucrative market for private media. In addition to print media, the FSI produced a weekly radio program called “Moccasin Telegraph”; this half-hour radio program followed in the footsteps of previous northern programming established by CKBI radio. At the same time, Harry Bird and Stan Cuthand hosted a program on CBC radio, “North Country Fair,” providing news and information for two hours on Saturday afternoons. It was quite popular until CBC went to national programming in the time slot.

Later in the 1970s the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural College developed for cable in Saskatoon a television program called The Fifth Generation, which ran for about a year. In the late 1970s CBC broadcast “Keewatin Radio,” which provided news for northern listeners one hour a day, five days a week. In the early 1980s Missinippi Broadcasting began in La Ronge as a part of the Northern Native Broadcast Access Program funded by the federal Department of the Secretary of State. Missinippi currently reaches out to communities in northern Saskatchewan; the station is now self-sufficient, sustaining its operations through bingos and advertising revenue. Programming is in three languages: Cree, Dene and English.

Television has also grown in proportion to the Indigenous presence in the marketplace. SCN, the Saskatchewan Communications Network, provides an outlet for material produced by Indigenous television producers, and APTN (Aboriginal People’s Television Network) serves as a national broadcaster. Saskatchewan people have seen the power and influence created by the media, and the First Nations University in Regina offers the Indian Communications Arts Program (INCA), which has provided a large number of graduates who work in both the mainstream and Indigenous media.

Doug Cuthand