Radio Broadcasting, Indigenous People and Education

Indigenous people living in rural and remote communities in countries of the South not only have poor access to ICT and no television broadcasting, but also very unreliable electricity. With the development of wind-up and solar radio (, I have wondered about the use of community radio broadcasting for educational purposes. In particular I wanted to hear a broadcast.

I found articles like the one below describing the effective use of radio broadcast. In this case it followed the distribution of solar radios to indigenous people in four remote villages in Cambodia. Since development of the radio system in 2007, the Cambodian government has begun “to acknowledge the importance of addressing a lack of information among indigenous communities and of promoting the use of Cambodian indigenous languages, some of them at risk of disappearing forever.”

Finally, I did find a broadcast and from a country I’ve lived in – Malawi, in sub-Sahara Africa. The broadcast is available through the media link of Farm Radio International The script and audio is in English, with some exclamations and singing in one of Malawi’s indigenous languages, Chichewa. (Also available is a clip in Chichewa.) In the opening, presenter Gladson Makowa identifies the work of indigenous farmers as “research,” saying

“Do you know that farmers are good researchers? Imagine how useful it can be to you to discover a thing on your own, on your farm. Why don’t you start researching one of the issues you hear on the radio?”

What follows is a broadcast about a research project demonstrating one way smallholder farmers can adapt to climatic changes.

November 4, 2010   No Comments

Radio Broadcasting, Indigenous People and Development

Indigenous people living in rural and remote areas in countries in the South not only have poor access to ICT, but have no television broadcasting. I have wondered about the use of community radio broadcasting in community development initiatives as a means of literally giving voice to people in their own languages. I have found the following websites interesting.

Community Radio

Community radio stations are operated, owned, and driven by the communities they serve. Community radio is not-for profit and provides a mechanism for facilitating individuals, groups, and communities to tell their own diverse stories, to share experiences, and in a media rich world to become active creators and contributors of media. In many parts of the world, community radio acts as a vehicle for the community and voluntary sector, civil society, agencies, NGOs & citizens to work in partnership to further community development as well as broadcasting aims…Community radio has historically developed differently in different countries…”

AMARC (Association Mondiale des Radiodiffuseurs Communitaires or World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters)

AMARC is an international non-governmental organization serving the community radio movement, with almost 3,000 members and associates in 110 countries. Its goal is to support and contribute to the development of community and participatory radio along the principals of solidarity and international cooperation.


Exploration of this site led me to the following two documents:

Fighting Poverty: Utilizing Community Media in a Digital Age – Practitioners’ reflections from an interactive roundtable at the World Congress on Communication for Development (WCCD) October 2006. Published June 2008, by AMARC, World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters, SDC, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, UNESCO, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in collaboration with CFSC, Communications for Social Change Consortium.

This report addresses inclusion of indigenous people and languages. It includes stories particularly from Nepal, Francophone Africa, and southern and eastern African

Radio and Development in Africa: A Concept Paper Prepared for the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada, Mary Myers, Final Draft, August 2008,_a_concept_paper.pdf

This report describes the present status of radio in Africa with comparisons to TV, Internet and mobile phones. It looks at its potential capacity to promote development and future prospects.

Examples of other articles found as a result of such searching “Indigenous people” on the AMARC website:

Indigenous peoples and electronic media

Peru: Ancient culture in the blink of an eye –  “Ñuqanchik” – Quechua language radio programs in cyberspace

Nepal: Broadcasting the writing on the wall – Nepal’s shift to community radio

November 4, 2010   No Comments

Ryb/Mod 3 Weblog

Savage Minds

The website supports two books dealing with the methodologies of Indigenous research, “Decolonizing Methodologies”, (Linda Smith) and” Researching is Ceremony” (Shawn Wilson)

The link to the Smith book is weak, but the link to the Wilson book is quite good.  It offers a general overview of the book, as well as a brief intro by Wilson, an Opaskawayak Cree from N. Manitoba.  There is also a 6-page pdf file of excerpts from the book to read through

The power of this website is not that it mentions one of the readings in Module 3, but that it really doesn’t stop at the two mentioned above.  There is brief mention of a few other books on the same subject, but keep going.  Scroll down to the comments at the bottom of the page and find 9 posts from various professionals, again listing numerous other sources.

 Of interest to me was a link to Dr. Eldon Yellowhorn, an archaeologist from Simon Fraser University.  Dr. Yellowhorn’s research in Native Studies has focused on examining the experience of aboriginal people in the modern world and their struggle to promote cultural diversity in a homogeneous society.  This lends some confirmation that an Indigenous person with a mainstream education can represent traditional indigenous communities.


The Urban Native Youth Association Webpage

This webpage is very well laid out and easy to navigate.  There are numerous links from this Metro Vancouver based youth center.  The center offers over 21 programs to urban native youth, along with a wide array of special programs and activities. 

I believe this site is a great example of what might be called “contemporary aboriginal youth” 

There is a Face book link beside a link to success stories.  The center sells t-shirts to raise money for programs whose artwork by members meshes traditional symbols and pattern with center advertising. A resource page offers basic health info along with an extensive cookbook on how to eat healthy meals on a small budget, all in pdf format.  A guide explaining the ins and outs of college and university is also presented, again in pdf format.

The news link takes you to accounts of the youth center’s successes, press releases, and newspaper article from across Western Canada addressing issues pertaining to aboriginal youth from sexual abuse to comments on Steven Harpers apology regarding residential schools.  There are places where you can help, volunteer, or get help finding work.  The youth center itself is beautiful, and the website shows it off proudly.  Click on the links button and gain access to over 40 additional websites about other youth and aboriginal organizations.


The National Indian Youth Leadership Project

This website is the flagship for the NIYLP, who for the past 25 years has set as their mission to nurture the potential of Native youth to be contributors to a more positive world through adventure-based learning and service to family, community, and nature.

Project Venture (PV) was designed to reconnect Native youth with nature through sequenced initiatives and outdoor activities.  From its modest beginnings promoting alternative activities to high risk native youth, NIYLP has grown to include the 1200 acre Sacred Learning Center in New Mexico, along with Walking in Beauty and Tacheeh projects aimed at transitioning adolescent girls and boys into adulthood.  Project Venture has grown to national and international status.  Check out the photo gallery about building Tortoise Amphitheatre and check out the smiles on the kid’s faces.  Watch the YouTube video as the youth describe the Project in their own words.  The website also offers opportunities for training in the Project Venture model, both initial and advanced.  This bodes well for the wellness of this project, now and in the future.

Red Hat, Where Are You Going?

Red Hat, Where Are You Going? Is a documentary video produced by Emile and Maarten Adriaan Van Rouveroy Van Nieuwaal and Burkinabe historian Some Magloire.

Red Hat Where Are you Going? is about the traditional chiefs, of former Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso, in West Africa) the naabas, who wear red hat as a symbol of their authority?

Of particular interest in this review of the movie is a lengthy exploration of the role of traditional chiefs throughout the colonization period of Burkina Faso.  Some of the chiefs aligned themselves with the colonial power, becoming educated in Western economics and leadership and now see themselves as far more capable leaders than their traditional counterparts.  They have adopted many western views especially exclusion of traditional “values” since they are a threat to their power.  The tradition chiefs see themselves as defenders of culture and are looking for inclusion in all areas of post-colonization life.  Much debate continues among them as to “how far back” their culture should be maintained, pre-colonial or post-colonial.  While still in flux, even the most traditional chiefs understand that they must adapt to the changing political climate in Burkina Faso, and indeed all of Africa, if they are too have any say in the future.

When posed with the question “Can a traditional person become educated and still remain traditional?” this article would suggest no.  When the indigenous leaders of Burkina Faso became educated in Western ways, they tended to see themselves as superior, and look down on their traditional cousins.  While this is clearly not a binary phenomenon, the balance between “traditions” and “modernity” has been extremely difficult to maintain, and conflict, rather than cooperation, is the norm rather than the exception.  True this is only one situation, but the power associated with western colonization is a force difficult to relinquish.




Aboriginal Place Names

The names we give to things are an important and revealing component of who we are, both as individuals and as a culture. One aspect of colonization is to change names, perhaps as a way to assert control over the indigenous territory, but more often than not names are changed because the new inhabitants cannot pronounce the original word(s).  In Canada, especially in Western Canada, we still use many of the aboriginal names given by the indigenous people in the area.  I present with minimal apology several websites that list current names or cities, rivers, lakes and provinces.  I believe we are extremely lucky to have and use the names associated with our collective indigenous past.  Enjoy.

November 4, 2010   No Comments

The Language Geek

As part of my research I’ve been speaking with Haisla elders in Kitimat. Unfortunately, much of what Linda Smith says about research being a dirty word seems to be true there, although I can’t say enough about how welcoming and helpful people have been with me. Unfortunately, several linguists who have worked with the Haisla do not seem to have much respect amongst the community. Much of their work has been focused around creating dictionaries, from what I understand. I decided to look into their work a little more and came across this resource called the languagegeek. It seems like it might be good for educators trying to integrate traditional language with technology although there could be issues related to intellectual property rights. Here is a brief excerpt from the about section of the site. 

“Languagegeek is dedicated to the promotion of indigenous languages – primarily those of North America. By providing the tools which speakers, educators, and learners can use to communicate on-line or in print, the realm of computers will no longer be the sole domain of a few global languages.”

November 4, 2010   No Comments

ANKN: First Nations and Higher Education

 This article is a part of the Alaska Native Knowledge Network . The site is massive with a searchable database and links both internally and extrenally. It holds a wealth of information at the fingertips – so to speak- and one must focus their ideas into searchable words. This site is useful to gain statistics and knowledge of research being done currently. The Four Rs article was the result of a search for”First Nations and Higher Education”. Althought my own information gathering was for adult centers and focused on adults who have not yet graduated, I was interested in the statistics of those who did grad and go on to college and universities. I plan to use this site more…soon.

November 4, 2010   No Comments

infed: defining the enemy – adult education in social action

 This site is actually a link to a pdf copy of  “Defining the Enemy” by Michael Newman. Newman has worked in adult education since the 60s and has published many books on the topic. Originally from Australia, which has a similar history in regards to colonization and treatment of aboriginals, he worked in the UK and his focus of adult education was for the purpose of educating the working adults of that country and not the education of Indigineous adults like I was searching for. This site is useful for information to compare adult education in other countries to what I am experiencing here in BC, Canada.

November 4, 2010   No Comments

Genesis Group

At first, I was a bit concerned that this was a corporate site. My worry was that although it seemed promising, there was a motive of profit here. After a bit of digging, the Genesis Group is part of the The Northern Learning Institute, which is is owned by the Nunasi Corporation, which is owned by all the Inuit of Nunavut who are enrolled under the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement. That all seems above the board… I think.

The page identifies what the group considers the “best practices in the area of Aboriginal Technology & learning across Canada.”

These include web page development, online schools, and a “talking dictionary” project.

November 4, 2010   1 Comment

Digital Video Pilot Project – Vancouver Island

The Saanich Indian School board on Vancouver island has created a pilot project to incorporate technology into the learning process. This includes something near and dear to my heart, the production of digital videos.

The program is geared towards students in grade 12 and has several goals, including

    working with a First Nations topic,
    being involved with the community,
    having community value, including use in social studies classes from grade 4 to 9,
    receive credit for technology courses

    An example of a film is archived at:

November 4, 2010   2 Comments