On the Air: Opening of a volunteer-run radio station in Red Earth Cree Nation

Currently staffed by two volunteers, Head explained that the community plans to apply for additional funding for more staff. He added that the radio station will combine musical and informative programming and will incorporate the Cree language as much as possible.

“The use of technology over the past ten years has somewhat destroyed our Cree language and some of our young people are having difficulty speaking Cree, so we have to balance that,” he said.

Prince Albert Grand Council Vice-Chief Chris Jobb attended Wednesday’s dedication and said he was truly honored to be invited. He also noted how moved he was by everyone’s expression of gratitude to the Creator for bringing the community together.

“I was so happy and my mind was in the right place at that time. I could literally feel the upliftment of the community,” he said.

A similar initiative was started years ago in Jobb’s home community of Southend, and to this day Jobb says he still enjoys volunteering. Noting the possibility of holding auctions for local families in need, Jobb said the radio station can help bring people together.

“You know, a little hatchet, probably bought for $24, went for $72, and people tried to outbid it. It’s good fundraising, but at the same time people have fun,” he said.

Also reiterating Chief Head’s comments on the importance of maintaining the language and the benefits of having local news, Jobb explained that there are endless benefits of having the radio station in place. He added that strong community relations rely on good communication.

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On Twitter: @nigelmaxwell

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