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Wawatay Native Communications Society, located in Sioux Lookout, Ontario, provides media services in television, radio and newsprint to communities throughout Northern Ontario. See how Wawatay Native Communications Society promotes language retention and cultural awareness through its programming and feature stories.

Transcript: Wawatay Native Communications Society

David Neegan – CEO Wawatay Native Communications Society

Wawatay Native Communications Society is located in Sioux Lookout and we have two sub offices in Thunder Bay and in Timmins.

We are an Aboriginal organization that is accountable to the communities throughout Northern Ontario ….and our mandate is to promote language and culture within the Nishnawbe Aski Nation.

What Wawatay does is that it provides exclusively programming in one of the three dialects, Cree, Ojicree or Ojibway and it promotes language retention because that is the only language we broadcast in.

David Neegan – CEO Wawatay Native Communications Society

With radio we are the leading North American Aboriginal language broadcaster and we are very proud of that. We have radio transmitters located in each community …

Isiah Nothing – Elder Bearskin Lake FN

(with on screen subtitles)

Wawatay Communications was the Elders' dream so that they could communicate with each other within the communities and know what is happening in the other communities.

Brent Wesley – News Director – Wawatay News

Wawatay News is distributed every two weeks.

Our current distribution for the newspaper is about 9,300 newspapers… most of those go to the remote communities in the Far North, and to various urban centres too.

We are the only source of news that pertains to the communities.

When you grab a copy of the newspaper you will find it in English or in syllabics which is in the dialects of Ojicree or Cree and Ojibway Roman Orthography.

I think that is important for the Elders especially who speak the language to be able to read the stories that impact them.

Michael Dubé – Senior Producer-Television Department – Wawatay Communications

Wawatay Television started in 1987 and we started broadcasting with APTN in 1999.

Over the years Wawatay Television has produced various amounts of television programming from children's programs, hockey games…documentaries, reality shows, sports …and a lot of news programs as well.

Victor Lyon – Television Producer/Director Wawatay Communications

Our programming is all 100% Aboriginal content …ranging from the language to the culture to all the people from the Northern communities.

It is beneficial for the Elders to be able to see and hear their own language, but I think it is more important for the youth to see that and to hear it, right on stage, nationally with other English programming.

Victor Lyon – Television Producer/Director Wawatay Communications

We have brought back traditional beliefs and practices to a lot of people and a lot of people have different choices now.

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