La Ronge, Saskatchewan -- Missinipi Broadcasting Corporation’s (MBC) has been supplying Aboriginal music, radio, and film to northern Saskatchewan since 1983 -- 37 years.
Created via funding from the Northern Native Broadcast Access Program (NNBAP), MBC was funded and supported by the Secretary of State. The program’s aim was to fulfill a long-standing obligation to enhance, protect and preserve aboriginal languages while at the same time allowing indigenous peoples to control their own communications and content.
While initially most broadcasts were in English, a strong focus was placed on use of the aboriginal languages. Today, MBC provides ten hours of Cree languages and ten hours of Dene languages programming per week, and strives to integrate the languages into everything from special programs, to contests and more.
While the video component of MBC's profile has waxed and waned with available funding pools, MBC has recently (Jan 2020) received a grant to digitize tens of hours of tape/film programming captured pre-2000 in northern Saskatchewan. This, coupled with video journalism funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage's Local Journalism Initiative through CACTUS, video production at MBC is now viable again.
While the original list of communities virtually mirrored CBC’s service area, today MBC is heard in well over 70 communities, including many southern cities where thousands of ‘Urban Aboriginals’ now make their homes but still wish to keep informed of what is going on in the north.
The Local Journalism Initiative reporter Brandon White is based in La Ronge, Saskatchewan.