CBC/Radio-Canada is launching a new effort to improve Indigenous representation

CBC/Radio-Canada on Monday unveiled a new three-year plan to improve Indigenous employment and representation, which includes creating a new Office of Indigenous Peoples to oversee those efforts.

The first National Indigenous Strategy for Public Broadcasting was launched at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg.

“Our goal is to better reflect, respect and amplify diverse Indigenous perspectives across public broadcasting,” Robert Duane, Gitxsan journalist and new senior director of strategy, said in a statement.

Duane says the goal is to build on CBC/Radio-Canada’s connection with First Nations, Inuit and Métis, which he said dates back to the launch of the CBC Radio North service in 1958.

“Although we are launching our first-ever strategy today, we are building on a legacy of decades of programs and services,” he said.

Doan did not comment on the broadcaster’s financial commitment to the strategy, or whether it had been affected by recent budget constraints. CBC/Radio-Canada said late last year it would do so Reduce about 10 percent of its workforce due to a potential budget shortfall of $125 million. These layoffs are ongoing.

“What I can say is that we are committed to thinking better and serving First Nations, Inuit and Métis, no matter what challenges we face,” he said.

watched Launch of the CBC/Radio-Canada National Indigenous Strategy:

CBC/Radio-Canada has faced criticism for underrepresenting Indigenous voices in the past, including in June 2020 when Kristen Guinier, then the host of the CBC Yukon Morning radio program, He resigned in protestSaying the broadcaster’s journalistic standards and practices make it difficult for her to speak out as an Indigenous woman.

Overall, First Nations stories “have been told and retold over and over again without our consent, using language that effectively displaces First Nations from claiming ownership of our lived experiences,” said Cathy Myrick, grand chief of the Manitoba Council of Chiefs.

It’s time to change that, she said Monday. “Our people will be included – we will tell our stories, and we will tell the truth about our people.”

David Bowden, Minister of Agriculture for the Manitoba Metis Federation, said it’s time for diverse Indigenous communities to have “real, authentic partners” working with them to share their stories, so they are included and remembered.

“Our children need to see themselves represented on television, whether in journalistic roles or in entertainment and educational content – ​​and yes, we need to see ourselves represented in senior leadership roles at the CBC,” he said in announcing the strategy.

A man gestures while speaking in a conference room.  He's holding a smartphone and standing in front of a whiteboard.
Robert Duane is the new Senior Director of Strategy. Previously, he was an Indigenous consultant for National Public Broadcasting. (Submitted by Robert Duane)

According to CBC spokesperson Leon Marr, the strategy will start with getting an accurate measure of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis workforce at Radio-Canada.

Then, they will set “realistic and meaningful goals that we can validate every year,” he said in an email, aimed at creating opportunities for all First Nations, Inuit and Métis.

The broadcaster will also conduct a study of its previous coverage to better understand its representation of those populations.

The changes may not appear overnight, Doan said. But ultimately, it’s hoped that “listeners will see more Indigenous content that is more representative of the reality of First Nations, Inuit and Métis, in all their diversity,” he said in his statement.

“It is the beginning of a national commitment — a new journey of understanding to help pave the way for more First Nations, Inuit and Métis to connect and work with us, and to better express, respect and amplify diverse Indigenous perspectives across public broadcasting.” He said.

Catherine Tate, president and CEO of the broadcaster, says the strategy provides a framework to amplify the voices of Indigenous communities and their employees.

“This is a very proud moment for all of us at public broadcasting, and I truly hope it will pave the way for strengthening relationships as we move forward together,” she said.

An annual report, including input from staff and viewers, will be released to track the CBC’s progress.

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