Idle No More: Supporting our media!

Regardless of your position on Idle No More (though I’m assuming if you’re reading this blog you are probably fairly positive towards the movement), one thing that should be abundantly clear by now is just how much needs to be done to better understand the issues indigenous peoples face here in Canada.

aptn-logoToday I’m going to be plugging a corporate interest, because for the past fourteen years, I have been directly benefiting from the mandate and work of the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN).  The programming provided by the APTN has given me access to programs IN MY LANGUAGE (something I did not have access to before), and has provided me with news coverage that includes peoples and communities I never saw represented in any way but negatively on any other network.  With native news anchors, camera people, and so on, my children see themselves represented in professional roles. They see our cultures celebrated and explored through an indigenous lens instead of through the colonial gaze.

I also feel that now, more than ever, Canada needs to have access to aboriginal voices, and though they aren’t perfect, the APTN has being doing a pretty stunning job of providing that access.

Today marks the second time that the APTN will be going through the license renewal process which is a public affair, given that the APTN (like other media outlets) is funded by Canadian taxes.  To get a sense of what the APTN strives to achieve, take a gander at their license renewal application.  Major initiatives include engaging aboriginal youth (with a particular emphasis on indigenous languages), solidifying APTN as a national network (both in delivering the news and other kinds of programming) and developing a multi-media platform (again with a focus on indigenous languages).


A Cree language children’s program from APTN.

As APTN explains on their site, they currently receive 25 cents per Canadian subscriber through monthly subscription fees, and are asking for an increase of 15 cents in order to expand the network and achieve the three initiatives outlined above.

The CRTC wants to hear from Canadians on APTN’s application, and you have the opportunity before the deadline of February 27th, to submit any and all comments you think the CRTC should consider in order to make its decision.  Right now, we face a very hostile political environment, and I think it is very necessary that those who support the APTN take a little time to submit their comments, because it is not a given that the application will be successful.

On this page, the APTN lays out how you can make your comments and even provides a sample letter if you are at a loss for how to best put your thoughts together. I’m going to reproduce it here just for the sake of spreading the information.

What to do

Write a letter or fill out the online form (process explained in next part) containing:
  • APTN licence application file number 2012-0993-2;
  • Whether you support or oppose the issue or application, or whether you simply want to provide a comment;
  • Details to support your position;
  • Whether you want to appear at a hearing, if a hearing is scheduled.


Send the letter to the CRTC either online or via fax/mail:

Online form: Go to and follow these steps:

  • Select language of choice.
  • Under Quick Links, select Public Proceedings. Under Public Proceedings, select the link “Submit interventions, comments and answers by respondents”.
  • Click on the Submit button associated with Notice Number 2013-19.
  • The system will prompt you to complete the submission process. (I’m adding in the direct link to help speed things up since I found it a bit tricky to navigate. Hope the link works!)
  • When choosing “Type of Submission” check the first option.
  • You get a huge list of media corporations. Click on the 5th, which is APTN.
  • You can either write in what you want to say (you indicate whether you are in support, in opposition or just want to comment on APTN’s application for license renewal), or you can attach a document you’ve already written up.
  • The deadline to submit is February 27, 2013.

Fax: 819-994-0218
Mail: Secretary General
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0N2

And finally

Send a copy of the faxed or mailed letter to the APTN:

  • If you submit electronically, a copy of your submission will automatically come to APTN. However, should you fax or mail your letter to the CRTC, you are required to send a copy to APTN either by:

Fax: 204-943-8985
Mail: Licence Renewal
339 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, MBR3B 2C3

I know it can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming when you are constantly asked to sign this petition and write your MP and do this and do that and do this other thing…but the APTN is the ONLY network that is devoted to indigenous peoples and our issues in this country, and it needs our support to keep operating and expanding.

I am very much hoping that you will take the time to show your support, if you do indeed support the APTN.  If my explanation still didn’t help you navigate the process, this one might!

Many thanks!

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16 Responses to Idle No More: Supporting our media!

  1. Brian Seaman says:

    As a non-Aboriginal ally/supporter of INM, I will be adding my voice to the cause of supporting the APTN application before the CRTC. Whether we are talking about the full, ugly extent of the racist attacks on Mohawk women, children and elderly people by a mob of rock-throwing white Quebecois men during Oka or the more recent threats, even sexual assaults, against Aboriginal women that carry warnings to stop INM, it has become obvious to me that non-Aboriginals are NOT getting the full picture about what is happening to the Aboriginal peoples of Canada.

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  3. Karen Wirsig says:

    Thanks for this great post. A quick clarification: tax dollars make up a tiny proportion of APTN’s funding; the bulk of APTN revenue comes from cable and satellite revenues (the $0.25 per subscriber; APTN is asking for an increase to $0.40). If you are on cable or satellite and you write a letter to the CRTC, be sure to say that you are more than willing to spend another 15 cents per month on APTN.

  4. Choppin broccoli says:

    Just faxed my letter to the CRTC and cc’d APTN. Felt good to do something for them!

  5. I just made a submission with the following comment:
    I support increased funding and any support of the APTN because I have noticed that they provide information which is not available on the CBC or any other source which I have found.
    I agree with the contention that the network provides wonderful role models for First Nations youth. Aside from considerations of social justice, since this is a rapidly growing population, I want them to be positively engaged in our society.

  6. Mark Loft says:

    Done, and done!

    Also, boys and girls, don’t forget to submit an intervention *AGAINST* Sun news network’s application for a general partnership (which means they will be subsidized, the only way they can survive)


  7. Perry Bulwer says:

    Thanks so much for alerting us to this. I’ve posted several comments here on this blog over the past year concerning the CBC and anti-Indigenous racism on its website, and describing some of my correspondence with CBC management and their refusal, even at the highest levels, to take my complaints seriously or engage with the suggestions I offered them on how to better fulfill CBC’s legislated mandate regarding the Indigenous Peoples. Although CBC has done some good programming, such as the 8th Fire series, there is so much more it could do to accurately educate citizens on Indigenous issues.

    I sent copies of all that correspondence to the Truth & Reconciliation Commission, and now I intend on sending the same copies, with my cover letter supporting APTN, to the CRTC.

  8. daveM says:

    Increased funding will allow greater visibility for the culture that few Canadians understand, it will allow more and more Canadians to appreciate a people that has not been seen at its best.

    Idlenomore has exposed me to the people behind it, the men and women and the children and their way of life and their creativity.

    I have written before, more than once, that First Nations need more exposure to the rest of Canada. For some reason we have isolated First Nations and their beauty from our lives, it is time that Canadians begin to see and recognize a great part of their heritage.

  9. fem_progress says:

    I will sign this with pleasure. I also wrote the CRTC to tell them to deny Sun Network’s request to become a mandatory channel. Who needs more hate?

  10. Kiley says:

    Signed and sent to my classmates, for whom university has surely prepared to deal with the tediousness of the submission process!!!!

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  12. Thanks for the great post- it was helpful for us when writing our support letter. Just submitted it- and we’ll tweet a last reminder to other folks to do so tomorrow- and recommend they read your blog if they need inspiration!

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