CBC Digital Archives

Our Native Land: Making the Canadian Indian

On Saturday afternoons for 21 years, dedicated listeners would "get their bannock and tea," and tune into CBC Radio for news from Our Native Land. The first - and so far only - national radio program focused on native issues and cultures, it chronicled the rejuvenation of native literature, art, culture and political activism beginning in 1965. Hosts included Johnny Yesno, Bernelda Wheeler, Albert Angus and Brian Maracle, who were part of the all-aboriginal production team.

The rights and freedoms of Canada's First Nations people have been governed by a single piece of legislation since the 1876. After a report on the latest parliamentary review of the act, Our Native Land broadcasts the history of the Indian Act, beginning in 1850. This 1982 show also reports on easing tensions between Dene and Métis associations in the Northwest Territories. A long feature profiling the growing number of single native mothers in Canadian cities asks, "where are the native fathers?" 
• One of the main aims of the 1876 Indian Act was enfranchisement. To native people, enfranchisement meant a lot more than the right to vote. Along with acquiring the same political rights as Canadian citizens, native people would have to give up their special Indian status and all rights to land claims. An entry in the McClelland & Stewart Canadian Encyclopedia (2000) reads: "From the beginning, Indian communities resisted enfranchisement, which they correctly viewed as attempting to erode them." Enfranchisement wasn't defeated until a century later, after native rights groups insisted their aboriginal and treaty rights be enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. 

Medium: Radio
Program: Our Native Land
Broadcast Date: Sept. 4, 1982
Guest(s): David Ahenakew, Desmond Bryce Bennett, Jack Burgard, Jane Godfriesen, Chuck Heron, Kathleen Jamieson, Basil Johnson, Linda Keeper, Eunice Kirkness, Vera Martin, Keith Penner, Donna Pinay, James Ross, Sally Weaver, Myrna Whitehawk, Don Whiteside, Derek Wilson
Announcer: Tom McCullough
Host: Brian Maracle
Producer: Bernelda Wheeler
Reporter: Cindy Clegg
Duration: 45:38
This clip has been edited for copyright reasons
Photo: Library and Archives Canada, PA-170161

Last updated: October 30, 2013

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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