Northern broadcaster's idea leads to launch of Indigenous Rights Report
Les Carpenter suggested idea for international rights publication to Intercontinental Cry magazine
A non-profit news organization is citing a Northern broadcasting legend with providing inspiration for a new project focused on documenting Indigenous rights stories around the world.
John Ahniwanika Schertow, Editor in Chief at Intercontinental Cry magazine, says the idea for the report initially came from a conversation he had with the late Northern broadcaster, Les Carpenter.
"After talking with him for a few minutes about what I do, he bluntly said I should do a radio show to give his listeners in the North a chance to know what's happening," Shertow wrote on the magazine's website.
The written equivalent of the report is published weekly on the site. Access is reserved to readers who support the magazine on fundraising website Patreon. There aren't enough funds to produce a radio program yet.
The radio program remains a long-term goal for the Winnipeg-based publisher — money raised through Patreon will help make it a reality — but for now, it exists as a weekly written report.
Shertow says there are also plans to create a 30 minute podcast if the online report catches enough interest.
He described the report as a condensed version of Intercontinental Cry magazine. The organization specialises in producing journalism focused on Indigenous peoples, climate change and international human rights.
Led by journalists and academics of Indigenous descent, Intercontinental Cry has covered stories for more than 650 Indigenous nations in the last 15 years.
The lack of funding that exists for Indigenous media has put serious limitations on the production of the Rights Report project.
Only two members from Shertow's team are currently able to work on the report, but he eventually hopes to bring in at least two more people to focus specifically on the podcast.
'We should know that we're not alone'
Janene Yazzie is the Sustainable Development Coordinator for International Indian Treaty Council and the co-convener with the Indigenous Peoples' Major Group for the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals forum.
The core of her work is to protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples internationally by ensuring their voices are heard in major political decision making processes.
Yazzie says that the ongoing legacy of colonialism around the world makes projects like the Indigenous Rights Report essential in today's media landscape.
"Not only are we still dealing with the legacy of colonization, but also ongoing activities regarding the continued theft and threats to our land, territories, and resources through neo-colonization," she said.
After finding out about the report, Yazzie says she happily supported Intercontinental Cry on Patreon to access it.
"It's these types of efforts that are going to be necessary to help take advantage of [the] new opportunities that have been created for Indigenous Peoples to become leaders in international decision making processes," she said of the report.
Shertow says his goal is to ensure the report is available to people across Canada and the U.S. — increasing accessibility for those with minimal internet through the planned radio program.
"We should know that we're not alone in our struggles; that what we are going through in our communities is everywhere and it's easy to say that, but it's another thing to know it," says Schertow.