Aboriginal CKCU goes on the air

Of the 24,085 full- and part-time students, currently enrolled at Carleton University, approximately 250 are Aboriginal. If these students get lost in the crowd, they can often find it difficult to remain connected to their First Nation, Metis or Inuit communities. A new CKCU radio show might just be one way, however, to keep the “channels” open.

“Aboriginal students don’t really see anything of themselves on campus,” says Irvin Hill, Aboriginal Cultural Liaison Officer with Carleton’s Centre for Aboriginal Culture and Education—Equity Services (CACE). “A radio show written for the community, by the community might just help to make Carleton a little bit more Aboriginal-friendly.”

The half-hour show, currently called Aboriginal CKCU, will air at 9:00 a.m. every Sunday, and presents news, local events and interviews of interest to the Aboriginal community, as well as special features unique to Native culture (such as horoscopes read from totems instead of stars). Perhaps the most prominent offering is Aboriginal music from Canadian and some American Indian performers.

The program rotates among several volunteer hosts: Geraldine King, Guy Freedman, Michelle Bourque and Marcia Trudeau—all active members of Ottawa’s Aboriginal community, and Carleton students Shirley Gagnon and Courtney Powless.

Participants from both on- and off-campus have been encouraged to sit in the host’s chair.

Hill first pitched the idea to CKCU’s Program Director, Dave Sarazin at the beginning of last December and enthusiasm for the project has been so great, among CACE volunteers and the community at large, that it has only taken three months for the program to become a reality.

“They had a clear vision and they weren’t long in getting the ball rolling,” comments Sarazin, who was eager to see an Aboriginal show added to his station’s already diverse mix of programming. “We have quite a few multicultural programs, but we’ve always thought an Aboriginal presence was lacking.”

The first installment of the show, to be hosted by King on March 11, features an interview with Dennis Zotigh—an American Indian research historian from Oklahoma—on the history of the modern powwow and music by actress/singer/songwriter Tamara Podemski, known for her television roles in “The Rez” and “Dance Me Outside.”

The broadcast is available at www.ckcufm.com, locally on Rogers Cable 944 and, of course, the old-fashioned way at 93.1 on the FM dial.

Name that show

The producers of Aboriginal CKCU are holding a contest to find a more imaginative name for the new program. If you would like to enter the contest, visit the website at geocities.com/aboriginalckcu. The winner will receive a family pass to the Odawa Powwow in May, 2007.

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