A newly created First Nations radio station in the B.C. Interior is receiving $180,500 in program funding the federal government announced Monday.
Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, said the funding is being provided under the Northern Aboriginal Broadcasting component of the Aboriginal Peoples’ Program to the Tŝilhqot’in Community Radio project.
“In order to survive, language and culture must be given a platform for others to hear and be immersed in them,” Wilson-Raybould said. “Getting news or hearing music in your own language is something most Canadians take for granted, and I am proud that our government is investing in a project that brings this same experience to the Tŝilhqot’in Nation.”
Announced last December, Tŝilhqot’in Community Radio is based in Williams Lake.
It is being developed to provide its audience with access to a variety of programs in Tŝilhqot’in, Carrier, Nuxalk and English, featuring language lessons and interviews; news and community updates; traditional stories and songs; music and comedy segments; and a community morning show. It broadcasts its radio programming to the six Tŝilhqot’in communities in British Columbia.
“Our government is taking concrete measures to protect Canada’s Indigenous languages and culture,” said Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage. “An investment in the Tŝilhqot’in Community Radio Project goes beyond preserving a traditional language; it’s about fostering a cultural space that allows the community to flourish and grow.”
Tŝilhqot’in National Government tribal chair Chief Joe Alphonse said the radio projects provides a place for the Tsilhqot’in to share their stories, their history and their culture in way that’s accessible to them.
“The ability for our youth, or really anyone, to tune in and listen to this programming is going to have an effect on not only learning of the language, but learning of who we are as a Nation,” Alphonse said. “Communication within the territory is a challenge with limited internet availability and no cell service. This funding received will work to launch the radio project but it is really just the tip of the iceberg. We look forward to negotiating enduring agreements that will ensure a strong and vibrant Tsilhqot’in language and culture for generations to come.”