The Community Radio Fund of Canada (CRFC), with support and funding from SiriusXM Canada, proudly announces the launch of Words and Culture, an innovative project poised to support revitalizing and preserving Indigenous languages from coast to coast to coast. Scheduled to debut in early 2024, this groundbreaking project will amplify the voices of Indigenous language speakers, artists, and culture keepers through the power of radio.
Led by award-winning producer and SiriusXM host, Kim Wheeler (Anishinaabe, Mohawk) the project will include the production of five series of six episodes each and will weave together conversations with Indigenous language keepers, community stories, and feature music by Indigenous artists. The team creating this original content will be made up exclusively of Indigenous producers, hosts, and knowledge keepers.
The heart of Words and Culture lies in its commitment to learn, celebrate, and connect. Each of the five series will delve into distinct Indigenous language families – Iroquoian, Athabaskan, Anishinaabemowin (Ojibway), Inuktitut, and Cree. Hosted by learners and speakers of the language, the series will bring together conversations and culture aimed at setting new standards in radio broadcasting.
“The hosts I have chosen almost all come from a broadcasting background and from the nation of the language they will be presenting. I’m thrilled to be working with powerful women like January Rogers (Six Nations of the Grand River), and Christine Genier (Táän Kwách’än Council),” said Wheeler about the influential team who will be building this project together.
“Globalization certainly has had an impact on Indigenous cultures around the world and there is a wide-ranging desire for access to Indigenous languages, with the biggest challenge being access to those who hold the knowledge,” said CRFC Executive Director, Alex Freedman. “Through our partnership with SiriusXM Canada, this programming will be available to anyone who wants to listen to and learn about Indigenous languages in Canada.”
Michelle Mearns, VP, Programming and Operations, expresses pride in the collaboration stating, “We are proud to partner with the CRFC to bring this incredibly important initiative to life and shine a spotlight on preserving and celebrating Indigenous languages,” said Michelle Mearns, VP, Programming & Operations, SiriusXM Canada. “It is essential to us to provide a platform and support for Indigenous content through our many partnerships, sponsorships and North American-wide channel The Indigiverse.”
The Words and Culture program will be offered for broadcast (at no cost) to all Indigenous, community, and campus-licensed radio stations in Canada. It will also air on SiriusXM’s The Indigiverse (ch.165 and on the SiriusXM app) and be made available to schools, Indigenous language immersion programs, and other educational services across the country. The content will also be adapted for distribution in podcast form.