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Consolidated media doesn't serve native communities
Submitted by jonathan on Wed, 2007-11-07 07:29
Folks from many NW communities have been buzzing this week about the upcoming FCC hearing on media ownership. It's inspiring to see so many of the outreach emails that different people have passionately cobbled together in an effort to inform their friends and neighbors about the hearing and the issue of media control. With the FCC giving us just five business days' notice of the hearing, they've made it clear that they really don't care about hearing from rural and working people in the northwest. It's grassroots email communication, like the below email from Native American community radio host Robin Carneen (NAMAPAAH First People's Radio, KSVR Mt. Vernon), that will bring out a real range of voices this Friday.
So the FCC is coming to town & they are holding a public meeting asking for in put because they want to loosen things up for the "big guy"...so we need to tell them "NO"..."NADA"..."UH_UH!"...
Because I feel mainstream multimedia does not represent us, Native Americans/ First Nations folks, as well as other unheard minority folks and grass roots voices! Not always...but rarely in my book, I feel...that is why I do Native multi media...radio, film, newspaper,etc
We have had so many untruths told about us...in movies, in school books, newspapers, on TV & in the news...in many cases it is still US against THEM. And people who have the power to educate & inform can sometimes keep the wound gaping open with their ignorance & misconceptions, be it the educational system, main stream media and others. To date we still have to tolerate derogatory images, comments and attitudes towards our race of people. I know we are not alone in this.
Case in point: There have been recent cases of DJ's saying some pretty nasty things about my Native Brothers & sisters in Minnesota....did any of you hear about this? And it was not the first time.
And locally, right here in Washington State, when situations like the Makah Whaling controversy hit the fan in full force, the main stream media,local TV channels and certain newspapers, in the beginning of the breaking news ran rumor laden stories, pretty much tried & convicted the tribal members in the press, which gave license to racists comments that are allowed in their newspaper & accessible online... awful and hurtful enough to make your hair curl....and what about the next generation that is exposed to all this? It divides people, it divides children. How awful and counter productive is all this? How do we heal as a country?
So tirelessly & patiently, Native radio folks like myself, Native American calling, National Native News, NV.1.org, AIROS, and too many to list, radio station wise, offer the counterpoints, even giving equal airtime to those who have a bone to still pick with us. Not as a defense, but as a way to re-educate those who have been brought up to believe & accept the Native American stereotypes and who lack compassion for what has happened to us over 100's of years. I am grateful to KSVR & KZYX & Z who have given NAMAPAHH First People's Radio airtime! It has been a gift! And a privilege & countless First People's Voices have been heard through our programs for years. We have a chance to speak our minds, we have a chance to share our gifts, through music, art so much more that can talked about and listened too on these shows. We have grown and re-instilled pride and helped start much needed healing not just for our people, but for those all across the Nation and World who know, for the most part, what happened to us. However, they may not have all the pieces, we fill in the blanks & challenge the lies.
More and more film making is going on in Indian Country and across all borders. Our Indigenous films are being shared a lot more often on public TV. We are breaking into the mainstream festivals as well as showcasing them through festivals of our own that EVERYONE is welcome to attend & view...IMPORTANT...
I was quoted once as saying there are "too many John Wayne Movies" and not enough about our Indian people. But we are doing something about that, by getting to our feet, with microphones, recorders, and video & digital cameras in our hands. We are modern day storytellers.
With the FCC's help, will find more outlets for these stories and information, not less, which would happen if Media Consolidation is allowed. That is what is being addressed at this hearing on Friday.
I have a few more thoughts:
I want to know the last time FOX TV announced an upcoming Powwow, or got the word out that one of our Elders was sick & needed prayers?
I want to know how many Native Americans have a computer an Internet access? The other misconception is that everyone has Internet access...I know of some reservations that don't even have electricity yet & even right here in WA state. I can't afford wireless & if I was living on certain parts of my reservation I couldn't get it if I could afford it.
This is not the "Cowboys against the Indians," don't get me wrong. But this is about big corporations against the grass roots folks in the trenches. We were "embedded" from birth, most of us.
My final thought: Media Consolidation is just another form of control, a way to classify us, and a tool to oppress us in this century. Diversity is sorely needed & voices of many who do not have much of a chance to have a say in the corporate world, should always have an outlet, that is accessible, user friendly and commercial free.
I am greatly opposed to Media Consolidation and if it is allowed, the FCC will be tying our hands as minority and grass roots voices. However, we will not be silenced, we will continue to show up and speak up in every way, shape and form that we have access to.
FCC please do not deny us equal access, by allowing Media Consolidation…
"Keep that Native radio going on & them cameras rollin' " Robin Carneen