25 january 2013

«Voice of the Tundra»


(AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)
An elderly Nenets reindeer herder sits on his sled among the buildings of the Val Gamburtseva oil fields in Russia's Arctic Far North.

With Canadian help, a new radio station will soon be going on the air in the Russian Arctic.

The "Voice of the Tundra" is being set up the Nenets Broadcasting Company (NBC), the main Russian partner in the project. Also participating are the Norwegian Barents Secretariat and NRK Sapmi, and the Canadian-based Indigenous Media Institute.

The organizers' aim is to help preserve the culture and language of about 50,000 Nenets reindeer herders. The Nenets live in the Siberian Arctic and are the last of a breed.

Eleven young indigenous participants were selected for the project in September. They are learning the craft of producing radio, but it is no easy task since most Nenets youth speak Russian and are not fully versed the language of their fathers and grandfathers.

In March, Canadian trainers will travel to Siberia to help further develop the program. Later this year, the young Nenets participants will travel to Canada to train at the Aborginal Voices Radio Network, which has five broadcasting licences in Canada.

The main Canadian participant so far has been Lewis Cardinal, executive vice-president of Aborginal Voices Radio.

Terry Haig spoke with Lewis Cardinal about the project and its importance.
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