It takes dedication and passion to tell a story properly. Dan Smoke-Asayenes and Mary Lou Smoke-Asayenes Kwe of London, Ontario, have been telling their people’s story to enraptured fans for over a decade.

Dan and Mary Lou, co-hosts of Smoke Signals First Nations Radio, were recognized April 7 as winners of the Most Outstanding Multicultural show in the radio programming category at the 2002 CHRW / TV Western Awards. Dan and Mary Lou also won the award in 1998 and 2000. In 2001, they received special recognition for being on the air for 10 years; bringing their total number of awards to four in the past five years.

“We are very proud of this honour, since four is such a sacred number in our culture” said Dan of the award. Both Mary Lou and Dan were overwhelmed when Barry Woodey, host of Jazz For A Sunday Night, requested to speak to the Smoke Signal’s listening audience at the end of their program, and surprised them with an on-air presentation of the awards.

Smoke Signals is a features program that highlights First Nations music, arts, traditional teachings and public affairs. It began in 1991 as a 15-minute window on the environmental show, “Greenwaves”, hosted by Jeremy Price. Within the year,

Smoke Signals had blossomed into a stand-alone two-hour feature and has since maintained a strong public following. Over the last ten years, Dan and Mary Lou have tackled many important issues relevant to First Nations peoples, and conducted stirring interviews with area First Nations Chiefs, academic scholars, actors, and other spiritual leaders from the region.

“Native media plays a significant role in the wider healing movement by educating, organizing and mobilizing audiences into action.” said Dan about the show.

Dan and Mary Lou, in addition to co-hosting Smoke Signals, are well known for their roles as helpers and advocates for the First Nations community. They serve on Boards of Directors for several native agencies, and encourage all First Nations brothers and sisters to speak, write, and express themselves through art and music. Although their focus over the years has been directed mainly towards the success of First Nations peoples, after listening to Dan and Mary Lou speak, you’ll find they are an inspiration to all.

Smoke Signals First Nations Radio airs from 6:00 to 8:00 EST pm every Sunday on CHRW 94.7FM Radio Western. It can also be heard on home computers on Real Audio or Real Player format at: for live broadcasts.