20 years of Mamauiitau have flashed by the screen on nearly every television in the Cree world and have left a lasting indelible impression on many people. From the time that it was first introduced and the faces of Emily, Diane, Diane, Bentley Charlotte and Ernie And Many others became synonymous with our relationship with the world of TV, we never realized that the Cree people were amongst the first of first nations to have a media that spanned the country to be understood by so few (relatively speaking). Only when APTN, kicked in and was in need of aboriginal programming did the rest of the country with access to a direct to home satellite dish, was the show aired nationally.
The world of politics and elders were often showcased and many times, a show was repeated. I think at some time in their 20 years of existence, budget to produce shows were often limited and many people got to think that Mario Lord (no offence Mario) was the only hunter in the Cree world, and subsequently, won the best hunter listing in the Nation magazine. Other memorable visions that stirred me were the times when the people of the Cree Nation bonded together to fight the damming of the Great Whale River hydro project and Mamauiitau jostled with other international television shows for attention who covered the story.
I think that history was recorded at the speed of light but it seemed that the story at the time seemed to take forever to produce and be aired. By the time it was aired, it was old news, but still history, no less. I remember when the issues at the time were related to health, social issues and the building of our nation were paramount to witnessing history in the making, did the population of the small world that we occupy, realize that we are indeed, part of the history of the making of this country. Sometimes, I feel that we just take things for granted now, without realizing how important our role was in the promotion of aboriginal rights and that we, as Eeyouch, were and still are, in the forefront of the development of Canadian society.
Now, when we flip through channel after channel, and the variety of shows and networks seem to be mind boggling and ever expanding our vision of the coun- try, the earth and even the universe, we still gather around on Sunday evenings to watch, what we like to call, our show. The only -thing that seems to irk many people, is the fcommercials that are aired today. Why can’t Cree organizations splurge a little and pay to have commercials aired on Mamauiitau? Can you imagine the Cree School Board or the Cree Health Board reach out for thirty seconds at a time, once or twice a week or month? What harm would that be? Even the Nation (who I understand is owed some air time from CBC) would benefit from valued airtime.
I know that many people would sit up and take notice if their companies and organizations would take the time to promote themselves, just like other companies in the country. Even stores (who have more money than the entire Cree Nation) have the sense to invest in marketing themselves. Isn’t that what commercials are for, to promote and increase sales or knowledge? Can you imagine the sales of a regional company and the role that they have within our society, grow by leaps and bounds for thirty seconds of air time. I may even buy some time (probably three seconds) to promote myself as the fabled writer of Reznotes.
One day, when I do get to finish my book, will I be able to promote and sell my memoirs, while I am still alive, instead of having to die first, (like other famous aboriginal people), will I use television and the forum of Mamauiitau and make a commercial like no other ever experienced on the boob tube.
(I apologize to my fans for not being too funny in this column, but I do have respect for others in the media and do not wish to endanger my future chances of going on-air and becoming famous, without spending too much money in the process). Next issue, I will talk about the radio show and the tumultuous history of radio in the Cree world.
Our forum to fame…