[QODLink]
Living the Language
Over the Airwaves
The traditional storytelling of indigenous cultures is moving into a new era and new forms of transmission.
Last Modified: 23 May 2012 10:18

The traditional storytelling of indigenous cultures is moving into a new era and new forms of transmission. Indigenous TV programming has found an audience in countries like Australia, Canada and New Zealand - earning nick-names such as 'satellite dreaming'.

"Traditionally we put songs and stories to a picture anyway. That's part of our culture," says Tricia Morton Thomas who works with an indigenous broadcaster in Australia. "Television is something that is just an extension of it."

The challenge for these broadcasters, apart from the ever-present lack of funding, is to give the viewers what they want. They must provide a perfect mix of education and children's programmes as well as mainstream programming. And special attention must be paid to the fact that many viewers do not speak the language fluently.

The shows need to be entertaining and educational at the same time, according to Jean LaRose at APTN Canada. "Our audience is looking to us to not only provide language programming, they're looking to APTN to provide entertainment that could be in languages," he says.

The key seems to be in providing content with specific relevance for the respective communities. Just like pretty much everyone else, indigenous people like to watch people they know and places and situations they can relate to.

Some broadcasters have more clearly stated language education objectives than others. Maori TV puts a lot of effort into producing content for children. However, this does not only mean education as such - the goal is to "normalise" the Maori language.

Maori independent TV producer Kay Elmers says: "They get the language in the classroom. But we can give it to them out and about. We actually show the kids that it is a real living language that can be used anywhere. It's not just for school."

Every 14 days a language dies. Follow the people battling to save theirs.

Living the Language can be seen on Al Jazeera English each week at the following times GMT: Tuesday: 2230; Wednesday: 0930; Thursday: 0330; Friday: 1630; Saturday: 2230; Sunday: 0930; Monday: 0330

  • Australia: The Aboriginal People - from April 17
  • Guatemala: The Maya - from April 24
  • Canada: The Ktunaxa - from May 01
  • Bolivia: The Aymara - from May 08
  • New Zealand: The Maori - from May 15
  • Over the Airwaves - from May 22

 

Source:
Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
Weaving and handicrafts are being re-taught to a younger generation of Iraqi Kurds, but not without challenges.
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Colleagues of detained Al Jazeera journalists press demands for their release, 100 days after their arrest in Egypt.
Mehdi Hasan discusses online freedoms and the potential of the web with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
Featured
As nuclear age approaches eighth decade, visitors flock to historic bomb craters at New Mexico test sites.
Venezuela's president lacks the charisma and cult of personality maintained by the late Hugo Chavez.
Despite the Geneva deal, anti-government protesters in Ukraine's eastern regions don't intend to leave any time soon.
Since independence, Zimbabwe has faced food shortages, hyperinflation - and several political crises.
After a sit-in protest at Poland's parliament, lawmakers are set to raise government aid to carers of disabled youth.
join our mailing list