INCA 283 History of Aboriginal Media in Canada

Indian Communication Arts (INCA)

Avison-Speaking and Hearing

Speaking and Hearing: Aboriginal Newspapers and the

Public Sphere in Canada and Australia

Shannon Avison

Michael Meadows

Abstract: Disenfranchised Aboriginal people in both Canada and Australia have had a long struggle to gain access to democratic institutions like the media. Aboriginal newspapers since the late nineteenth century in Australia, and early twentieth century in Canada, have played a crucial role in the symbolic reclamation of space for an Aboriginal public sphere. In this paper, we suggest that a combination of social and political events, along with particular policy environments, enabled the formation of Aboriginal public spheres through access to media technologies-in this case, the press. While broadcasting and multimedia may dominate the popular imaginary, it was print technology which set up the framework on which the emerging Aboriginal communications industry is built.

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Speaking and Hearing

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Shannon Avison

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INCA 283

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