INCA 283 History of Aboriginal Media in Canada

Indian Communication Arts (INCA)





First Nations University of Canada

Department of Indigenous Languages, Arts and Culture

Indian Communication Arts (INCA) program

INCA 283 Course Outline for Winter 2014


History of Indian/Native Media in Canada (INCA 283)

INCA 283-S01


Instructor: Shannon Avison, MA (Media Studies)

Assistant Professor, Indian Communication Arts (INCA)

Office SI 1065 (INCA Computer Lab)

Office phone: (306) 790-5950 x 3230

Fax: (306) 790-5991

Cell: (306) 536-8069



Course Dates: January 7 to April 14, 2014

Days/Times: Mondays 2:30 – 5:15

Location: SI 1065


Calendar Description:

INCA 283 – History of Indian/Native Media in Canada

Students will review the role of communication in traditional societies, review and analyze the use of media in contemporary societies around the world, and attempt to redefine the role of communication on Indian/Native societies today.

Prerequisite: INDG 100 and ILP 100 or permission of Department Head.


Website for the course:

All materials, assignments, reading, videos, etc. for this class will be posted on this website. Please ensure that you have access to the site and click on the follow button to ensure that you receive messages and updates.


INCA 283 attendance requirement:

Students are required to attend every class.  Any student who misses one class will be required to provide a doctor’s note or other appropriate documentation to be excused from the class.  Any student who misses two classes will be asked to withdraw from the INCA 283 course. Please discuss any absence with the instructor.


Reading assignments:


Textbook: Indigenous Screen Culture and articles assigned in class

All other reading assignments are available online in online journals, including the Canadian Journal of Communication and the International Journal of Communication, or will be provided by the instructor



Learning objectives:


By the end of the semester, students will

  1. Understand the early development of Aboriginal media and the ways in which Aboriginal media provided avenues for constituting “public spheres” for discussion and public opinion formation, as well as means to communicate with external publics;
  2. Understand how the traditional communication practices of Aboriginal people were disrupted by the reserve system and legislation designed to “civilize” Indian people;
  3. Understand the ways that mainstream media characterized Aboriginal people and issues;
  4. Appreciate the range and variety of Aboriginal media in Canada and abroad;
  5. Understand the reasons for and the importance of public funding from the Canadian government in the evolution of Aboriginal media that started after 1969;
  6. Know the history of Aboriginal radio in Saskatchewan, and the evolution of MBC radio from a small northern broadcaster to a province-wide radio network;
  7. Understand the impact of the reduction of federal funding for Aboriginal media and the ways that Aboriginal media have evolved as businesses;
  8. Understand the history and mission of APTN and know what is required to pitch a show to the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network:
  9. Have an appreciation of the variety of programming produced by and for APTN;
  10. Understand the challenges and opportunities for Aboriginal media in Canada.
  11. Appreciate the challenges of reporting in Indigenous communities.




INCA 283 Assignments:

Note: All assignments are mandatory and must be submitted on the due date provided in this course outline.  Papers will be marked and returned as quickly as possible and students will be permitted to make changes and resubmit the assignment within one week of the day it was returned.


Assignments Instructions/grading Date Due
Assignment #1 Aboriginal mass media survey Students will conduct Internet and library research to complete the chart/template provided by the instructor for this assignment.  The goal of this assignment is to have students start to appreciate the range and variety of Aboriginal publications, broadcasters (radio and television) and other media producers in Canada.  The completed assignment should include the completed chart with 20 organizations and a 500-word “reflection” about what was learned through researching this assignment.


This assignment will be the basis of a discussion and exercise in class in the second week. No late assignments will be accepted.


/10 marks


Monday, January 20

Assignment #2

Interview research re: an Aboriginal media organization

Each student will select a different Aboriginal media organization, complete background research on the organization and then conduct an interview with a representative of that organization. In a 750-word report, students will introduce their research subject (including a brief description of the organizations history), provide a description of their research methodology, present their findings and an analysis of their findings.   Each student will also deliver a 10-minute multimedia enhanced presentation on their subject and organization in class on the day the assignment is due,


/10 marks – 1,000 word report


/10 marks – multimedia presentation


/20 marks

Monday, February 3
Assignment #3

Mid-term Exam



The mid-term quiz will focus on dates of historical significance in the development of the Aboriginal media in Canada.  Questions on the quiz will include True/False, Multiple Choice and Short Answer.


/15 marks


Monday, March 3
Assignment #4

MBC Radio Survey


Each student will complete a survey questionnaire developed by the class, to understand the role, purpose, diversity and challenges of individual MBC affiliates. The completed survey will be submitterd along with a 500-word reflection on the  findings of the interviews. This assignment will be completed and will provide the basis for a discussion with Deb Charles, CEO of Missinipi radio.


/ 15 marks



Monday, February 10


Assignment #5

APTN Program Research


Each student will select a program on APTN (which must be approved in class by the instructor) and research the program in order to complete a 750 word review and a 5-minute presentation in class.  Presentation must include a clip or trailer of the show.  Report should include a brief synopsis of the show, history of the show, production information, and what you think makes this a show suitable for the APTN audience.


/15 marks

Monday, March 25
APTN Program Pitch



Each student must study the APTN website and develop an idea for a one off or a series that conforms to the APTN mission and mandate, and draft a 500-word “pitch” that outlines the idea for your show.  Your pitch will be presented in a 3-minute presentation to Danielle Audet, Manager of Programming, Western Region, APTN on Monday, April 1.


/5 marks


Your final, revised pitch will be due one week after the pitch and should reflect feedback received during the pitch session.

/10 marks


/15 marks

Monday, April 7
Class participation This mark will be assessed based on attendance, preparedness and contribution to the class.


/10 marks

All class meetings
Total Course Grading: Normal (numerical grade)


/100 marks




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Shannon Avison

306-790-5950 x3230
Monday 10 - 2
Tuesdays-Fridays by appointment

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