A research project is currently underway on how to get more young Indigenous language speakers interested in broadcasting careers.

TJ Roy of Ile a la Crosse is partnering with the First Nations University of Canada.

He is interviewing Indigenous broadcasters to understand how they got involved in the industry.

“We are talking to people that are been around for quite a while with radio that have experience. Some of the veterans who are already involved, as employees or volunteers, managers or students. Trying to understand what got them into the industry, and what skills and abilities they see as vital so that they can develop part of the research,” said Roy.

“Try to figure out how we can develop some training associated with the indigenous language radio research. And also try to identify individuals who are good candidates to be recruited in Indigenous language radio.”

Roy is in the early stages of his research, concentrating on the northern languages of Cree and Michif.

So far, he has talked to a couple of broadcast veterans who explained that opportunity is a barrier for breaking into the business.

“I’ve had two interviews from a couple of veterans already, and they did share with me that the opportunities, the employment opportunities are far and few between and in radio because of the limited amount of availability,” Roy said.

But also, one of them told me that he had to undergo some training in Regina, just to upgrade his skills and abilities.”

Roy spoke to the difficulty in attempting to revitalize Indigenous languages.

He explained that the technology that is around today was not available to him when he was younger. He said he learned from his grandparents both Cree and Michif, which he is fluent in, yet he has discovered that while language lessons are being taught in the classroom, many people in the community may only speak a few sentences in their language.

“Personally, my observation is, I think we need to encourage that more at the community level, particularly with the schools. I know that in Saskatoon has a couple of the schools are really pushing their language program and trying to teach the younger generation the language itself. So maybe those are the kind of things we need to push more at the school level in terms of the educational aspect of it that,” said Roy.

People wishing to participate in the Indigenous Radio Research Project can contact Roy at 306-833-7281 to arrange for an interview.