Indigenous Peoples, Media & Democracy Conference Explores Transformative Sovereignty

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Indigenous Peoples, Media & Democracy Conference Explores Transformative Sovereignty

May 7, 2024

The inaugural Indigenous Peoples, Media, and Democracy Conference took place on May 7, 2024, at the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) in Regina. The groundbreaking event brought together Indigenous leaders, scholars, and advocates to explore the intersection of media, democracy, digital protocols, and Indigenous sovereignty.

Dr. Jacqueline Ottmann, President of FNUniv, expressed enthusiasm about the conference, stating, “This conference represented a crucial opportunity for Indigenous voices to be heard and recognized within the Canadian media landscape.”

The event was a collaborative effort between FNUniv and the Canadian Digital Media Network (CDMRN) at the Media Ecosystem Observatory, McGill University. It featured a diverse lineup of speakers and panelists from across Canada, who engaged in discussions on topics such as the role of media in shaping democratic processes, the revitalization of Indigenous storytelling, the role of digital protocols in sharing Indigenous knowledge, and the importance of Indigenous communities controlling their narratives.

“We were very excited to partner with First Nations University of Canada to explore the intersection between media, Indigenous narratives, and democracy,” said Aengus Bridgman, Director of the Media Ecosystem Observatory. “We hope this event leads to further exploration of these ideas and inspires the students that attended.”

Esteemed speakers included Kim Wheeler, an Anishinaabe/Mohawk writer and podcaster; Dr. Jennifer Wemigwans, University of Toronto researcher and author of A Digital Bundle; and Dr. Merelda Fiddler-Potter, a researcher and Assistant Professor at FNUniv. The day concluded with a banquet and an evening address by Pulitzer Prize-winning Cree journalist Connie Walker.

Dr. Merelda Fiddler-Potter emphasized, “Together, we explored how both traditional media and online social networks influence the way we share our stories. We need our allies to support our efforts to be heard and to ensure that our narratives reach the policymakers who shape the democratic process.”

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