Photo: Amber Bear received a job offer from MBC Radio after completing her certificate.

New training offered for local radio and communications

A new program at FNUniv is available for students looking for hands-on training in community relations and community radio. The Indigenous Journalism and Communication Arts (INJC) program was developed specifically for Indigenous radio station managers, volunteers and staff, and people in communication roles in their communities across Canada.

The INJC is a one-year, 30-credit program. It is offered remotely over Zoom, except for the three-week INCA 200 Summer Institute in May-June 2024, which is delivered in Regina.

INJC students take three courses in the fall semester (September to December) and three in the winter (January to April). Each class has three hours of instruction and activities on Zoom each week, plus individual and group assignments; so, students can maintain their employment and home fires.

Students can specialize in community radio or community relations.

Radio students learn to set up and maintain licensed radio stations (Type B Native and community undertakings) and how to develop and deliver a schedule of programs that serve their community. In 2020, there were over 50 Indigenous radio stations in Canada.

Community/public relations students learn how to develop strategic communication plans that target specific audiences with culturally (and linguistically) appropriate messages.

Program Coordinator Audrey Dreaver says the INJC program is perfect for people who already work in communications—for community organizations and community radio.

“Community radio, especially in remote communities, is an important and often vital way to inform our people about support and opportunities,” said Dreaver.

“It is just one of the tools at our disposal that connects people through sharing of information and stories from Indigenous perspectives,” said Dreaver. Programs like the INJC give students the opportunity to keep working in their communities while receiving valuable training in their chosen field.”

“Communication is so important for absolutely everything we do,” said Associate Professor Shannon Avison. “It’s often overlooked, but when it’s done well it can make a world of difference for a community and a nation.”

“This (INJC) program empowers students, with technical and management skills, as well as the cultural knowledge they bring to the program from already working in their communities, to make a powerful impact through different forms of communication—especially community relations and community radio,” said Avison.

Amber Bear graduated with her INJC certificate and a business degree in June 2023, and already has a job offer from MBC radio, the indigenous radio network in Saskatchewan.

“INJC introduced me to an industry and opportunity I didn’t even know existed,” said Bear.

“The understanding I gained about Indigenous broadcasting and the networking I did through field trips is why I got the offer for MBC,” said Bear. “I have a great job in my community, and I get to work with my people and continue learning my Cree culture and language.”

INJC students apply to FNUniv/UR and are registered at First Nations University of Canada. All courses are transferable to advanced programs, like the Indigenous Communication Arts (INCA) two-year diploma and Bachelor of Arts.

INJC students are eligible for student funding, including band and Metis funding, and student loans. Tuition for the whole program is under $10,000 and, because students can take the program remotely from their home communities, students don’t have to relocate or leave their employment.

For information about the program contact Shannon Avison.