The New Media Nation: Indigenous Peoples and Global Communication

By Hutchison, David | British Journal of Canadian Studies, July 1, 2011 | Go to article overview

The New Media Nation: Indigenous Peoples and Global Communication


Hutchison, David, British Journal of Canadian Studies


Valerie Alia, The New Media Nation: Indigenous Peoples and Global Communication (New York: Berghahn Books, 2010), 224 pp. 39 illustrations. Cased. £50. ISBN 978-1-84545-420- 3.

Valerie Alia is an engaged academic. That is clear, for example, from the facts she presents about her own career, and from the Statement of Principles of the Native News Networks of Canada, of which she is the co-author, and which is reproduced as an appendix to this book. It is also clear in the indignation she manifests about the ill-treatment and oppression which has been inflicted on various indigenous minorities in different parts of the world.

The book ranges very widely: in addition to those minorities whose media experience one would expect to see discussed - the Inuit, the Australian Aborigines and the Sámi - attention is also given to significant minorities in Japan, Taiwan and elsewhere.

As far as enabling minorities to use modern media is concerned, Canada comes out of the discussion rather well; its willingness to spend money is tartly contrasted with the stinginess of the authorities south of the border in dealing with their own indigenous peoples. Alia describes her adopted homeland as having 'long been the world leader in fostering broadcasting and film in remote communities, and by and for First Peoples'.

There is a lot of fascinating material in this book and it is striking that, the internet notwithstanding, radio remains central to indigenous media activity. …

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