WINNIPEG — The first national aboriginal TV network in North America goes on the air on Sept. 1 to seven million Canuck cable and satellite subscribers.
Aboriginal Peoples Television Network will be based in Winnipeg and Yellowknife, programming 120 hours weekly in English (60%), 25% in Ojibwa, Cree, Inuktitut and other First Nations languages, and 15% in French.
“The goal is to instill pride in our people, in our heritage, our culture, and our languages,” Abe Tagalik, the net’s chief operating officer, told Daily Variety. “It’s TV made about, and by aboriginal people. It sure won’t be Hollywood Indians burning wagons and scalping people.”
APTN plans to broadcast existing material from independent aboriginal producers across Canada, who are regionally represented by 21 board members.
The net’s own news and public affairs programs will start in January. “We are running some programs produced by U.S. aboriginals in Alaska and Hawaii,” said Jennifer David, the net’s communications director.
The inaugural show features Nikumoon Top Hat Choir singing Cree to Beethoven, and native singer Susan Aglukark.
Annual revenue is estimated at $10 million from subscriber fees (86%), advertising (6%), with government funding (8%) to be phased out in five years.
The net will have a staff of 45 and will carry no beer or liquor ads.