Indigenous radio show launches next month

Tue. Apr. 29/14

A new radio show featuring heritage, language and music from Central Vancouver Island's culturally rich aboriginal groups will launch this May.

The program, being called Si'em' nu Ts'lhhwulmuhw (meaning "my fellow native people" in the Hul'qumi'num language), aims to educate the public on culture and history from Nanaimo's three area First Nations: Snuneymuxw, Stz'uminus and Snaw-Naw-As (Nanoose).

The show has been in the works for about four years, and will air on CHLY 101.7 FM every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 10 a.m. starting next month.

Kenny Brault, the show's producer, said he plans to feature local aboriginal musicians, interviews with elders, Hul'qumi'num language clips and more.

But he is letting the show take its own direction and evolve naturally.

"Who knows where it'll go," he said.

"It's up to (the First Nations) and the rest of the community. It's a big vision."

Brault has been working with Snuneymuxw elder Geraldine Manson for the last few years, who said she is excited to hear cultural traditions that she grew up with on the airwaves.

"There have been traditional knowledge or language projects, but we've never done anything on the radio," she said.

"Just to hear the songs and stories. In the old days, that was a way of teaching our young people. A way of sharing a life history."

Natasha Bob, a Snaw-naw-as councillor who is also deeply involved in the project, added that the radio show is a way for local aboriginal people to share stories in their own way.

"I think that it has potential to encourage people to be more comfortable with the local culture and that there will be a level of understanding and humility," she said.

"When you have that appreciation, it can have a tremendous effect on other things."

Bob said she especially wants to showcase what young people are doing, which is everything from hip hop to more traditional art forms.

Buffi David, a musician from the Stz'uminus First Nation who is also involved with putting the show together, added that she is just excited to get music out there.

"I wasn't sure what (this radio show) was going to look like when it came together," she said.

"But I wanted to sing. A lot of it is teaching through song. And for me, it's all about the children. It's for them."

The first segment of Si'em' nu Ts'lhhwulmuhw will air on CHLY on May 5 at 10 a.m.