The World Indigenous Television Broadcasters Network is meeting on Gadigal Land in Sydney this week for its eighth global conference, hosted by SBS’s own National Indigenous Television Network (NITV).
Tanya Denning-Orman, Channel Manager for NITV, opened the conference with a powerful speech on the importance of indigenous TV (if we do say so ourselves).
“Our vision is to preserve and promote indigenous languages and cultures worldwide,” Denning-Orman said.
“At a time when indigenous people make up five per cent of the world's population, but account for 15 per cent of the world’s poor, indigenous media – having a voice for us – having a voice for the world to connect with us - is more important than ever,” she said.
Broadcast media has the power to connect and empower communities, giving cultures and stories national recognition.
Denning-Orman spoke glowingly of the Canadian Aboriginal Peoples Television Network’s decision to peruse broadcast rights for the 2014 Winter Olympics – and to broadcast content in indigenous languages.
“I was so inspired to see how Aboriginal words were created to take on ‘sporting terms and manoeuvres ’ – let alone the mere fact that for the first time their communities could simply sit back and watch their favourite sport and hear the commentary in their own language, in their own country,” she said.
As the world’s longest continuous indigenous culture, Denning-Orman said Australian Indigenous broadcasters had a special responsibility as “the world’s oldest story-tellers”.
Being part of a network of indigenous broadcasters gave NITV the ability to amplify those stories worldwide.
“When our news team, through our perspective told the stories of remote community closures and detention centers – it was WITBN that echoed our story – our way – to a world audience,” Denning-Orman said, “A global audience interested to know what exactly is going on in Australia.”
“It is this network that sees the value of the indigenous voice – it is through WITBN where our people can see their place in the world,” she said.
The series includes stories of a Canadian Cree woman in incarceration, to the Amis people of Eastern Taiwan fighting a battle against commercial and government property developers, and Maori tribes findings solutions to widespread homelessness.