15 years

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No one would have known anything about the fight except for yet another man looking on with pen and notepad in hand. He quickly runs to an office and begins to write the story. This is cowboy journalism.

A man on a hill spots the iron horse off in the distance blowing black smoke into the sky. He throws brush onto a fire and using a blanket makes smoke signals. A group of men ready themselves to examine this latest invader and to decide what to do about it. This is “Indian” journalism.

In one you have to pay to receive news and knowledge that is usually sensationalist in nature and in the other, the news and knowledge is freely and objectively given to all.

The Nation has always attempted to freely pass on news and knowledge throughout its existence. When we first started that was our vague mandate and it continues to this day.

Over the years we also tried to do something that is hard to do at times. It was that we did not attack people but rather the policies or issues surrounding a person, service, organization or administration. Instead we tried to put all the differing viewpoints in as objectively as possible.

We admit to having a Cree or First Nations bias but this is part of who and what we are. Mainstream media is far less objective than we are. The only times personal opinions are usually allowed are in columns such as Rez Notes, the Last Line, Under the Northern Sky and in editorials.

Despite this some people took things personally and we are sorry. But we always refer people first to the editor-in-chief and then to our editorial board where such complaints are handled. In some instances cowboy journalism does creep into the Nation but for the most part we try to keep to Indian journalism.

As a community or grassroots magazine we include more than the news. That is why occasionally there are columns on books, computers (we are looking for a Cree writer for this one) and the latest movies or DVDs. The Will on the Grill column was started to provide alternative recipes that were tasty and healthy. For the most part this was done for the rising problems of diabetes and heart problems that continue to plague First Nations on an epidemic basis.

The Nation has existed for 15 years as an independent media source for the north. It is the oldest such organization in Quebec and one of the oldest in Canada. We have done so without any grants beyond the Canadian Magazine Publishers grant given to every magazine. This grant is not First Nations specific. This is because we have not wished to be obligated or dependent on anyone or any organization or government.

As a result all of our revenue comes from advertising. In some cases this has made things very difficult but the freedom to write what the readers need to see is important to everyone involved with the Nation. This shall be something that continues to be a large part of what the Nation is all about.

I thank all our readers and advertisers for making the Nation what it is today and what it shall be in the years to come. It has been a pleasure and a wonderful experience for my staff, partners and me to have served Eeyou Istchee for the past 15 years.

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