Aboriginal people get embedded with radio crew, police
A day with CBC Radio’s Superior Morning crew was a hit with Anishinabe author Sandi Boucher.
“I got there at 5:45, just as the show was starting,” Boucher said. “I was right in the booth with Lisa (Laco) and Mary Jean Cormier and looking at Elliott (Doxtater-Wynn) in the next booth so it was absolutely amazing.”
Boucher visited the morning show on Oct. 3 as part of CBC Thunder Bay’s Embedded project, which offered ordinary Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people the chance to explore, examine and experience life outside their cultural comfort zone.
“CBC Radio, in my opinion, has always done an amazing job of being respectful and coming out with projects like this that allow those bridges to be built between the two cultures,” Boucher said. “So the chance to go in there and do something that I never would have imagined possible for me was just something I couldn’t pass up on.”
Boucher said the Aboriginal staff at CBC Thunder Bay make a difference in the station’s coverage of events.
“Because they have First Nations staff, it allows them to consider other projects and it allows them an insight they wouldn’t have otherwise,” Boucher said. “Those staff are there and they’re offering their opinions on topics, and it allows them to first cross over the bridge and then be able to take their listeners along with them.”
Boucher was surprised with the amount of work involved in producing the morning show.
“Listening to them every day, it sounds to them to me like they’re sitting around the kitchen table just talking, just taking turns,” Boucher said. “But to see what goes into it and how timed it has to be because there’s the national network as well. Everything has to be timed absolutely perfectly.”
Boucher’s friends were “quite excited” to hear her on the radio.
“My followers know I am very interested in the city and always looking at new ways to try to work with people and to increase understanding of First Nations people,” Boucher said. “I even had friends from southern Ontario tuning in to hear it, so that was awesome.”
The Embedded project was developed by CBC Thunder Bay reporter Jody Porter to provide listeners with an opportunity to spend a day with the Superior Morning crew, take part a traditional First Nations ceremony, visit an First Nations after-school program, be chief for a day with Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Harvey Yesno, learn the secret of making bannock, go behind the scenes with a mining company, be mayor for a day with Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs or to take a shift with a Thunder Bay police officer.
“It’s our version of reality TV, without the TV,” said Susan Rogers, program manager for CBC Thunder Bay. “Our hope is that individuals from both communities who engage in the project will come away with a new understanding from their experience — and have a lot of fun in the process.”
Lakehead University student Ken Cyrette, from Fort William, took the shift with a police officer on Oct 4 as a comparison to other police ride-alongs he has done in the past with First Nations police officers.
“By comparison, the duties of a Thunder Bay police officer is much more busy compared to a First Nations organization,” Cyrette said. “There is just so much more for a police officer in the City of Thunder Bay to do. The city is much more busy, with more things going on and more calls to respond to compared to a First Nation where you may not get a call.”
Cyrette said the ride-along with Thunder Bay Police Const. Gordon Snyder involved proactive traffic stops for cell phones or speeding.
“Generally, there are claims by people in our community that traffic stops occur or they are pulled over based on who they are or the colour of their skin,” Cyrette said. “After seeing these traffic stops executed, that is all just coincidental. Their driving behavior or their actions are 100 per cent the main reason people are pulled over. It has nothing to do with their background.”
Email to a Friend
add to del.icio.us