Wawatay Native Communications Society

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Wawatay Native Communications Society (Wawatay for short) was formed in 1974 by the people of Northern Ontario, Canada's Nishnawbe Aski Nation, as a source of communications technology, namely radio, television, and print media services for the Oji-Cree communities. Its mandate is to preserve the indigenous language and culture in its service area. Wawatay's general office is located in Sioux Lookout, Ontario, with bureaus in Timmins and Thunder Bay.

Northern Ontario Primary Region in Ontario, Canada

Northern Ontario is a primary geographic and administrative region of the Canadian province of Ontario, the other primary region being Southern Ontario. Most of the core geographic region is located on part of the Superior Geological Province of the Canadian Shield, a vast rocky plateau located mainly north of Lake Huron, the French River, Lake Nipissing, and the Mattawa River. The statistical region extends south of the Mattawa River to include all of the District of Nipissing. The southern section of this district lies on part of the Grenville Geological Province of the Shield which occupies the transitional area between Northern and Southern Ontario. The extended federal and provincial administrative regions of Northern Ontario have their own boundaries even further south in the transitional area that vary according to their respective government policies and requirements. Ontario government departments and agencies such as the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario and the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation define Northern Ontario as all areas north of, and including, the districts of Parry Sound and Nipissing for political purposes, while the federal government, but not the provincial, also includes the district of Muskoka.

Nishnawbe Aski Nation

Nishnawbe Aski Nation is a political organization representing 49 First Nation communities across Treaty 9 and Treaty 5 areas of Northern Ontario, Canada. Re-organized to its present form in 1981, NAN's original objective was "to represent the social and economic aspirations of our people at all levels of government in Canada and Ontario until such time as real effective action is taken to remedy our problems."

Oji-Cree North American indigenous peoples

The Oji-Cree, Anishinaabe or, less correctly, Severn Ojibwa or Northern Ojibwa, are a First Nation in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Manitoba, residing in a narrow band extending from the Missinaibi River region in Northeastern Ontario at the east to Lake Winnipeg at the west.


Wawatay's mission statement says that they are "... dedicated to using appropriate technologies to meet the communication needs of people of Aboriginal ancestry in Northern Ontario, wherever they live."

A mission statement is a short statement of why an organization exists, what its overall goal is, identifying the goal of its operations: what kind of product or service it provides, its primary customers or market, and its geographical region of operation. It may include a short statement of such fundamental matters as the organization's values or philosophies, a business's main competitive advantages, or a desired future state—the "vision".

Wawatay is the primary source of news for the remote areas of Northern Ontario. The name comes from the Oji-Cree word for the aurora borealis.

Wawatay Radio

The society operates two radio networks:

The Wawatay Radio Network (WRN; ᐙᐙᐦᑌ ᓇᐣᑐᐦᑕᒧᐎᐣ (Waawaate Nandotamowin); unpointed: ᐗᐗᑌ ᓇᑐᑕᒧᐎᐣ) is a network of radio stations that broadcasts news, talk, sports, local and popular music. Native language and English are both heard, often mixed together. In many NAN communities the local WRN transmitter is the only station that can be picked up in the community without difficulty.

WRN operates the following stations:

CKWT-FM is a radio station of Wawatay Radio Network in Sioux Lookout, Ontario, Canada. The station airs a programming format for First Nations, and serves much of Northwestern Ontario through a network of rebroadcast transmitters.

CJWT-FM is a First Nations community radio station that operates at 106.7 FM in Timmins, Ontario.

WRN can also be heard nationwide on Bell TV channel 962.

Wahsa Radio is a network of radio stations that broadcasts educational distance learning and informational programming. The network is operated in conjunction with the Northern Nishnawbe Education Council.

Wahsa Radio is heard on the following stations:

Wahsa Radio can also be heard nationwide on Bell TV channel 972.

Wawatay TV

Wawatay TV produces aboriginal TV productions which air nationally on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. The service also formerly leased time from the Ontario Parliament Network on its system of over-the-air transmitters in remote Northern Ontario communities. [1]

Wawatay Television has produced many documentaries, children's programs such as Wawatay Kids TV, and outdoor shows.

Wawatay News

Wawatay News (ᐙᐙᐦᑌ ᐋᒋᒧᐎᓇᐣ (Waawaate Aajimowinan); unpointed: ᐗᐗᑌ ᐊᒋᒧᐏᓇᐣ) and its digital version Wawatay News Online (ᐙᐙᐦᑌ ᐋᒋᒧᐎᓇᐣ ᐲᐙᐱᐦᑯᐣᐠ (Waawaate Aajimowinan Biiwaabikong); unpointed: ᐗᐗᑌ ᐊᒋᒧᐎᓇᐣ ᐱᐗᐱᑯᐠ) is a semi-monthly newspaper. According to Wawatay, the newspaper is in a tabloid format, distributed free to the residents of 93 First Nations in Northern Ontario. It is also sold via newsstand dealer to many other communities in Northern Ontario with a subscription rate for readers outside of the general circulation territory. Total circulation is 9,300 copies with a reading audience of over 58,000 Aboriginal people.

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  1. "Northern graduates band together Taught by radio in remote areas, natives to get diplomas". The Globe and Mail , June 20, 1992.