Gwich'in start their own newspaper

by Glenn Taylor
Northern News Services

INUVIK (DEC 06/96) - The Gwich'in Tribal Council is set to release the debut issue of its very own newspaper this month.

About two months ago, the council was considering developing a newsletter to keep Gwich'in beneficiaries better informed about how their claim money was doing.

But the idea grew and burgeoned into a much bigger concept. The result is Delta Voices, with a focus not just to inform Gwich'in but to provide news to all residents across the Beaufort Delta region.

The first issue of Delta Voices is set to appear in mail boxes Dec. 15. A free distribution paper, Voices hopes to draw people from across the region interested in writing for the paper.

"We want it to be a community news vehicle for the whole area," said Jennifer Castleden, news editor of Voices. The focus will be to chronicle activities happening with the Gwich'in and Inuvialuit claim groups, to get more news from places such as Holman, and to provide training for youth interested in writing for the paper and improving their writing skills.

The paper plans to serve Paulatuk, Sachs Harbour, Tuk, Fort McPherson, Aklavik, Tsiigehtchic, Holman and Inuvik. Each community school will be given a page each month to do fill as they please.

The schools are free to submit articles, photos, poems or whatever they like. Castleden hopes a group of interested writers from the communities can also be brought on line to keep up the community content.

While it is a Gwich'in venture, Voices is open to all writers and readers. At the same time, there will be some Gwich'in text included in each issue, to allow people to read in their own language.

"There will be Gwich'in text in every issue, but some things will be just in Gwich'in, while some will be just in English or in both languages," said Castleden.

The first issue will run at about 16 to 20 pages, but most papers after that will be 24, said Castleden. The newspaper will seek advertising, and will be free to all.

The Gwich'in Tribal Council hopes the paper will be a profitable venture for the council. "There's no government funding involved.... We anticipate we can run it on advertising revenue," said Castleden. "We definitely feel it will be a profitable venture."

Layout and design of Voices will be done using computers at Gwich'in Geographics. Printing will be done in Alberta. No full-time staff will be hired to run the paper, which will be managed by Gwich'in Geographics.