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IsumaTV: Preserving Indigenous Media And Connecting Native Communities

Before the era of participatory social media, indigenous films and videos were extremely difficult to find and expensive for the producers to produce and distribute. But now using different social media based tools and platforms people are producing localized, low-budget productions and are able to distribute them online with minimum effort.

One such notable video Internet portal is Isuma.tv from Canada, which is an independent interactive social networking website of Inuit and Aboriginal films launched in January 2008. The site hosts films for free and intends to help Native communities around the world become connected. Its parent Igloolik Isuma production company's mission is to tell authentic Inuit stories to Inuit and non-Inuit audiences worldwide by producing independent community-based media so that Inuit culture and language can be preserved and enhanced.

IsumaTV's tools enable Indigenous people to express reality in their own voices. It uses new media networking technology to build a hub of communication and exchange among Indigenous and non-Indigenous people and communities around the globe.

Teague Schneiter writes at the Hub (Witness):

As a self-proclaimed “action-oriented” online platform that enables users to join and “participate interactively in a collaborative process for change,” IsumaTV is the type of platform that is familiar to us at the Hub. It has become an active space of participation, collaboration and activism for Inuit and Indigenous communities, organisations and causes both locally and internationally. It seeks to use “the power and immediacy of the Web” to improve communication and exchange within and between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples by encouraging the creation of content that features native voices. It creates opportunities not only to record, store and present content, but to share and create an active community around Indigenous knowledge, languages, experiences, opinions, and ways of life. Not only is a site devoted to Indigenous media with sharing capabilities, but increasingly they are becoming actively involved in campaigns, projects and initiatives to open peoples’ eyes to Indigenous realities.

There are currently over 2600 videos in 46 different Indigenous languages archived in the platform. The Digitizing of the Inuit and Aboriginal Media Archives (DIAMA) project preserves irreplaceable Inuit and Aboriginal media archives at risk of being lost. IsumaTV cleans, reformats, digitizes and uploads priceless audio-visual materials collected since the 1970s.

The site is available in either high or low bandwidth for those in more rural communities. NITV (Northern Interactive Television Network) on IsumaTV is an innovative project using 2.0 interactive media to promote language, energize culture, engage youth and save lives in Canada’s Inuit and Aboriginal communities.

“Show Me On The Map: Discussions on Mining on Aboriginal Lands” is an online blog discussing the social, economic, and environmental issues surrounding mining in the Canadian Arctic. Visit http://www.isuma.tv/hi/en/showmeonthemap to hear the concerns of those living in these communities relating to future mining prospects.

Follow Isuma TV in Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and Youtube for more updates.

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