As of today, we are celebrating our 35th year of publishing Indigenous news with the launch of the new AMMSA News Archives.
Windspeaker is moving forward by taking a look back with the launch of our new Archives Website with more than 30,000 of our past news articles and photos dating back to our beginnings in 1983.
As of today, we are celebrating our 35th year of publishing Indigenous news with the launch of the new AMMSA News Archives website at http://www.ammsa.com
Our first issue hit the news stands on March 18, 1983. It started as a small Alberta publication, but on its 10th anniversary in 1993, Windspeaker leapt to the national stage.
The first publication didn’t yet carry the Windspeaker name. In the beginning it was called AMMSA (Aboriginal Multi-Media Society of Alberta). The name change to Windspeaker wouldn’t come until 1986, when the organization held a paper naming contest. Windspeaker won out over other names, including “Spirit Voices.”
Related: Read more AMMSA history here: http://www.ammsa.com/node/43748
“Wow! I can’t believe that it has been 35 years since we put out the first edition of AMMSA (Windspeaker) from the boardroom of the Secretary of State (Canadian Heritage) in Edmonton,” said Publisher and Founder Bert Crowfoot. “As soon as we received word that we were approved for funding, it took only a week for us to round up our crew and publish that first edition on March 18, 1983.
“I was like a new father patiently, or impatiently, waiting at the printers for our newborn baby to roll off the press. Finally, when it did, a 'New Dawn in Indigenous Communications' was launched.
“Over the past 35 years, many different people have contributed to our success. Editors, writers and photographers all have to be acknowledged and thanked for being a part of the reason Windspeaker is still here. We would also like to acknowledge the Alberta government and Canadian Heritage for believing in us and providing funding to help get us started.
“The thing that I am most proud of is that Windspeaker has always adhered to the ethics of journalism. We have always tried to remain objective and unbiased covering government, big business and even our own Indigenous leadership. I’m so proud of that,” he said.
Crowfoot acknowledges, though, that those 35 years haven’t always been easy.
Anyone in newspaper publishing will tell you that the industry has had its ups and downs, and mostly downs in recent years. AMMSA and Windspeaker was determined, however, to navigate the stormy publishing seas and evolve with the times.
In 2000, AMMSA launched its first website, digitizing all of the previously published articles dating back to 1983, and loading them to the site. This site has now been upgraded to our News Archive website with a new look and easier browsing.
AMMSA thanks Jack Tsai of Alberni Online for the work he has done to create the site and its new look, making it ready for our anniversary. It has been a pleasure working with him on this project.
"It’s a wonderful project,” said Tsai. “It is a pleasure to work with the AMMSA team and to support their desire to share and preserve Indigenous news. We relished the opportunity to take on a project of this magnitude, and in delighting AMMSA with the result.
“To know that we have played a small part in making these important stories and photos more accessible makes this project all the more satisfying."
Internet technology became the next logical step for AMMSA and the obvious future of publishing for Windspeaker. In recent years, AMMSA abandoned the distribution of costly hard copies, with the limited circulation and number of pages, and embraced online publishing only through a re-envisioned Windspeaker with http://www.windspeaker.com.
“Technology has changed and with it how the news is being delivered,” Crowfoot said.
We can now reach many more readers while delivering more Indigenous news, sports, entertainment, culture, photos and video from more places around the country.
But for those of you who miss the old days, we bring you great news from Library and Archives Canada.
Through a National Heritage Digitization Strategy pilot project, readers can view Windspeaker’s back issues to the first “Windspeaker” in 1986.
The back issues were digitized with funding from the Salamander Foundation as part of the project to learn more about newspaper digitization in Canada.
Windspeaker was one of three titles digitized under this pilot project. They are now available on the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) website here: Windspeaker volume 4 (1986-87) to volume 33 (2015).
Learn more about the National Heritage Digitization Strategy website here: https://nhds.ca/
"Digitizing this title would not have been possible without the support of Windspeaker’s Publisher Bert Crowfoot, who granted permission to digitize the material," reads a statement from NHDS.
Library of Canada is in the process of developing a search interface to provide better browsing and full-text search of the material.