Bets were being placed on the Nation’s demise even before the first issue hit the printers almost 25 years ago. And some people have been praying for our end ever since.
From the beginning, this newsmagazine hasn’t always been what people may have expected. Even though there have been changes in ownership, a huge staff turnover, and occasional graphic redesigns, the Nation still serves the same essential mission it started with a quarter-century ago. We are a voice for the Cree of James Bay, of their struggles, conflicts, culture and ambitions.
Twenty-five years is a long time. The Nation changed journalism in Eeyou Istchee. Not only are we a part of the Cree establishment but we are also a respected and trusted part of the media domain now, both in and out of Eeyou Istchee.
That is one hell of a legacy. It’s a credit to the many people who helped build this institution over the years, those who believed using journalism to make a difference in our readers’ lives. The pay was – and remains – low. But the rewards of knowing that you were not only a part of the community and a nation but assisting in helping to create a better future continues to make it worthwhile.
This legacy by no means guarantees a future for this publication. Let’s face it: print media in recent years has taken a pounding in the face of competition from online behemoths such as Facebook and Google. Many newspapers have disappeared, while those that remain are a fraction of their former selves – going from thick bundles bursting with copy and ads to thin sheets produced by a few remaining, overworked staffers.
This is the other part of the survival story. We survive without any significant subsidies, an independent media that is also a viable business. We are one of the only vehicles for advertisers to reach increasingly prosperous Cree communities. And this transaction provides a space for those communities to express themselves. We are part of that community, and with a little luck and a lot of hard work we’ll be here for another 25 years.