AMMSA History

Dec. 21, 2018

Bert Crowfoot

Publisher Bert Crowfoot

Season’s Greetings from the Board, Staff and Management of the Aboriginal Multi-Media Society of Alberta (AMMSA).

Welcome to the new look of our Windspeaker website and I hope you enjoy it.

It has been an awesome 36 years since the first edition of Windspeaker (then called AMMSA) rolled off the presses on March 18, 1983. We have evolved from hard copy, to include digital and finally to a completely online news service.

It’s been 30 years since we launched CFWE-FM radio in Alberta, and this year we celebrated our new station at CJWE 88.1 Calgary.

(Read below for more of our history).

We hope you continue to follow us for many years to come and all the best to you in the New Year.

Warmest Wishes,

Bert Crowfoot, Publisher and CEO, AMMSA

OUR HISTORY

Windspeaker.com is owned and operated by the Aboriginal Multi-Media Society of Alberta, an  Indigenous communications society dedicated to serving the news and information needs of Indigenous people throughout Canada.

Incorporated in 1983 under the Alberta Societies Act, the Aboriginal Multi-Media Society has steadfastly maintained its commitment to the quality of its products and its people.

AMMSA has served as the model for Indigenous communications societies and organizations. It has provided training, support, and encouragement to other Indigenous groups, communities, and societies wishing to establish their own communications facilities.

Our Mission

The Aboriginal Multi-Media Society is an independent Aboriginal communications organization committed to facilitating the exchange of information reflecting Indigenous culture to a growing and diverse audience.

AMMSA is dedicated to providing objective, mature and balanced coverage of news, information and entertainment relevant to Indigenous issues and peoples while maintaining profound respect for the values, principles and traditions of Indigenous peoples.

1983

Windspeaer, a monthly publication, was first published in 1983. Windspeaker was intended to serve the Aboriginal people of northern Alberta. In the years that followed, Windspeaker expanded and developed its circulation base. AMMSA grew the paper's readership to the point where in 1993, on Windspeaker's 10th anniversary, it refocused the editorial coverage and repositioned the paper to become Canada's first and only provider of national Indigenous news, information and opinion. It was a tremendous leap of faith and required a substantial shift in strategy and a major realignment of critical resources.

1990

With a 100 per cent cut in federal funding for Indigenous newspapers in 1990, nine of the 11 Aboriginal publications across Canada included in the now defunct Native Communications Program closed their doors. Windspeaker was the only publication west of Ontario to survive the federal cuts and was challenged to fill the void created by the demise of these other publications.

1993

"This was an excellent window of opportunity for us, and Windspeaker took up the challenge. Our goal was to provide news, information and views from a national perspective in a way that would complement the work of other Aboriginal media, which typically served a much more local community," said Bert Crowfoot, Windspeaker publisher.

"Back in 1993 we put our faith in our staff to transform Windspeaker into a national forum that would be supported by readers through subscriptions and, in time, by advertisers."

The formula worked very well. After years of cost-cutting with the elimination of government funding, AMMSA and Windspeaker underwent expansion and growth.

"One of our organization's philosophies is to turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones. We saw the elimination of government funding, both provincial and federal, as a wake-up call to pursue the dream of having an Aboriginal publication that was both financially and politically independent. We focused on developing a product that would attract a loyal readership," said Crowfoot.

1996

AMMSA debuts its first website property: www.ammsa.com (This is now our archives website, which was redeveloped and relaunched in 2017.)

2000

AMMSA digitizes all of the published articles in Windspeaker dating back to its beginnings, and those of its publication Alberta Sweetgrass, launched in December 1993. It makes them available online as part of a archive of 20,000+ news and information articles.

See our Windspeaker back issues here on this site: https://windspeaker.com/news/windspeaker-back-issues-1986-to-2015

AMMSA also owns and operates CFWE-FM radio http://www.cfweradio.ca/, Alberta's first and most extensive Aboriginal broadcaster. In 2009, CFWE radio launched in urban centres: Edmonton and Fort McMurray.

2016

Windspeaker.com fully embraces an online only news delivery service.

2018

The CJWE 88.1 Calgary was launched.