Windspeaker Media to broadcast Canadian Football League contest in Cree

Friday, July 8th, 2022 10:12am


Image Caption

Bert Crowfoot, CEO and president of Windspeaker Media, and Victor Cui, president and CEO of the Edmonton Elks


“We're excited to be working with a tremendous partner like Windspeaker Media, who has gone above and beyond on this historic broadcast.” — Victor Cui, the Elks’ president and CEO
By Sam Laskaris

An historic moment in Canadian sporting history will be made later this month and Windspeaker Media will play a major role.

Windspeaker Media has joined forces with the Edmonton Elks of the Canadian Football League (CFL) to have its July 22 home contest versus the Winnipeg Blue Bombers broadcast in the nêhiyawêwin (Cree) language.

It will mark the first time a CFL broadcast will be heard on the radio in an Indigenous language.

The broadcast will be carried throughout Alberta via Windspeaker Media stations, CFWE-FM in Edmonton and CJWE 88.1 FM in Calgary.

The match itself will be staged at The Brick Field at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium.

Victor Cui, the Elks’ president and CEO, announced the partnership between his squad and Windspeaker Media on Friday, July 8, on CFWE’s morning show.

“Sports has the power to transcend all language barriers,” Cui said. “As a community-owned team, bringing people together around the game of football is one of our main objectives.”

Cui said Windspeaker officials should be commended for their work towards making the Cree broadcast a reality.

“We're excited to be working with a tremendous partner like Windspeaker Media, who has gone above and beyond on this historic broadcast,” Cui said.

elks logo

Bert Crowfoot, Windspeaker Media’s CEO and president (and publisher of, said Elks’ officials approached his company a few months ago to determine whether it could be involved with the club’s Indigenous Celebration game.

This will mark the first time the Elks’ franchise has held a game raising awareness for and honouring Indigenous peoples.

“They came to us but they didn’t realize the reach our stations had,” Crowfoot said of representatives from the CFL team. “We basically cover the whole province. They thought we were just a small Native radio station. As soon as they knew what our reach is they were excited.”

Other festivities have also been announced for the Elks’ Indigenous Celebration contest.

For starters, prior to the match the Canadian national anthem will be performed in Cree and English.

Also, the game’s ceremonial coin toss to determine which club kicks off, will be handled by George Arcand Jr., grand chief of Treaty Six First Nations.

Indigenous performers will entertain the crowd at halftime. And the Elks are also throwing their support behind an Indigenous youth football camp that will be held that same day in Edmonton.

“To be able to do a broadcast of a professional league is huge,” Crowfoot said.

Windspeaker Media had previously broadcast a pair of Western Hockey League (WHL) games, including one earlier this year involving the Calgary Hitmen in the Blackfoot language.

The WHL, which primarily features Major Junior players ages 16 to 20, is considered an amateur league.

Crowfoot wasn’t surprised the Elks came to Windspeaker Media to see if there was interest in broadcasting their game.

“We have experience doing play-by-play in language,” Crowfoot said.

The on-air personnel who will be handling the Cree broadcast has been announced. Performing those duties will be Wayne Jackson, Darcy Houle and Edwin Thomas.

Jackson, a member of Goodfish Lake First Nation in northeastern Alberta, has been a Cree language teacher and a language advocate for more than 20 years.

He’s thrilled with the opportunity to broadcast the Elks/Blue Bombers battle in his first language.

“It will be monumental to broadcast in the language of our ancestors on Treaty Six territory for what we pray to be a start of common occurrence in the revitalization of our Indigenous languages,” Jackson said.

Houle is also from Goodfish Lake First Nation and a fluent Cree speaker.

Thomas is from Saulteaux First Nation in Saskatchewan. He is fluent in Cree and also speaks the Saulteaux language.

Crowfoot said the broadcast crew will have to be a bit creative while describing the action.

“There is no Cree word for touchdown or sideline or just some other football terminology,” he said. “They’ll use Cree language to describe things. When they want to create a word, they will have to describe it.”

Crowfoot said the same approach was taken when Windspeaker Media broadcast the two WHL matches. He said many listeners texted during those matches asking about certain descriptions of hockey phrases that were utilized, at times offering their own suggestions.

Crowfoot also said exploratory discussions have been held to determine the possibilities of having other CFL squads broadcast their games in an Indigenous language.

CFWE and CJWE listeners will have opportunities to win tickets to the July 22 Elks’ match. Details on how to win will be announced soon.

Listen Live to CFWE here: and Listen Live to CJWE here: