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Proud Indigenous media workers, CMG members – Derek Christianson and Tina House

Every year we celebrate National Indigenous Peoples’ Day along with the many union members who come from Indigenous communities across the country.

It’s particularly meaningful this year when we see the massive marches in communities big and small held to denounce anti-Black and Indigenous racism.  It’s been an important time, hearing so many brave stories from media workers who are sharing their personal experiences of systemic racism at work and in life.

We want to be part of the solution and foster better understanding. Over the next couple of posts, you will get a chance to meet some of our Indigenous co-workers.

Carmel Smyth
National President, Canadian Media Guild





Derek Christianson
Television director at APTN






A few words about me and my work

Ever since I was young, I was considered to be an outgoing individual and was told that I would be great in front of the camera. Since I enjoy the medium of television and film, I decided to pursue a TV career, and here I am.

From a technical perspective, my favorite production would have to be the North American Indigenous Games in Winnipeg. Also, the 2010 Winter Olympics – to see and hear so many different sports in different Indigenous languages being broadcast felt incredible.

We as Indigenous people must not let our physical attributes be a hindrance but rather a strength.

For those aspiring to work in media

To emerging Indigenous media workers, I would say: practise your technical craft and storytelling craft both, and learn from people who came before you, whether they are Indigenous or not.

Living through the pandemic

Thankfully, my life hasn’t been affected in a negative way due to the pandemic, because I have been able to work. As long as there is news, there is work.

I cannot also underscore enough the importance of having a strong family unit. Thanks to our big family (my wife and I have 7 children), we have been able to endure this time a lot better.






Tina House
Video Journalist at APTN





A few words about me and my work

I’m a proud Métis and I live in Vancouver. I started in film and television in 1997 as a movie extra, and then became a talent agent, and owned my own agency at the age of 21.

My father was a political leader of my people, and I used to watch him on television. From a very young age, I saw the power of media as a way to get a message out.

I love working on stories that I consider important. I just completed a nine-and-a-half-minute story on a mother determined to save her daughter from a life of addiction, in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

For those aspiring to work in media

There aren’t enough Indigenous people working in the media – we need more of our own people to be given a real chance and to be properly mentored through training opportunities available in the mainstream media world.

Racism against Indigenous people is still severely under-reported on. Many of us have lived experiences and can tell the stories like no one else without that experience. For these and many other reasons, there must be more of us doing this work.





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