June 16, 2010

San Manuel launches TV channel

Donation establishes the Nation’s First 24-Hour Native American TV ChannelA $6 million donation by the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians will allow San Bernardino-based KVCR Television to launch the nation’s first 24-hour Native American television channel, tribal leaders and the station announced on Wednesday, June 16.

The Channel is a groundbreaking media initiative emphasizing the factual history, culture and current events of Native Americans and Alaskan Natives. Planned to reach the airwaves in spring 2011, this one-of-a-kind channel will tell the stories of indigenous North American peoples and is the result of an ongoing partnership between KVCR and San Manuel.

“We fully anticipate this unique channel to become a model for public-television programming across the country,” said, Larry R. Ciecalone, President of KVCR, a Public Broadcasting System affiliate. “The commitment of the San Manuel tribe to informing audiences about the contributions and achievements of Native Americans in history and modern times is precedent setting.”

This is the first time a Native American tribe has taken the lead in using a powerful medium to plan, produce and communicate cultural, historical and contemporary messages to be told on a scale previously not possible, Ciecalone added.
And:Noted Native American actor Wes Studi, who earned accolades for his work in Academy Award-winning films such as “Dances with Wolves” and “The Last of the Mohicans,” praised KVCR and San Manuel for their vision and commitment.

“As the first TV channel of its kind, it will be in a unique position to expose viewers to the untold stories of Native Americans. The channel will be in a position to break stereotypes while preserving and celebrating our rich culture and collective history before a larger audience,” Studi said.

Establishing more outlets for Native American produced film and television is an important focus for Native American and filmmakers.

“There is a wealth of content produced by, and featuring Native American talent,” said Georgina Lightning, director of “Older than America,” an award winning motion picture of contemporary suspense that focuses on the lasting impacts of Indian boarding schools.

“This channel provides a needed forum for Native American artists, a common ground on which we can share our unique perspectives and express ourselves creatively.”
San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, KVCR to launch new TV channel

By Joe NelsonThe San Manuel Band of Mission Indians on Tuesday announced it is partnering with San Bernardino-based KVCR Television to air the nation's first American Indian channel.

In the last five years, the tribe has produced documentaries on the history of the tribe and California Indians for the local public television station, which have been syndicated on the PBS television network, said Jacob Coin, spokesman for San Manuel.

The new channel, which has yet to be named and will operate on a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week basis, is expected to begin operation in Spring 2011 under an initial 3-year contract. The channel is being funded by a $6 million donation from San Manuel.

Programming will be overseen by a five-member operating board. News, feature films, entertainment and cultural programs geared toward the contemporary American Indian experience is the aim of the channel, Coin said.
Comment:  This must be the fifth or sixth time someone has claimed to create the first Native TV channel. But if they mean the first 24-hour channel on the actual television, not the Internet, this indeed may be a first.

For more on the subject, see NWIN on Cable TV and TV Shows Featuring Indians.

Below:  The source of San Manuel's funding.

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