Indigenous Circle moving into smaller segments during CTV newscasts
- EFN Staff | February 16, 2018
Doug Cuthand, Nelson Bird and Creeson Agecoutay are known as the three faces of CTV Regina’s Indigenous Circle. The show was an opportunity to showcase the voices of Indigenous stories in Saskatchewan. With over 5,000 members on the TV show’s Facebook page and countless viewers tuning in every Sunday evening at 6:30, it became the most popular and only Indigenous TV programming in the province.
But after 24 years, viewers of CTV Regina Indigenous Circle will no longer be seeing the show on Sunday nights. The decision is not to be confused with a show cancellation but it’s evolving where Indigenous stories will be told in everyday news instead of slotted into one show per week.
J.C. Garden, the Director of News and Public Affairs of CTV-Regina, said the news organization has expanded its news programming within the last year by adding a 5 o’clock newscast which provides them with more local programming space.
“We wanted to make sure those important Indigenous stories were making their way into our mainstream newscasts,” said Garden. “The Indigenous Circle brand isn’t going anywhere… Indigenous Circle is going to be completely incorporated into our main newscasts…that’s where we feel they belong.”
Looking back to when the show first started, Doug Cuthand was the first face of Indigenous Circle which began in 1993. He recalled thinking the creation of the show was a great way to showcase the voices of Indigenous people in Saskatchewan.
“I thought it was a great idea. It was an idea that the time has come,” said Cuthand, who is a current freelancer. “We had newspapers and radio programs but a good television show was beyond our reach.”
A few years later, Nelson Bird took over the show where he enjoyed his role as a storyteller. He recalled watching Indigenous Circle before joining the team and saw himself sitting in Cuthand’s seat.
“I remember watching Doug [on the show] and I told my wife ‘someday I think I want to host that show’,” said Bird.
And that he did. Bird started hosting the TV show in July 1998 after he completed his undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Regina. For almost 20 years, he was the main face of CTV’s Indigenous Circle. Five years ago, he became CTV Regina’s assignment editor leaving Creeson Agecoutay as the host and producer of the TV show.
The tiered faces of Indigenous Circle ended with Agecoutay. He reflected back on a time watching the show with his mom and said “one day, I’m going to host the show.”
“I watched on TV when I was little. We’d grab our dinners and sit around the TV,” said Agecoutay. “I was inspired by and seeing him on TV.”
Over the years, the show fulfilled a mission to bridge the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to understand Saskatchewan’s Indigenous peoples through the stories that were told. Bird said the most memorable part of doing the show is the people they meet.
“When the camera was put away, we actually had a chance to get to know people and them to get to know us,” said Bird. “Literally taking part in events whether I’m dancing or climbing a hill, doing all these things and laughing; that is what I’m going to remember the most about the show.”
Even though the show is winding down, the Indigenous Circle brand isn’t going anywhere. There will be Indigenous Circle segments the for weekly news. It is not known yet what will be replacing the Indigenous Circle TV time spot on Sunday nights.
“We’re still going to have Indigenous Circle segments. The idea is that you’re going to see it in a much shorter format but way more often,” said Garden. “That way, we feel we can be current and get the stories where they need to be in front of people sooner.”
When the pioneer of Indigenous Circle heard about the show’s future, Cuthand said it was saddening but he emphasized that evolution is part of growing up.
“I was little disappointed that we’re losing a show…but on the other hand, our reporters are mainstream now…it’s just a matter of growth,” said Cuthand. “It was a darn good run.
Agecoutay said hosting and producing the show was bittersweet but he is glad he had the opportunity to fulfil his dreams.
“I hope I made the viewers proud and made everybody happy in the direction we took the show. I had a lot of fun doing it,” said Agecoutay.
Bird said Indigenous stories never end and need to be told. It was a job that he loved doing and it will be something that he will miss.
“It’s still hard. I get choked up when I talk about the last show,” said Bird. “This journey I was on is coming to an end, it’s difficult.”
The last CTV Regina Indigenous Circle show will be shown on February 18th where Agecoutay and Bird will take viewers on a journey reflecting back on the shows throughout the years.