Smoke Signals Radio
For close to three decades, listeners have been tuning in to Smoke Signals, a First Nations radio program that incorporates current affairs storytelling, music and traditional teachings. At the heart of the program are hosts and producers Dan and Mary Lou Smoke. Together they create a warm and welcoming environment for both listeners and guests as they share their knowledge of the Indigenous worldview, and highlight the diverse stories and cultural traditions of Indigenous people.
Smoke Signals is heard on CHRW, the campus radio station at Western University in London, Ontario. The program was sparked in 1990, when Dan and Mary Lou Smoke were invited to host a 15-minute guest segment to help explain the events of the Oka crisis from an Indigenous perspective. After consultation with elders, the couple agreed to come on the air, recognizing the need to fill a gap in understanding about Indigenous issues in Canada. Within a year, they were offered their own standalone timeslot on the station, and Smoke Signals was born.
Over the years Smoke Signals has welcomed guests from Nations across Canada, highlighting personal stories and the diversity of First Nations. It also plays an important role as a source of community information for the Indigenous community in and around London. Dan and Mary Lou also strive to educate people about important cultural protocols practiced at traditional gatherings. Through Smoke Signals, Dan and Mary Lou have carved out a space for celebration, education, resistance, and the strengthening of connections between Nations. Most of all, Smoke Signals is a space for Indigenous people to tell their own stories in their own words.
Smoke Signals airs live on Sundays from 6:30pm - 8:00pm on CHRW 94.9 FM Radio Western or online at radiowestern.ca. As part of its effort to pay tribute to the work the Smokes have done at Western University and in the broader community, the Smoke Signals Radio Archive project is also working to make a collection of past episodes available to the public. Scroll down to listen to select audio recordings.