Farewell to a friend
The Yukon has lost another of its beneficial movers and shakers to cancer.
Ken Kane lost his valiant fight against the disease December 17th in Whitehorse.
As a soft-spoken man, Kane was very effective in his communications work for all Yukon First Nations and was invaluable in bringing forward the position of the Yukon Native Brotherhood and confirming an important chapter in Canadian history.
Kane was part of the team that co-ordinated the Yukon First Nation delegation’s trip to Ottawa to present their statement of grievances — Together Today For Our Children Tomorrow — to then Prime Minister Trudeau and the minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Jean Chrétien. Their work proved to be successful as the Yukon land claims were born from these efforts.
Not content with these lofty and historic achievements, Kane turned his attention to the inspired idea of developing a national broadcast network for a primarily aboriginal audience.
Once again, he was part of the team that created Northern Native Broadcasting, which has grown and evolved into the multi-media outlet devoted to sharing First Nation culture, news stories and other relevant information with the rest of the country.
Once the physical build of the broadcast network was well underway, he turned his attention to the young people who would staff it.
Kane was an inspiring mentor to the young recruits whose visions were to be the ‘next wave’ of DJs on this shiny new network with a mission.
He took the long view and encouraged them to be more than just a voice on the radio.
He urged them to tell the stories that needed to be told and to share the aboriginal experience with the audience and most of all — to be themselves.
I had the great opportunity to work alongside Kane as CKRW was assisting NNBY to train the first group of new on-air staff prior to the turn up of their station.
I also learned a great deal through this association with Kane, and we worked together on a number of other projects since that time.
He was also a trusted mentor for those of use who deal with communications issues related to First Nation participation in government and business.
His easy smile and genuinely helpful attitude helped many of us to better understand and respect the aboriginal cultures and how to be better communicators when dealing with issues common among us.
Apart from his consummate professional abilities, Kane was a true and genuine person who was proud to talk about Champagne Aishihik First Nation, the Kluane region and the history of Yukon’s native people.
He will leave a professional void in Yukon’s communications sector and he will be missed as a good friend.