Bert Crowfoot to Receive the National Magazine Awards Digital Publishing Leadership Award


The National Media Awards Foundation is delighted to announce that Dr. Bert Crowfoot, the founder of the Aboriginal Multi-Media Society, is the recipient of the 2024 Digital Publishing Leadership Award, which is the highest individual honour the Digital Publishing Awards can bestow.

At the 2022-23 Alberta Magazine Awards, Bert was recognized with the Achievement in Publishing Award in honour of his long-standing work in Alberta magazine publishing. With over 45 years of journalism experience — much of it at the helm of the same ground-breaking news and information service — Crowfoot is a trailblazer in Indigenous publishing in Canada, and of grassroots media in general, offering perspectives often overlooked by mainstream outlets.

Read more about Bert and the Digital Publishing Leadership Award.

Biography provided by Dr. Bert Crowfoot

Bert is the great-great-grandson of Chief Crowfoot, who signed Treaty 7. He has two Indian names. His Siksika (Blackfoot) name is “Kiyo Sta’ ah” or Bear Ghost and his Kwakwaka‘wakw name is “Gayutalas” or Always Giving. He was adopted by the Kwakwaka ‘wakw at a potlatch in 2008, by the late Chief Adam Dick.

With a career spanning over 47 years, Bert has been a steadfast advocate for Indigenous rights, cultural preservation, and community development.

His journey began in journalism in 1977, where he honed his skills covering sports, eventually transitioning from a freelancer for Native People newspaper, published by the Alberta Native Communications Society (ANCS), to a full-time employee.

He rose through the ranks to become editor in 1981 and eventually left due to philosophical differences. He helped start publishing the Nation’s Ensign newspaper in his basement in 1981 and left in 1982.

In 1983, Bert founded the Aboriginal Multi-Media Society (AMMSA), which publishes several publications including Windspeaker (a national Indigenous newspaper), Alberta SweetgrassSaskatchewan SageOntario Birchbark and Business QuarterlyBuffalo Spirit was supposed to be a Manitoba publication but evolved into a cultural and spiritual exploration within Windspeaker, challenging taboos surrounding Indigenous spirituality. Those publications later evolved into an online news service called

Bert’s strategic foresight guided AMMSA through turbulent times, particularly in 1990 when government funding was abruptly cut. Prepared for such a scenario, Bert had steered AMMSA towards self-sufficiency, ensuring its survival where many others faltered. Despite significant challenges, including transitioning from a weekly to a monthly print schedule, AMMSA not only endured but flourished.

He diversified AMMSA’s revenue streams through advertising, purchasing a building, and monetizing the websites.

He is also the CEO and General Manager of CFWE-FM, a northern Alberta Indigenous radio network, CJWE, a southern Alberta-wide Indigenous radio network, and CIWE-FM (The Raven 89.3), an Indigenous radio station serving the Edmonton area.

On Feb 29, 2024, the The Windspeaker Radio Network launched its tenth 100,000 watt transmitter, giving Alberta “One Million Watts of Indigenous Power!” In June of 2024, Windspeaker Radio Network will be applying for another FM license in Calgary for its Raven network.

AMMSA is Canada’s largest publisher of Indigenous news and information and a recognized leader in Indigenous communications in North America.

Bert’s many honors over the years include: a Lifetime Achievement Award from the province of Alberta; Venture Magazine’s “50 Most Influential Individuals in Alberta” (2004); Venture Magazines “100 Entrepreneurs who built Alberta” (2005); nominated to CBC’s Alberta 100 list (2005) and inducted into the Aboriginal Walk of Honour in Edmonton (2006).

Recognized as “Provincial Minor Coach of the Year” (1992), he coached Team Alberta women’s softball at the 1993 Canada Summer Games in Kamloops, BC, and was honoured with a 2023 Achievement in Publishing from the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association.

He received an Honorary Doctorate of Law degree from the University of Alberta in June of 2023. He was the recipient of a Blackfoot headdress transfer from the leaders at Siksika First Nation in June of 2023.

AMMSA is in the process of digitizing all of its media files including audio, video and photographic files (over 3000 total). These files date back to 1966 and will be available on a website in the near future. The project is called “Digitizing the Ancestors.”

Bert is a digital storyteller with an intuitive eye developed over the past 45 years as a professional photographer.

Bert’s Siksika/Saulteaux cultural roots give him the inspiration to record and to preserve many spiritual practices with different nations. Known for recording Indigenous events and cultural knowledge throughout North America, his travels always take him to new levels of perception.

Bert’s photographic images are taken with a highly respectful and sacred awareness of the protocols, sanctity and supernatural forces that are present in Indigenous spiritual rituals, nature, and life. As part of this awareness, he believes these spiritual images are gifts to be shared with present and future generations to bear witness of the power of the Indigenous ways of life.

Bert’s leadership, grounded in Indigenous teachings and values, has been pivotal in AMMSA’s success and its enduring legacy as a beacon of Indigenous media. Through his dedication, Dr. Bert Crowfoot continues to advance Indigenous rights, foster cultural pride, and empower Indigenous communities across Canada.

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