Unreserved

Challenging media stereotypes of Indigenous people

Stereotypes of Indigenous people have been around for a long time and are often reproduced by journalists. This week we're investigating the media to find out what's being done to challenge these stereotypes, and to hear from those pushing the industry to do better. 
Carmen Robertson (left), Francine Compton (centre) and Duncan McCue are all challenging media to do Indigenous journalism better in their own ways. (CBC, Submitted by Francine Compton, Submitted by Duncan McCue)

When the New York Times published a recent article about Inuit artists in Cape Dorset there was outcry about the harmful stereotypes used in the reporting. The article was written by the Times' Canada Bureau Chief Catherine Porter and was titled "Drawn From Poverty: Art Was Supposed to Save Canada's Inuit. It Hasn't." 

Stereotypes of Indigenous people have been around for a long time and are often reproduced by journalists. This week we're investigating the media to find out what's being done to challenge these stereotypes, and to hear from those pushing the industry to do better.

After the New York Times published "Drawn From Poverty," many Inuit expressed their frustrations with how they were misrepresented in the article. The Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) called on the Times to do better and stressed the need for an audit of how the article was published. Francine Compton, who works at the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network and is a director of NAJA, discusses the response to the Times' story and how they're encouraging the media to improve. 

In his 20-plus years as a journalist, Duncan McCue had seen his fair share of Indigenous stereotypes make their way into news stories. He decided to do something about it.

Carmen Robertson is co-author of Seeing Red: A History of Natives in Canadian Newspapers, a book that reveals how the press consistently use recurring stereotypes and misrepresent Indigenous people. The book was the first of its kind to be published, and is considered an important text in many universities. She talks about how colonialism and journalism are interconnected and reflects on what she sees in today's media landscape.  

Journalists for Human Rights trains Indigenous people to work in journalism. Since 2014, they've run the Indigenous Reporters Program, which encourages people living on reserves in Northern Ontario to learn the tricks of the trade.

This week's playlist: 
William Prince. (William Prince/Facebook)

Wolf Saga — Feel It Too

William Prince — The Spark

A Tribe Called Red ft. Yasiin Bey, Black Bear & Narcy — R.E.D.


​​

 

now