We call upon Canadian journalism programs and media schools to require education for all students on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal– Crown relations.

Indigenous Watchdog Status Update

Current StatusNov. 9, 2020IN PROGRESS
Previous StatusAug. 17, 2020IN PROGRESS

Why “In Progress”?

Multiple initiatives are under way at most Schools of Journalism. On June 11, 2019 the Canadian Association of Journalists response to the MMIWG Final report accepts specific actions addressed to members of the Media. On Sept. 3, 2020 an updated edition of “Seeing Red: A History of Natives in Canadian Newspapers” with updates addressing Idle No More and Indigenous genocide was announced. Book indicates media has improved its depiction of Indigenous people but still fails to understand the indigenous world view – especially the Indigenous relationship to the land that does not recognize the concept of individual property.

The Canadian Journalism Project

J-Source April, 2018
University journalism programs across Canada say they need more money, staff and time to properly educate students about Indigenous history and the impact of residential schools — nearly three years after being told to make such education mandatory. Call to Action 86 called on media and journalism schools to include mandatory instruction on the history of Indigenous peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, Indigenous-Crown relations and Indigenous law, including international human rights laws.

J-Source emailed a survey to 21 journalism programs at 19 schools across Canada last fall to learn if, and how, they are responding to this Call to Action. Schools with graduate and undergraduate journalism programs or majors in journalism were contacted, as well as colleges that offer journalism programs in partnership with universities. Colleges with journalism or media programs not affiliated with universities were not contacted. Seventeen schools in Nova Scotia, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia responded. For details see http://j-source.ca/article/long-journey-of-reconciliation/

Canadian Association of Journalists

The Canadian Association of Journalists is a professional organization with more than 700 members across Canada. The CAJ’s primary roles are public-interest advocacy work and professional development for its members.

Response to MMIWG Final Report
OTTAWA / June 11, 2019 —Today, on the anniversary of Canada’s apology to residential school survivors, the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) accepts and supports the calls to justice for media as issued in the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Women and Girls (MMIWG).

Canadian journalism has a legacy of perpetuating racist stereotypes, using insensitive language and overlooking patterns. Journalism is not a reconciliation free zone; we need to thoughtfully move forward and do better.

The CAJ accepts the Inquiry’s findings and accepts the term genocide.

In its Calls for Justice the Inquiry asks all those who work in the media industry to “take decolonizing approaches to their work and publications in order to educate all Canadians about Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people.”

More specifically, the Inquiry included the following four actions:

  1. To Ensure authentic and appropriate representation of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people, inclusive of diverse Indigenous cultural backgrounds, in order to address negative and discriminatory stereotypes.
  2. Support Indigenous people sharing their stories, from their perspectives, free of bias, discrimination, and false assumptions, and in a trauma-informed and culturally sensitive way.
  3. Increase the number of Indigenous people in broadcasting, television, and radio, and in journalist, reporter, producer, and executive positions in the entertainment industry, including, and not limited to, by:
    • providing educational and training opportunities aimed at Indigenous inclusion; and
    • providing scholarships and grants aimed at Indigenous inclusion in media, film, and music industry-related fields of study
  4. Take proactive steps to break down the stereotypes that hypersexualize and demean Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people, and to end practices that perpetuate myths that Indigenous women are more sexually available and “less worthy” than non-Indigenous women because of their race or background.

Official Federal Government Response: Sept. 5, 2019

The Government of Canada is not the lead on a response for Call to Action 86.