I spoke with a trusted friend who noted that truth and reconciliation go hand in hand. But, he pointed out, who is telling our truth?
This is why inclusion matters – especially in the media. The news of five new Indigenous radio stations being launched across Canada is an important step.
For years, Indigenous voices were non-existent in the media and framed by the context of non-Indigenous writers and reporters. Reporting on Indigenous issues was often rooted in stereotypes and, without proper context or understanding, raised more questions than answers.
The portrayals of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls is an easy example. Misconceptions and misplaced blame left people without the full story.
Another example is the wrongful mainstream conviction of Connie Oakes. APTN worked diligently on the story. It wasn’t until the conviction was overturned that mainstream media began to pay attention.
Continuing to open up the space to Indigenous writers, filmmakers, reporters and media outlets is welcome news. It empowers Indigenous people to share our knowledge with each other as well as with non-Indigenous people in our own way; to speak in our languages and understand and interpret our stories through our languages; and, theoretically, to encourage those who cannot speak Indigenous languages to learn them. (Just think how many Canadians know what “avec” means from years of exposure to food packaging.)
We are at a point where we are starting to see our reflection in Canadian society through a media lens. We must continue to grow this space for Indigenous broadcasting agencies, reporters and filmmakers to share our stories.
In recent years, Indigenous people have become avid users of social media to share our stories. With more Indigenous media outlets, we can invite more people into our “networks”.