Latest WACC journal focuses on Indigenous media

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Latest WACC journal focuses on Indigenous media

Saying that the world is at a critical juncture — with challenges posed by the climate crisis, divisiveness, and other social issues — Cree Elder Doreen Spence writes in the latest issue of Media Development, WACC’s international quarterly journal: “This is the time for humanity to rethink its values. What is most important is our relationships and the way we communicate with each another.”

Reflecting on communication rights, Spence says her vision for the future is to use wâhkôhtowin, a Cree word that denotes interconnectedness or kinship, “to use as a foundation for building healthier relationships utilizing sharing/healing circles in every church across Canada.” This, she writes, “is the answer to addressing the polarization Canadians currently experience.”

Spence also examines the impact of colonization on communication rights for Indigenous people, and how communication rights are critical to achieving Indigenous rights, and reconciliation efforts between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

“It is evident that media continue to perpetuate stereotypes and myths, while ignoring and overlooking Indigenous issues: therefore, infringing our fundamental human rights,” writes Spence. “Indigenous People need responsibility and accountability from the media to create a just, equitable world for all nations.”

In his editorial for the issue, Celebrating Canada’s Indigenous Media, WACC General Secretary Philip Lee underscores that “Recognising and implementing communication rights is a crucial first step towards bringing about mutual respect, greater understanding, and the possibility of reconciliation vis-à-vis the Indigenous peoples of Canada.”

Lee adds, “Important as linguistic rights are, this is not the whole story. Mass, social, and traditional media need to be able to play a similar role to meet the aspirations expressed by Ry Moran, director of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.” Canada, writes Moran, has the historic opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge Indigenous resistance to assimilation policies. “It is through this resistance and the enhancement and rekindling of traditional practices, knowledges and Indigenous rights frameworks that Canada has the opportunity to become the nation that it has always been – a nation of many rich traditions, identities and systems coming together to find solutions to many of the deep-seated social tensions and challenges we face as a collective society.”

In Overcoming mistrust and misrepresentation: The challenge for Canadian journalists, Marites Sison, freelance multi-media journalist and WACC consultant, examines Indigenous representation in Canadian news media and challenges the news media to address the under-representation and misrepresentation of Indigenous people in its coverage.

The issue, Celebrating Canada’s Indigenous media, also includes an article by Shannon Avison, assistant professor at First Nations University of Canada, who writes about the critical role played by an Indigenous post-secondary institution in training Indigenous communicators who work in mainstream and Indigenous media across Canada.

Other articles include:
* An Indigenous peoples’ approach to climate justice, by Deborah McGregor
* Canada’s Act Respecting Indigenous Languages, by the Assembly of First Nations
* Twenty Films that opened the eyes of Canada, by Philip Lee
* De los derechos públicos a los privilegios privados, by Leonardo D. Félix