#FollowFriday: Aboriginal activists and media allies

Friday, May 9, 2014

By: Stephanie Schoenhoff

As activists advocate for the environmental, land, and human rights of Canada’s Aboriginal communities, alliances with mainstream media reporters are integral for helping these important messages reach a national audience.

Most Canadian citizens remain largely unaware of the realities Aboriginal people in Canada face both on and off the reserve, particularly regarding quality of life and access to adequate social programs. This makes the task of activists doubly difficult; they must first raise public awareness of the strife Aboriginal people face to garner public support for these issues, and second, they must convince governing authorities to take appropriate political action.

Canada’s human rights violations on First Nations reserves have not been adequately covered in mainstream media. However, these issues have been brought into the spotlight in recent months. Already in 2014, a number of critical Aboriginal issues have been brought to the public’s attention.

Media support has proven to be an essential player in the fight for Aboriginal rights in Canada, helping to foster a national discussion on an otherwise overlooked human-rights issue.

In light of this, today’s #FollowFriday looks at some of this year’s instrumental on-the-ground Aboriginal-rights activists and their allies in the media.

Wab Kinew
Wab Kinew is an Al Jazeera Fault Lines Correspondent and host of the CBC television series “8th Fire”. Recently named one of “9 Aboriginal movers and shakers you should know” by Postmedia News, he has also won a great deal of awards for his journalism and music. Kinew uses hip-hop, journalism, academic work, and public speaking events to advocate for the needs of Aboriginal communities in Canada.

Follow Wab Kinew on Twitter: @WabKinew
Website: http://wabkinew.ca/

CKLB Radio
CKLB-FM is a Canadian station broadcasting community radio in the Northwest Territories and Northern Alberta. CKLB was licensed in 1985 and is owned by the Native Communications Society of the Northwest Territories. Covering indigenous issues and working to share local and national issues with Canadians all over the country, CKLB regularly shows support to local activists and keeps both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians informed through their radio and online content.

Follow CKLB-FM on Twitter: @CKLBRADIO
Website: http://cklbradio.com/

Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC)
NWAC aims to empower and support Aboriginal women in Canada through developing and altering legislation to affect change. It strives to be the national voice for Aboriginal women and address issues of concern through public and political discourse. NWAC’s advocacy and awareness-building has recently focused on the missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada. It continually seeks to identify and address gaps in Aboriginal women’s human rights through its research, advocacy and policy work.

Follow NWAC on Twitter: @NWAC_CA
Website: http://www.nwac.ca/

Reporting in Indigenous Communities (RIIC)
RIIC is an online educational guide that aims to assist journalists who report on indigenous issues in Canada. Creator and curator of RIIC, Duncan McCue, has been a reporter at the CBC for over 15 years and has been an active advocate for First Nations rights. RIIC helps enhance journalistic integrity in First Nations reporting; acting as a tool for non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal reporters alike, RIIC helps journalists tell better Indigenous news stories across the country.

Follow RIIC on twitter: @riicnews
Website: http://www.riic.ca/

Stephanie Schoenhoff is CJFE’s Research and Communications Assistant, currently completing her degree in Media and the Public Interest at Western University.