NEWS UNSETTLED | The Duplicity of the Media, and Where to Turn

News Unsettled Opinions
Members of the Native Students Union. Photo by Belle White, Photo Editor.

The last couple of weeks, there have been many Wet’suwet’en solidarity actions taking place. Many of these acts, such as rail blockades taking place on Tyendinaga and Gitxsan territories, have had a direct impact on ‘business as usual’ for complacent settlers and their equally complacent government; thus, these actions have been a focal point of the public eye. 

With people all over ‘Canada’ wanting to know what is going on with these solidarity actions, there has been constant media attention. Media outlets like CBC, CTV and Chek News have been the main source of information for many throughout this tense time. Though the media is supposed to report unbiased news about goings-on in ‘Canada’ and around the world, this has not been the case when reporting on youth-led solidarity actions. 

For example, in Victoria, reporters have had the difference between protesting and protecting explained to them many times by representatives from Indigenous Youth for Wet’suwet’en. One would think that an Indigenous person at the head of one of these movements would be a credible source, right? Reporters from Victoria seem to not care what Indigenous youth have to say, as headlines like, “Pipeline protestors occupy B.C. legislature, plan to stay” are still used to describe solidarity actions. 

This is unacceptable. The media has worked to demonize Indigenous youth by spreading clearly false facts, like when CTV covered the arrests of a dozen Indigenous youth land defenders at the Ministry of Energy in January. CTV claimed that “Victoria Police Community Liaison Officers worked with the youth, to put a peaceful end to the protest,” when in reality Victoria Police were the ones to escalate that situation — sending multiple armed officers in a small space with unarmed Indigenous youth and forcefully pushing bystanders present outside. 

The spread of false information on Wet’suwet’en and solidarity actions has resulted in Indigenous people being put in the line of hatred and danger. It has stoked the fire of anger from those who are less informed, or willfully ignorant, on the struggle of Indigenous people. Instead of getting facts, people are being spoon-fed narratives that the Trudeau government wants to spread. 

The media has failed Indigenous people. By only fairly representing the view of corporations and the government, the media upholds colonialism and racism. They have lost any sort of credibility when speaking on Indigenous peoples and their struggles. So, if not turning on CBC at night to find out what is happening with the Wet’suwet’en and subsequent solidarity actions, where do you turn to? 

The Wet’suwet’en have started their own ways of spreading information to supporters. One can find Unist’ot’en Camp and Gidimt’en Checkpoint on social media (@UnistotenCamp and @gidimten_checkpoint). Indigenous Youth for Wet’suwet’en have their own Instagram account for updates. Many Indigenous youth and their allies that have been involved in solidarity have remained vigilant in updating on social media. 

The best way to learn about the struggles of Indigenous peoples is coming from Indigenous peoples themselves. Do not rely on news networks owned and funded by those whose best interests come reinforcing the violence and oppression. By continuing to ignore the voices of actual Indigenous people, and only listening to the voices of those who would discredit these movements, one remains complicit in the actions of the settler government.