Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) releases Emerging Voices: on access to post-secondary journalism education for Indigenous youth in Ontario
TORONTO, Jan. 14, 2019 – Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) is releasing Emerging Voices: A dual examination into access to post-secondary education for Indigenous youth in Ontario, and what journalism schools in Ontario are doing to implement Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Call To Action #86.
The goal of this landmark report is twofold. First, better understand the pathways of opportunity and/or barriers facing Indigenous students interested in studying journalism or media at a post-secondary level in Ontario. Secondly, the report examined what journalism and media program across Ontario are doing to develop and implement curriculum on coverage of Indigenous stories as called for in the TRC Call to Action #86.
It is meant to serve as a starting point for further conversation and research.
Says Executive Director Rachel Pulfer, “JHR exists to ensure everyone in the world is aware of their rights. Where better to do that work than right here at home in Ontario? JHR is proud of the work of Rebecca Lyon and Hannah Cliffordand grateful to all the students, community members, experts, journalists and journalism faculty who participated wholeheartedly in this study, which provides a timely benchmark for how Ontario is doing when it comes to TRC #86.”
As research began, the scope of the study expanded to analyze how Indigenous students were able to access post secondary education more generally. JHR Researcher Rebecca Lyon spoke with 150 students from 14 different First Nation schools across Ontario, and engaged with all 21 post-secondary Journalism or Media Programs in the province.
Rebecca Lyon says, “This is a call to action that we cannot ignore, as we have done time and time again in the past. To those who have never been to an on-reserve school, or spoken to an Indigenous student or journalist, the information is here and it is clear. There is a need and there are things that can be done to make education more accessible to students and the media better staffed, more informed and more diverse.”
Highlights from the contributors to the report include:
“The Emerging Voices report by Journalists for Human Rights prompts a lot of important questions which I hope leads to discussions and action when it comes to improving access to post-secondary education in journalism for Indigenous youth in this province.” – Willow Fiddler, contributor
“In this report, Journalists for Human Rights captures the experiences of aspiring Indigenous journalists at Ontariouniversities with numbers and data. In many ways, I saw myself in this analysis. First Nations youth yearn for the same opportunities as other Canadians; they believe they shouldn’t have to move away from home for secondary school, and, in more egregious cases, for elementary.” – Kyle Edwards, contributor
“There is still a long way to go, but this report shows that the work is happening and it hints at what an exciting future lies ahead. Imagine what this country will look like 5-10 years from now, if we heed reports like this and establish an informed and healthy pathway for Indigenous youth, giving them the unconditional support they need for success.” – Martha Troian, contributor
“If journalism schools and media programs don’t devote proper resources to delivering Indigenous content in the curriculum, recruiting Indigenous students and instructors, or developing strategic, long-term plans, there’s a danger of paying lipservice to reconciliation, when there’s an urgent need for change. It’s time to walk the talk” – Duncan McCue, contributor
“Although advances are being made, this report articulates an all too common frustration felt by those of us attempting to Indigenize post-secondary institutions, programs, and courses. While most institutions are aware of, and have developed a policy or a framework to respond to the TRC recommendations, a lack of funding, and the resulting lack of faculty, staff, and resources means many institutions have yet to fully implement the necessary curriculum (a situation which will only get worse as a result of the Ford government cancellation of funding for curriculum revisions)” Dr. Dawn Lavell Harvard, Ph.D, contributor
Contributors to this report include:
Duncan McCue, an Anishinaabe, a member of the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation in southern Ontario, Duncan teaches journalism at the UBC Graduate School of Journalism and Ryerson University. His book “The Shoe Boy: A Trapline Memoir” recounts a season he spent in a hunting camp with a Cree family in northern Quebec as a teenager.
Willow Fiddler, an Anishinabekwe and proud member of Sandy Lake First Nation. Willow worked as video journalist for APTN National News in Thunder Bay since 2016 where she focuses her coverage on the stories of First Nations and issues affecting them.
Dr. Dawn Lavell-Harvard Ph.D., is a proud member of the Wikwemikong First Nation, the first Aboriginal Trudeau Scholar, and has worked to advance the rights of Aboriginal women as the President of the Ontario Native Women’s Association. Dawn has recently taken on the role as Director for First Peoples House of Learning at Trent Universitysince October 2016.
Martha Troian, an Anishinaabe from Obishikokaang (Lac Seul) First Nation in northwestern Ontario, Martha’s work can be read and heard on CBC News, APTN Investigates, Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, CBC Radio, Vice News and Today’s Parent to name but a few.
Kyle Edwards, grew up on the Lake Manitoba First Nation, and is a proud member of the Ebb and Flow First Nation. He is a Staff Writer at Maclean’s magazine in Toronto and a recent graduate of Ryerson School of Journalism. In 2017, he was a finalist for Best New Magazine Writer at the National Magazine Awards.
JHR thanks all contributors, communities, and students who helped in making of this report.
The study is funded by the government of Ontario. The study is non-partisan and JHR maintained full control over the research, development and implementation of the study. The views of this publication are the views of JHR and do not necessarily reflect the views of the province.
Our thanks to CNW for sponsoring this announcement
For further information: Rebecca Lyon, Indigenous Reporters Program Research Coordinator [email protected] or 416-413-0240 Ext. 201, www.jhr.ca