A Difficult Conversation: The News Media and the Story of the First Peoples of Canada

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Bell, Roberta




The news media have long contributed to the oppression of indigenous peoples in Canada; when journalists did report on indigenous peoples, they were stereotyped as helpless victims and threats to national identity. The result has been a distorted version of history championing settlers’ pioneering legacy. In 2007-2008, the federal government introduced reconciliation policies. After conducting case studies of the Globe and Mail, Maclean’s, and CBC, this thesis finds that the watershed moment when coverage began reflecting the nuances of the indigenous story came in 2014-2015.

Analyzing the case studies through a theoretical framework that considers the principles that guide journalists, the culture of the news media, and agenda-setting offers insight into what changed. This thesis concludes more information, institutional legitimacy, indigenous activism, indigenous journalists, and a digital vista have all influenced the continuity and the evolution in the way the indigenous story is told by the news media in Canada.


Mass Communications
Canadian Studies




Carleton University

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Master of Journalism: 

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Theses and Dissertations

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