The Impact Of Media On Indigenous Collective Action

1725 WordsFeb 21, 20177 Pages
One of the most famous images within Canadian history is that of a tense moment between two men facing each other. The image shows a masked armed indigenous man leaning over the smaller soldier before a moment of apparent confrontation. On one level, the image itself is colonial portraying the soldier as keeping the peace against the unknowable “other.” Thereby in many parts this image misrepresents the complex reality of the situation and the history surrounding the Oka confrontation. But this image represents more then merely the Oka crisis, but rather the often one sided portrayal of Indigenous people within the media. The media has played an important role in shaping perception on Indigenous collective action. But like the photo…show more content…
There are two national media controversies in the summer of 1990. The first involved the controversy surrounding the stopping of the Meech Lake Accord by Elijah Harper who an act of protest initiated a filibuster before the accord’s deadline. The second crisis beginning in July 11, 1990 involving a 78-day armed standoff between the Mohawk nation of Kanesatake, the Quebec provincial police, and the Canadian armed forces near the town of Oka, Quebec which became known as the Oka Crisis. The events began in June 30, 1990 when the municipality of Oka was granted a court injunction to dismantle a peaceful barricade erected by the people of Kanesatake in an effort to defend their sacred lands from further encroachment by non-Native developers. The event and the standoff brought wide spread reactions from across Canada and the world. Despite many facts and details being well known there was a level of ambiguity around the events. For example, few reporters at the time conducted interviews with residents behind the blockade. Therefore the media with its already heightened perception of different indigenous protests along with sensationalism around breakdown of the Meech Lake Accord were on their own to shape the way in which the events were perceived and unfolded. The newspapers are the key primary source for information about the Oka Crisis. But by no means does this make these sources transparent, rather newspapers are often bias towards the the main social,
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