According to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s full report released this month, media plays an integral role in advancing the narratives necessary to move forward. However, there is a well established lack of diversity in Canadian newsrooms, meaning that Indigenous voices are often not represented.
One part of increasing diversity in media is to address challenges in receiving journalism education. To increase accessibility, JHR is continuing to invest in outstanding Canadian Indigenous journalism by providing scholarships to students in post-secondary media programs.
We are thrilled to announce the latest scholarship winners. We would also like to recognize our funders, the RBC Foundation and the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, without whose support this program would not be possible.
“I want to be one of the people who can make the difference in how Aboriginal people are viewed in Canada.”
Kevin is a second year Interactive Media Arts (Media Stream) student at Assiniboine Community College. Kevin’s family is from Bunibonibee Cree Nation, where he spent many of his summers growing up and learned how to speak Cree. Kevin currently works at the campus radio station, CJ 106, and hopes to one-day work for a company that will shed a positive light on Indigenous issues. In doing so, Kevin wishes to pursue a path on which he can be another voice of the people and make a difference in how Indigenous peoples are viewed in Canada.
“I’ve learned a lot about journalism along the way but I know I need to learn more if I’m going to empower my community the way it deserves to be. My goal is to return to Sandy Lake and through journalism and multimedia storytelling, help bring the people of my community to the forefront”
Willow is currently in her third year of the Interactive Media Development Program at Confederation College. She is from Sandy Lake First Nation in Northern Ontario. Willow has always loved to write: in 2006 she began freelancing to Wawatay News and has worked for the past four years to maintain and update the Sandy Lake News website. Recognizing the importance of Indigenous storytellers, Willow believes in the value of making sure they are being heard, not just by each other but also by mainstream Canada. Willow believes that more effort is needed from non-Indigenous Canadians to learn about the historic and existing colonial structures that shape Canada. After graduating, Willow hopes to return to Sandy Lake and bring the stories of her community to the forefront.
“It’s one thing to cover a story about something Indigenous. However, It’s another to understand and live that story as well.”
Jamin is just beginning his education in journalism and is in his first year at First Nations University of Canada, Indian Communication Arts Program. Jamin grew up in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. His family now lives back home in Beardy’s and Okemasis reserve. Jamin is excited to be the first of his family to enroll in post-secondary education and hopes to work in the field of video or photojournalism. He values stories that celebrates success and positivity and is excited to be studying a subject that he is truly passionate about.
“The media needs more First Nations journalists to change the ignorance about First Nations culture and the misconceptions that are attached to a Euro-centric ideology. I would tell [Indigenous youth interested in journalism] that they have the power to create positive change in our society.”
Born and raised in Regina, Saskatchewan, Brad is in his third year at First Nations University of Canada at the University of Regina School of Journalism. Before deciding to enroll in school, Brad was a successful hip hop artist performing nationally on live television and at many events such as Aboriginal Music Week in Winnipeg and at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games. For over five years, he has been facilitating workshops and arts programs that focus on the origins of hip hop culture in relation to Indigenous culture, to engage youth.
After being misrepresented in an interview for his music, Brad decided to enroll in post-secondary education to pursue a degree in journalism. Brad has a strong desire to write and report on positives stories from Indigenous communities to help bridge the cultural divide that negative stories create and be a part of the decolonization process that we see in Canada today.
“Reporting has brought me a sense of pride and worth that I’ve never had before. I’m grateful to know my opinion matters. … News rooms are constantly looking for new angles and perspectives and First Nations voices need to be heard.”
Oscar is in his fourth year of study at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick where he is studying Journalism and Communication. Oscar grew up in Elsipogtog, First Nation and St. Augustine, Florida. Growing up, he used writing as an escape. After winning the David Adams Richards award for non-fiction writing for his story “The Violent Ones,” a personal reflection of violence and poverty, Oscar’s passion for writing grew. He values being able to give insight and a face to go with stories which, for many people, were previously only a statistic. Oscar recently finished an internship with Global News in Halifax, through JHR’s Indigenous Reporters Program. After graduating, he hopes to work as a video journalist covering daily news as well as more in-depth investigative pieces.
“Journalism is a gift that keeps giving. There is no way to describe or replace that feeling of being able to give a voice to the voiceless- and that’s what journalism is…. I love being an Indigenous reporter because you don’t have to change who you are to get where you want to be.”
Shinoah is currently in her final year of study at the University of Regina’s School of Journalism. She is from the Opaskwayak Cree Nation in Northern Manitoba where she grew up living off the land and speaking the n-dialect of Cree. Shinoah was inspired to enter journalism after growing up with her mother telling stories of their traditional Cree teachings. By becoming a modern day storyteller, Shinoah felt it would allow her to combine her Cree way of life with everyday work. Since her first experience in learning about journalism at First Nations University’s Indian Communication Arts (INCA) Summer Insitute in 2010, Shinoah has interned with CBC North, Regina Leader-Post and PA Now!; freelanced for CBC Saskatchewan and Eagle Feather News; and worked as a reporter for the Devils Lake Journal in North Dakota and CBC North in Whitehorse, YT. After graduating, Shinoah hopes to be a current affairs producer for broadcast or an editor for a newspaper.
In the coming year, JHR will support ten emerging Indigenous reoprters as they intern at a variety of newsrooms such as CBC Aboriginal, Aboriginal Peoples Television Network and Global, adding much needed balance and Indigenous perspective to Canadian storytelling and paving the way for a new generation of reporters to relay the information that matters to us all. Stay tuned to JHR’s social media and website for updates!