The Over-Publicized Fast and A Word on Mainstream Media

I watched CBC’s release of its interview with Chief Theresa Spence.  It was the first televised interview she gave, in fact, regarding her hunger strike.

The representation of Spence’s message to the masses by the journalist unfolded like a tragic comedy in the making.

Asked what would make her eat again, Chief Theresa Spence answers : “A meeting.  A dialogue.  With the Prime MInister, the Crown, 2 levels of the government and all the leaders.” (6m48s)

And the broadcast journalist, whom we never see, says, on a nationally broadcast interview: “So, to be precise, you would like, you need, to sit across the table from Stephen Harper, and have a chat.” (7m11s)

And the Chief goes: Not just Stephen Harper.  The Crown, and the two levels of government, that is the federal and the provincial.” (7m18s)  And then 34 seconds later, says: “Federal Crown has to be there too” (7m42s)

A mere 16 seconds after the clarification, the reporter goes: “So, to be precise, it would be a meeting with the Governor General representing the Crown, Stephen Harper, the Prime Minster, and the Ontario Aboriginal Minister?” (7m58s)

So, again, the Chief reiterates who would attend the meeting that she’s fasting for: “With the leaders, all the leaders.”

And without so much as a “So to be precise…” the interviewer goes on to ask about Idle No More.

Since then, mainstream news outlets have continually failed to report the objective of the fast to their followers.  Instead, the media routinely associates Spence with Idle No More, and draws the public’s attention to speculation on the management of Attiwapiskat funds.

This serves to keep their followers, the general public, focused away from the point of Idle No More’s mission:

Idle No More calls on all people to join in a revolution which honors and fulfills Indigenous sovereignty which protects the land and water.  Colonization continues through attacks to Indigenous rights and damage to the land and water.  We must repair these violations, live the spirit and intent of the treaty relationship, work towards justice in action, and protect Mother Earth. On December 10th,  Indigenous people and allies stood in solidarity across Canada to assert Indigenous  sovereignty and begin the work towards sustainable, renewable development.  All  people will be affected by the continued damage to the land and water and we welcome Indigenous and non-Indigenous allies to join in creating healthy sustainable communities.  We encourage youth to become engaged in this movement as you are the leaders of our future.  There have always been individuals and groups who have been working towards these goals – Idle No More seeks to create solidarity and further support these goals.  We recognize that there may be backlash, and encourage people to stay strong and united in spirit.

But the real super extra-bonus in this tragic comedy, is that mainstream media has neatly and deftly cleft the Canadian public into two groups: Natives and supporters of Idle No More, and Non-Natives and non-supporters.

And never mind that handful of unbelievably rich people tinkering with national law, human rights, and the earth you live on.  It’s probably fine.

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