The Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) released a new Style Guide for Reporting on Indigenous people, developed to address the discrepancies traditional media reference Indigenous peoples in stories and reports.
The new guide is part of The Canadian Presses style book used across media newsrooms across the country.
Its aim is to educate and inform what terminology should be used and how media should write and describe all Indigenous peoples.
Angela Sterrit is an award-winning Gitxsan journalist is one of the contributors to the guide. She says if the media doesn’t apply the same rigor of truthtelling to Indigenous stories, the right story isn’t being told.
“This is a history that has flown under the radar and we have been looking at Indigenous stories with indifference for so many years, and we haven’t given them the same rigour to them as other stories.”
A previous version of the guide includes a section called “Aboriginal Peoples” instructing journalists it is acceptable to use terms like “Canadian Indians,” and explains that Metis is “usually taken to mean anyone of mixed Indian and European ancestry”. The guide section begins with the term “Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples” – a term often opposed as it implies Canada owns Indigenous people.
Angela says the guide will direct accurate storytelling with the new explanations.
“It’s a tool a journalist can pick up and say, ‘Oh, ok, I get it, this is why we shouldn’t use Indian, this is why we should use Indigenous, and this is when it’s appropriate when to use Aboriginal, and this is what First Nations means, and this is what Metis means, and this the context of why I should be using this word or put this history in my story.”
The 100-page guide is included in the new version of the Canadian Press Style guide.