Aboriginal Peoples and the Media

Jessica Wesaquate

Grade:

Native Studies 10-20-30 (or Canadian Studies)

Materials:

Have students record their answers in their math logs as well as write about what they liked and disliked about this activity.

Set (Introductory) Activity:

Split students into three groups (5 students per group) and give each group some chart paper. Have each group answer these questions:

  1. Where in the media do you find Aboriginal people are portrayed positively?

  2. Where in the media do you find Aboriginal people portrayed as negative?

  3. Are there some Aboriginal topic areas you wish you could omit in the media? Add to the media?

Have each group present their answers to their classmates. Were their similarities in answers? Discuss the differences in answers.

Activity:

Choose one of the articles below that you find appropriate for your class (i.e. what you think will spark conversation, area it is written in, etc.)

http://www.canada.com/reginaleaderpost/news/story.html?id=028c2ac2-55c3-4980-92a4-cad664fb0066

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/saskatchewan/story/2009/07/09/piapot-kokum.html#socialcomments

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/manitoba/story/2010/03/04/man-aboriginal-website-advertisement.html#socialcomments

You can start by reading the articles aloud to the students and have your students follow along or choose to have them read the article independently. As they read have them highlight areas the main ideas. As a class, summarize the main ideas. Talk about whether the article portrayed Aboriginal people in a positive light or a negative light. Also, have student elaborate too. Spark discussion with the students.

After you have spent some time discussing the article(s) have students write a journal. They can write their journal in the following format: D-Description, I-Impact, I-intent (D.I.I.). The “D” is meant for them to summarize what the article is about. The first “I” is meant for them to reflect on how the article impacted them. The second “I” is used for them to share what they can do as an individual to create change for themselves or others in their community.

Students may choose to share their reflection, but this is definitely a choice for they might have personal feelings in this reflection.

Show students the video clips on Cassandra Opikokew. She is a journalism graduate and serves as a great Aboriginal role model. Some students might be considering journalism as a career.

Taking it further:

Have students research an Aboriginal role model and write a newspaper article about the good things that person is doing for the Aboriginal community.