In mainstream U.S. news, coverage of Indigenous communities is sporadic, uneven and barely visible.
Central to the modern context is the 100-year legacy of residential schools, beginning with the Indian Act of 1876 and extending through most of the 20th century, when more than 150,000 children were sequestered, many stolen from their homes without their family’s or community’s permission. Residential schools were part of the government’s goal to assimilate Indigenous people by severing them from their culture, language and stories, coupled with the notion that was the basis of residential schools in the late 1800s: to save the child, you must kill the Indian. These actions are another way to describe genocide.
The Globe and Mail article patiently described a social structure imposed by governments that failed Native citizens, embodied by this family’s hardships — when things go wrong, then right, then wrong again — when people navigate the ups and downs of love, domestic violence, drugs and jail to become ensnared in a formal bureaucracy. The story described a social system that doesn’t work.
In today’s mainstream U.S. news, coverage of Indigenous communities — challenges and strengths — is sporadic, uneven and barely visible. Consider, for example, mental health, which is not well understood in popular media. Thanks to recent coverage of celebrities such as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (Harry and Meghan) and champion tennis player, Naomi Osaka, narratives are emerging that help destigmatize mental conditions.