Examining the Media’s Portrayal of Idle No More: A Critical Discourse Analysis
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In November 2012, the Idle No More movement began as a series of teach-ins and protests in Saskatchewan, which drew attention to the continued settler-colonial relationship between the government of Canada and Indigenous peoples, as well as changes to environmental regulation. The movement gained momentum and quickly became nationally recognized. This study explores the mainstream media’s portrayal of the Idle No More movement over a one-year timeline, using qualitative methods including a critical discourse analysis of media content and semi-structured interviews with journalists. The critical discourse analysis phase of this study revealed themes and patterns of coverage of the movement, while the interviews with journalists provided valuable insight into the context of the coverage. The themes of the coverage were determined to be Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike, protests, internal politics and the relationship between the Canadian government and Aboriginal people. The findings suggest that coverage of Idle No More perpetuated colonial and stereotypical understandings of Aboriginal people as the nature of the media, such as the appeal to emotion and inability to contextualize the issues, restricts challenges to colonial thought.