MEDIA INDIGENA : Weekly Indigenous current affairs program

Weekly current affairs roundtable focusing on Indigenous issues and events. Hosted by Rick Harp.
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MEDIA INDIGENA : Weekly Indigenous current affairs program


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Aug 26, 2016

If families form the bedrock of Indigenous peoples, it seems Canada has devoted decades to their fracture and fragmentation. And, as child advocate Cindy Blackstock notes, were we to label the forced institutionalization of children in faraway residential schools as 'phase one' of that fracturing, the subsequent removal of generations of kids into the homes of non-Aboriginal strangers in the 1960s could be called 'phase two.' The so-called 'Scoop' removed thousands of kids from a number of provinces. But, this week, it was an Ontario court that heard the latest phase of a class action suit seeking compensation for what survivors say Canada denied them: rightful access to "Aboriginal customs, traditions and practices." Our guest is Raven Sinclair, associate professor of social work at the University of Regina, and a Scoop survivor herself.

Aug 18, 2016

Senseless, tragic and disturbing: words that rush to mind upon hearing the news of last week’s killing of Colten Boushie. A 22-year-old resident of the Red Pheasant First Nation in western Canada, Boushie was shot to death after he and four other Indigenous young people drove onto the property of 54-year-old, non-Indigenous farmer Gerald Stanley in hopes of getting help with a flat tire.

What happened next is still under investigation, but that hasn’t stopped some from drawing and sharing their own hurtful and hateful conclusions via social media. Our guests this week both hail from Saskatchewan: Tasha Hubbard is a documentarian and assistant professor of English at the University of Saskatchewan; Chris Andersen is interim dean at the University of Alberta’s faculty of Native Studies. They share their thoughts as to what Boushie's deathand its contentious aftermathmight tell us about the state of Indigenous/non-Indigenous relations in that province and beyond. // Our theme: 'nesting' by Birocratic.

Aug 12, 2016

Will it happen again? Will someone portrayed on-screen by Aboriginal actor Adam Beach be quickly dispensed with, leaving us next to no time to really know his character? According to our guest this week, it's been something of a pattern for Mr. Beachindeed, it's a fate faced by all too many Indigenous actors in Hollywood, as they appear all too briefly in mainstream television and film productions. Cutcha Risling Baldy is an Assistant Professor of American Indian Studies at San Diego State University. She's also the author of the 2015 blog post, "I Can't Believe You Keep Killing Off Adam Beach, NBC: Gender, Representation, Settler Colonialism and Native Cameos on Television." In the course of exploring what's at stake in how Indigenous people are represented by the major studios, we'll also discuss whether Beach's latest role as SlipKnot in the summer superhero flick, "Suicide Squad," breaks with the pattern she's described. // Our theme is 'nesting' by birocratic.

Aug 5, 2016

When loved ones die, there’s no question who suffers most—their families. And of those who pushed hardest for the newly-launched National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, none fought more fiercely than the relatives of these stolen sisters. Now some of those families have been left disappointed by the details of its terms of reference. Such concerns are echoed by groups like the Native Women’s Association of Canada and Pauktuutit, who say there are fundamental flaws in the Inquiry’s scale and scope. Joining us this week with her reflections is Pam Palmater, Chair in Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University in Toronto. // Our theme is 'nesting' by Birocratic.

Jul 28, 2016

According to the WHO, food security is “when all people, at all times, have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life.” In Canada's north, food access and affordability are critical issues—especially for many Indigenous communitiesand government subsidies seem to only go so far. Madeleine Redfern, mayor of Iqaluit (Nunavut's capital city), discusses her territory's challenges with food insecurity and how the 'Nutrition North' subsidy program might be improved to better serve Inuit. // Our theme is 'nesting' by Birocratic.


Jul 23, 2016

This week on the program: Inaction on the Indian Act. Derided for decades, it’s hung in there as one of Canada’s oldest laws. Now there are hints from the federal Justice Minister that its days could be numbered... just not right away. Joining us with her thoughts on the delayed dismantling of the Act is Naomi Sayers, a law student active in legal reform and education who writes under the banner of Our theme is 'nesting' by birocratic.

Jul 15, 2016

An Indigenous broadcaster shares his personal and political perspective on police treatment of Aboriginal people, an issue he recently wrote about in his Huffington Post piece, "This Is Why People Of Colour Fear The Police." Jesse Wente is the director of Film Programmes at TIFF Bell Lightbox, and a long-time CBC Radio pop culture columnist. He joined us from Toronto. // Our theme is 'nesting' by Birocratic.

Jul 12, 2016

Fresh off our week at the Podcast Movement conference in Chicago, the team behind MEDIA INDIGENA 'checks in' on our progress 18 weeks into the show. We share our experiences, lessons and successes—including our ultimate, larger vision for the show's future, both on and off the mic. Featuring Ian Milne, MI's Head of Audience & Partnership Development. // Our theme is 'nesting' by Birocratic.

Jun 30, 2016

New research out of the University of Toronto into Indigenous child welfare has highlighted what some already suspected: that, when it comes to investigations of abuse or neglect, Indigenous families in Ontario are way more likely to be investigated than their white counterparts—130 per cent more, in fact. The disparity grows even greater for child removal, with young Aboriginal people 168 per cent more likely to be taken. But such over-representation is not unique to Ontario. Canada-wide, the most recent numbers show fully a third of all children and youth in care are Aboriginal. Our guest this week is Kenn Richard, executive director of Native Child and Family Services of Toronto. // Our theme is "nesting" by Bee-row-Crat-ic.

Jun 26, 2016

This week: the fight for funding of Indigenous languages. Despite the best efforts of the Canadian government to wipe out the roughly 60 Aboriginal languages in that part of the world (what some call deliberate linguicide) those ancestral tongues are not yet stilled. But this is no time for complacency, which is why people like Lorena Fontaine, an associate professor of Indigenous Governance at the University of Winnipeg, is part of the team behind a lawsuit that they hope will force Canada to truly walk its talk on Indigenous language revitalization. // Our theme is 'nesting' by Birocratic.

Jun 16, 2016

According to its proponents, Indigenous public health goes beyond the original concept to encourage health practitioners to be more aware of the larger social, political and historical issues and dynamics that often drive Aboriginal health disparities. This week’s episode comes to you from Toronto, host to “Public Health 2016,” the annual conference of the Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA). Our guests are Nancy Laliberte and Alycia Fridkin of the Provincial Health Services Authority of British Columbia. // Our theme is 'nesting' by Birocratic.


Jun 9, 2016

"Contaminated, hard to access or toxic." According to a new Human Rights Watch report, that’s what all too many First Nations endure when it comes to safe, quality drinking water—in some cases, for decades.  Our guest this week is Amanda Klasing, a senior HRW researcher and the author of its report, “Make it Safe: Canada’s Obligation to End the First Nations Water Crisis.”

// Our theme is 'nesting' by Birocratic

Jun 5, 2016

One of Canada's largest provinces now says it's sorry for its "silence in the face of abuses and deaths at residential schools... [and] for the continued harm that generations of abuse is causing to Indigenous communities, families and individuals." The formal apology by the Ontario government comes almost one year after Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission issued its final report. But will Ontario’s actions speak louder than its words? Joining us with his reflections on the rhetoric versus realities of reconciliation is comedian and podcaster Ryan McMahon.

// Our theme is "nesting" by Birocratic.

May 28, 2016

This week, we get an update on the inquest into a series of young First Nation fatalities in northwestern Ontario, where seven Indigenous students have died over a 10 year period in the city of Thunder Bay. Our guest is Jody Porter, a local CBC journalist who's covered this story for years, including regular updates from the inquest.

// Our theme is "nesting" by Birocratic.

May 24, 2016

This week we take a long look at a provocative poll recently published by the Washington Post about their home town pro football club, the "Redskins." The paper claims the results supposedly show "how few ordinary Indians have been persuaded by a national movement to change the football team’s moniker." Not surprisingly, team owner Daniel Snyder immediately celebrated the findings, but critics claim the poll should be punted for its shaky methodology and the way it ignores how a racial slur like the R-word diminishes Indigenous self-esteem as well as poisons mainstream attitudes toward Native peoples. Our guests this week are Jason Notte, a sports business columnist for, as well as Ottawa-based journalist and author Waubgeshig Rice. // Our theme is "nesting" by Birocratic.

May 14, 2016

Recently, Canadian energy giant Enbridge announced it was prepared to boost the Aboriginal stake in their Northern Gateway project up to 33 per cent. Mired in controversy pretty much from the get-go, that includes how it seems to have seeded tension among Indigenous peoples, dividing them into pro- and anti-pipeline camps. But will Enbridge's new offer be enough to win more Indigenous support? Sharing his thoughts: Merle Alexander, a partner and specialist in Aboriginal Law with the law firm Gowlings WLG in Vancouver. // Our opening and closing theme is 'nesting' by Birocratic.

May 6, 2016

This week on the program: the ever-growing economic footprint of Indigenous peoples. A recent report out of Atlantic Canada suggests Aboriginal spending benefits the region significantly, to the tune of $1.14 billion annually. But it's actually a trend across the country. Joining us with her insights into these numbers is Maureen Googoo, owner-editor of, a site dedicated to covering Indigenous news in eastern Canada.

// Our opening and closing theme is 'nesting' by Birocratic.

Apr 28, 2016

Adopted by most countries back in 2007, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) faced but a handful of holdouts: the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Flash forward to last week, when a senior Canadian politician said his government was developing a so-called "Canadian definition" of at least some portions of UNDRIP, including the bedrock notion of free, prior and informed Indigenous consent. Helping us to decipher what that could mean going forward is Hayden King, Director of the Centre for Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University.

// Our opening and closing theme is 'nesting' by Birocratic.


Apr 22, 2016

This week on the program, making sense of Manitoba's Election. As a province with one of Canada's largest proportions of Aboriginal people, it's worth asking what the end of the NDP's 17-year run in favour of the Progressive Conservatives could mean to Indigenous interests going forward. Sharing his thoughts is long-time journalist Trevor Greyeyes, editor of the First Nations Voice newspaper.

// Our opening and closing theme is 'nesting' by Birocratic.

Apr 14, 2016

The remote Ontario community of Attawapiskat is but one example of a First Nation caught in the grips of a devastating suicide epidemic. This week, professor of psychiatry Amy Bombay joins us to explore the bigger picture and difficult histories underlying these all-too-common issues facing reserves across Canada.

// Our opening and closing theme is 'nesting' by Birocratic.

Apr 8, 2016

Just how much attention have Indigenous issues been getting from the front-runners in the US presidential primaries thus far? Simon Moya-Smith of Indian Country Today fills us in.

Our opening and closing theme is 'nesting' by Birocratic.

Apr 1, 2016

"An ongoing medical crisis." According to doctors serving First Nations west of James Bay, that is the current state of Aboriginal health for the northern Ontario region. Dr. James Makokis is a Cree family doctor based in Alberta who also teaches at Yellowhead Tribal College and the Universities of Alberta and Toronto. He shares his perspective on the health care challenges and barriers facing Indigenous communities right across Canada.

Our opening and closing theme is 'nesting' by Birocratic.

Mar 25, 2016

Some call it "historic." Its authors say it's "unprecedented." But what does Budget 2016 really offer Indigenous peoples in Canada?

We asked Cindy Blackstock—executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and an associate professor at the University of Alberta—to help us break it down.

// Our opening and closing theme is 'nesting' by Birocratic.

Mar 17, 2016

A United Nations expert review committee recently reported on how well Canada has treated Indigenous peoples under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Constitutional law researcher and professor Karen Busby outlines some of the issues flagged by the committee.

Our opening and closing theme is 'nesting' by Birocratic.

Mar 10, 2016

Russ Diabo, publisher/editor of the First Nations Strategic Bulletin, joins MEDIA INDIGENA's Rick Harp to discuss what, if anything, came out of a recent meeting on climate change between leaders of three national Aboriginal organizations, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canada's premiers.


Our opening and closing theme is 'nesting' by Birocratic.

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