Blowback to the word genocide proves the national inquiry report was right – by Tanya Talaga (Toronto Star – June 12, 2019)

I should have anticipated the blowback to the final report of the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls.

I should have realized as I listened to question after question from non-Indigenous journalists during the formal release how much the pushback would hurt, that Indigenous people would be reminded, once again, of the great gulf of misunderstanding between ourselves and Canada.

I should have realized that the inquiry’s finding that Indigenous peoples are the victims of a “race-based” genocide empowered by colonial structures would be mocked by pundits in the media. After all, the media is among those colonial structures. My profession has been complicit in the suffering of Indigenous people. It still is.

I was an expert witness at the national inquiry in June, speaking about racism in the media. One of the commissioners asked me why no journalists came to hear them. Not one media outlet applied for standing during the inquiry. I had no answer for her. Only that this was nothing new.

For decades, news outlets chose not to report on Indigenous issues. Where were the investigative exposes on the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School in Kenora while children were medically experimented on? Or the special projects on the pedophiles preying on the children of St. Anne’s Indian Residential School or on Ralph Rowe, the flying Anglican priest believed to have sexually abused hundreds of First Nations boys?

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