Will Canada’s Corporate Media Apologize for their role in Residential School Tragedies?

Media National Politics

Plenty of archival evidence points to them knowing but choosing to omit or undermine the horrors, decade after decade

By Jack Etkin
and Gabriel Sinduda

For the last few years, but especially over this most recent year, Canada’s Corporate Press have led the way in promoting shame and sadness for what happened at the Residential Schools … the deaths, beatings, rapes, family separations and cultural genocide that took place.

Canadian Press names Kamloops unmarked graves discovery Canada’s news story of the year after hiding or omitting the truth about Residential Schools for decades.

However, when the schools were actually doing these things, decade after decade, the Media knew…but said and did nothing.

The Corporate Media made sure Canadians heard little or nothing about what was going on at the schools.  The Media hid the truth.  This allowed the schools to continue in their despicable fashion for generations.

All of the corporate media are culpable. The last of the residential schools did not close until the 90’s. Most of the legacy corporate media we have today–whether television, radio, newsprint, or online–are inherent to corporations that were thriving throughout the era of the Residential Schools.

For starters, we sent the following email to the attention of both the CBC and The Globe and Mail:

To:  CBC and Globe and Mail

There has been a good deal of coverage in Canada’s Media about apologies to Indigenous People by the various Churches and Governments involved in the Residential Schools disaster in Canada.  The Residential Schools operated approximately from the 1870s to the 1990s.

We have all heard of the ill treatment, beatings, rapes, and deaths that happened during the time of these Schools.  The Churches and Governments do have a lot to apologize for.

However, we believe that Canada’s Media, including your organization, also have a lot to apologize for.  Specifically, the role Canada’s Corporate Media played in the Residential Schools disaster was to hide the truth from the Canadian people.  Had Canadians known about the horrendous treatment of Aboriginal Children and Families at these schools, we think Canadians would have demanded the schools be closed immediately.  The Media hid the truth by downplaying and not reporting the story of what was going on at these schools.  Even though you knew.

By keeping the truth hidden, your Media allowed the Schools to continue to do their evil work for decade after decade.  Today the media lead the way in demanding apologies from others involved in this scandal; but perhaps it is also time for the media to apologize for your role.

Just as the Churches and Governments must apologize and admit their blame, as a way forward to reconciliation, it is also important for the media, including yourselves, to apologize and admit its role in this cultural genocide and the unnecessary suffering and deaths experienced by so many Indigenous children and their families during this century-long Residential School disaster.

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We will keep you informed of any responses we may receive.