As Canada embarks on one of the longest election campaigns in this country’s history, some voices will be heard more than others. Despite an Indigenous population of more than 1.4 million people in Canada, fewer than two dozen full-time journalists cover an Indigenous beat.
That’s why we founded the Indigenous Reporting Fund at Ricochet almost nine months ago, and why we are coming to you today to help fund it. Canada urgently needs more Indigenous journalism and more Indigenous journalists.
Over the last few years we have seen a resurgence in Indigenous activism. From Idle No More to the Unist’ot’en camp, and from the anti-fracking protests in Elsipogtog, New Brunswick to the confrontation atop Burnaby Mountain, Indigenous peoples are leading the fight against climate change and destructive resource extraction and demanding that their rights and title be recognized.
But the space and funding available to Indigenous writers to tell their stories lags far behind, and election campaign coverage often doesn’t pay attention to their issues and interests. The IRF is about changing that equation, and providing both a platform and fair pay to Indigenous journalists.
From the beginning Ricochet’s goal has been to represent French, English and Indigenous perspectives in our coverage. The IRF was founded as a stretch goal during Ricochet’s initial crowdfunder last June, and almost $8,000 was raised for it in a single day. Over the past nine months the IRF has operated autonomously under the direction of experienced Indigenous editor Leena Minifie, and has produced dozens of articles, investigations, columns, opinion pieces and video reports.
The IRF has now expanded to produce content in French as well as English, and Leena has been joined by editor Nahka Bertrand, who will be responsible for the IRF’s francophone presence.
Today we are launching a crowdfunder that aims to raise $16,000 over the next three weeks. Every cent raised will go to paying a minimal stipend to both editors and providing them with a budget to pay journalists, columnists, photographers and videographers a fair rate for their work. The cost of reporting on Indigenous issues is often prohibitive due to travel costs and the time required, and without funding many stories simply won’t be told.
In addition to coordinating the content funded directly through the IRF, Leena and Nahka sit on Ricochet’s editorial board and contribute insight and perspective on all Indigenous-related content.
By relating the plights and triumphs of Indigenous people, through their voices and perspectives, we can move others to think more, know more and do more.
But we can’t do it without your help. Please contribute to the campaign today on Kickstarter to help us expand this unique platform for Indigenous voices.
Below you’ll find a partial list of some of the content published by the IRF over the last nine months. Check it out, and please share this article with your friends — we need your help to reach enough people to make this fundraiser a success.
News and investigations
Six months after Mount Polley waste spill, First Nation takes the lead on mining regulation
Rally calls for more action from Assembly of First Nations on two-spirit and LGBTQ rights
Ottawa City Council approves rezoning of sacred Algonquin site near Parliament
Indigenous camp aims to protect ancient village and trading ground from logging
Banks Island Gold refused to shut down mine after spill in remote coastal B.C.
Refusing cancer treatment is questionable medicine for Indigenous girls
An inquiry isn’t the answer to murdered and missing Aboriginal women in Canada
December election will determine future of Assembly of First Nations
25 years since first movie on residential schools, little has changed
How the Heiltsuk First Nation battled the DFO to save the fish — for all of us
Most First Nations see right through Canada's Transparency Act
How residential schools haunt even those of us who didn’t go
- Why we need more Indigenous journalism — and how you can help
Cindy Gladue case: a reminder the justice system is broken for Aboriginal women
First Nations finance their own demise through land claims process
First Nations and the federal election: An exercise in self-termination