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Decolonizing Journalism

A Guide to Reporting in Indigenous Communities

Duncan McCue

Publication Date - January 2023

ISBN: 9780190164263

232 pages


Recent events including the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the discovery of mass graves at the sites of former residential schools have brought increased coverage of Indigenous Peoples to Canada's mainstream media outlets. However, there is no guide for current and aspiring journalists to building respectful and reciprocal relationships with Indigenous people and communities when researching and sharing their stories. Written by a leading Indigenous journalist, Duncan McCue, specifically for journalism students in Canada, Decolonizing Journalism delivers practical, up-to-date advice in a guidebook-like text that students will use throughout their studies and careers. Readers will learn how to develop a critical consciousness when engaging with and reporting on Indigenous communities, and will draw insights into the histories, processes, and obstacles central to decolonizing journalism from exclusive interviews with 9 leading Indigenous journalists.


  • INTERVIEWS with Indigenous journalists provide students with insight into respectful and responsible reporting.
  • DISCUSSION QUESTIONS at the end of every chapter engage students with the material and encourage critical thinking about the topics presented.
  • PRACTICAL ADVICE throughout helps students develop strong reporting skills while building meaningful relationships with Indigenous communities.

About the Author(s)

Duncan McCue, CBC Journalist,

Duncan McCue is an award-winning journalist, author, and journalism professor. His radio and television career at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) spans over two decades, most recently serving as host of CBC Radio's national phone-in program Cross Country Checkup. A proud Anishinaabe from the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation in southern Ontario, Duncan is the recipient of an Indspire Award for Public Service and an honorary doctorate from the University of King's College.

Table of Contents

    About the Author
    A Brief History of Indigenous Relations in Canada
    1) AT THE DESK
    1.1 First Contact
    1.2 Historical News Stereotypes of Indigenous Peoples
    1.3 Beyond Victims and Warriors
    1.4 Positive and Negative Stories
    1.5 Searching for Solutions
    1.6 How to Pitch Stories, Successfully
    1.7 "Where Are You From?" - Rethinking Objectivity
    2.1 Indian Time
    2.2 Indigenous Customs and Protocols
    2.3 Who Represents the "Indigenous Perspective"?
    2.4 White Characters and Indigenous Agency
    2.5 Trauma-Informed Reporting
    2.6 Story-Takers - How to Deal with 500+ Years of Rage
    2.7 Breaking News - Indians Are Funny!
    3) ON THE AIR
    3.1 Terminology and Lexicon
    3.2 Context and Colonial Amnesia
    3.3 Accountability, Reciprocity, and Criticism
    3.4 Social Media - The New Moccasin Telegraph
    3.5 Reconciliation and Journalism
    4.1 Becoming Trauma-Informed - A Conversation with Connie Walker
    4.2 Lessons in Humility - A Conversation with Waubgeshig Rice
    4.3 "In Love with My People" - A Conversation with Mark Trahant
    4.4 Northern Reflections - A Conversation with Juanita Taylor
    4.5 Respect and Relationships - A Conversation with Tanya Talaga
    4.6 In Pursuit of Truth - A Conversation with Karyn Pugliese
    4.7 Punching Up - A Conversation with Tim Fontaine
    4.8 The Need for Knowledge-Based Journalism - A Conversation with Merelda Fiddler-Potter
    4.9 Asking Hard Questions - A Conversation with Tristan Ahtone
    Conclusion: The Last Word
    Appendix 1: UNDRIP Articles Relating to Media
    Appendix 2: TRC Calls to Action Relating to Media
    Appendix 3: OCAP Principles for Indigenous Research and Data Collection
    Appendix 4: Residential School Apology
    Additional Resources

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