How are Indigenous athletes represented in print, electronic, and digital media?
Options for Analysis
Compare and contrast representations of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis athletes. How are their representations similar and different? How does this shape our understanding of them as distinct peoples?
Compare and contrast representations of different athletes over time. Pick an era that is meaningful to Indigenous history and sport, or do a general sweep from the late 1800s to present day. Have the representations changed over time? How?
Compare and contrast representations of male and female athletes. You can take this one step further, and gain deeper insights into gender formations, by analyzing representations of athletes who compete in the same sport. Are they represented differently? How?
Compare and contrast representations of athletes who live on reserve and athletes who live in an urban area. Does where they come from matter to media? Why?
Compare and contrast representations of Indigenous athletes in mainstream, commercial media and Indigenous-owned media. Do different outlets convey different messages? Why?
What broader messages do media convey to the public when they write about Indigenous athletes?
What representational strategies do journalists and media use to convey those messages?
How might those messages shape public understandings of Indigenous people, white privilege, and race relations in Canada?
What needs to change for media to do a better job of writing about Indigenous athletes? Why is this change important?
How does media shape our understanding of Indigenous people, culture, and sport?
Options for Analysis
Which journalists write about Indigenous athletes and/or Indigenous sport? Are there some journalists who produce more than others? What are their dominant modes of representation?
Are these journalists Indigenous? Does the cultural background of the author matter? Why?
Which media produce the most stories about Indigenous athletes in Canada? Create a top 10 list. Which ones are mainstream commercial media? Which ones are owned by the same company? Which ones are Indigenous-owned? Which media is most influential in shaping public perceptions about Indigenous people, culture, and sport?
Returning to your top 10 list, pick one source and examine how it represents Indigenous athletes. How do those representations fit with the source's overall reporting on Indigenous people? Are they generally more 'positive'? Do they offer any political perspective on being Indigenous in Canada? If not, why not? What effect does this have on the overall media message being conveyed by that source?
What 'type' of media are you using to get information about Indigenous sport? Consider each source carefully, including the nature of the source (print, TV, podcast, etc.), how it's funded (commercial, government, research, personal, etc.), and it's purpose (information, interpretation, entertainment, activism, etc.).
Do you know how these stories are produced? This would include detailed knowledge about the actual production process. Why is it important to know how media about Indigenous sport is produced?