Waub says the conflict story or the tragedy story, the cliches for journalism about Indigenous communities, is there because it makes for good TV. The challenge is to show those, but not to be "parachute journalists"--for a tragedy, show the recovery process. For a conflict, show other types of stories that aren't conflict-focused.
Trina: When you start to focus on the details it becomes obvious that these one-dimensional profiles we've developed aren't the whole story. Miles agrees with Waub that it's important not to parachute in. If there's a hunger strike, he'll camp out for a while. You start to develop real contacts, and understand the real issues like say, land titles.
Native people are hoping the awareness of treaties becomes more widespread, Trina says. "They're your treaties" too, she argues; they're not just treaties for Indigenous rights, since land rights goes both ways.
Harper has gutted a lot of environmental protections, Trina adds, yet because of the strength of treaties, First Nations have an important role to play in terms of natural resources. Waub says the issue of Indigenous protests against natural resource exploitation is often presented in black-white terms-- either they want the pipeline or they don't, for example--but communities are in favour of opportunities, it's a question of details.
Waub says the Catch-22 every Indigenous youth faces is whether to stay on reserves to try and keep their culture alive for generations to come, or go to the city and seek, for example, economic opportunity. This is what has been established with the colonial situation in Canada; it's an issue dating back to residential schools, he notes.
Trina - you can't take one economic model used at one reserve and apply it to another. It often depends on geography; one reserve might have access to a major road, while another might be isolated.
Sometimes there are not intermediary bodies between big industry and communities, Miles says, so if there are problems, recourse is simply to talk to an industrial representative, which can present conflicts of interest. The narrative that a single, large-scale industrial project that will provide some sort of silver bullet is constantly perpetuated, he adds.