This week, as a very inappropriate response to the passing of Makayla Sault, there was a slew of mainstream media taking aim at the people of Six Nations/New Credit and our “aboriginal right” to use indigenous medicine to treat our children.
Two local families were targeted and badmouthed by journalists, both non-indigenous and Status Indian alike, with terminology and phrases put together in order to inspire doubt and fear in the Canadian public that First Nations children are at risk from the uneducated and “savage” ways of their parents.
This is nothing short of a resurgence in the residential school era attitude toward indigenous people fueled by a mainstream media whose only desire is to be first, exclusive and more ‘in the know’ than their media rivals.
Some news organizations, in spite of a clear request from the Sault family to respect their grieving process, sent reporters to Makayla’s funeral to interview those who came to pay their respects. Shame on them. For this reason the family had to secure a police presence and turn away journalists as they arrived – something a grieving family should not have to think about. In a community like Six Nations and New Credit, especially in a situation regarding the loss of a young person, people should always come first and stories should come last.
As Haudenosaune people, we are aware that it is our first priority to love one another, especially in times of grief. It is for this reason that the Haudenosaune chief’s council does not meet when there has been a death among the people. In Haudenosaune tradition there are 10 days of respect given to a grieving family following the death of an Ongwehowe. This is a sacred time for the families who are mourning.
While there is much to say regarding the passing of Makayla Sault and the mainstream media response to it, to honour the 10 day period of mourning the TRT will hold on publishing that content until after the 10 days is complete. You all continue to be in our thoughts at this difficult time.