Massey: Serving civically-minded community with vision for unity

Through the Local Journalism Initiative (LJI), I will be reporting exclusively on Indigenous Affairs

By Breanne Massey

Local Journalism Initiative reporter

As the community’s source of information on current events in the East Kootenay region of B.C., the Columbia Valley Pioneer (CVP) reports on municipal politics, community events, businesses, arts and entertainment as well as sports.

Our goal is simple: we have a fundamental responsibility to provide civically-minded journalism, so the community is in the loop about current events.

Through the Local Journalism Initiative (LJI), I have recently returned to the Columbia Valley Pioneer as full-time staff and will be reporting exclusively on Indigenous Affairs for the Akisqnuk First Nation (AFN), Shuswap Indian Band (SIB) and Métis citizens in the heart of the Columbia Valley on behalf of News Media Canada (NMC).

The goal of the LJI is to preserve Canadian heritage and culture, while providing news coverage for underserved areas of First Nations communities and Métis citizens, all the way from Brisco to Spillimacheen, with funding provided by the Government of Canada.

My commitment to the Columbia Valley community as the Indigenous affairs reporter is to ensure local culture is recorded with accuracy and neutrality, while encouraging local governments to be accountable in providing transparent information to the residents who live here.

I’m devoted to encouraging residents and visitors alike to participate in respectful, engaging conversations and debates about ongoing issues and community triumphs.

The content I’m producing for this region will be distributed nationally through Creative Commons, thanks to the support of NMC.

Having served the community as a general assignments reporter at the CVP between 2015 and 2017, I’m looking forward to returning to the Columbia Valley and I’m extremely grateful to have this opportunity during a global pandemic.

It is crucial for Canadians to acknowledge the damning effects of systemic racism in our country, while also celebrating the diversity and culture of AFN, SIB and Métis representatives of the community.

It is an honour to be tasked with the responsibility of raising awareness about the culture and history of Canada in the LJI reporter role.

I hope to unite citizens here, and to acknowledge the consequences of social injustices that stem from archaic belief systems rooted in white supremacy, settler colonization and classism.

We have the opportunity, as a community, to look at how the history of our country has been shaped as a result of social injustices that took place through Canada’s residential school system from 1886 to 1996 and the discrimination that occurred as a result of the Indian Act in 1876.

Oppression and discrimination has shaped our country’s past — and now, it’s up to us to do better for our present lives, and for the future of B.C. and Canada as a whole.

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