A journalist whose family members survived the Kamloops Indian Residential School is creating resources for newsrooms across Canada on how to report on Indigenous traumas in a good way.
When news broke that the remains of 215 children had been discovered on the grounds of a former residential school in Kamloops, IndigiNews reporter Kelsie Kilawna felt complete anger. She wasn't just angry at the news itself. She was angry at how mainstream media outlets were reporting on the issue.
As Syilx woman, she had family members attend KIRS. She knew it was likely some of those remains belonged to her lineage. She felt rage, rage for the bombardment of headlines that reported this story without due care or attention to how it would impact her family. News like this needs careful specific treatment to protect the integrity of the people.
Kelsie knew she needed to channel her rage into something productive. She took to social media to educate other journalists, mostly non-Indigenous journalists, on how to report on issues of Indigenous trauma in a good way, or not at all.
"Some stories are not yours to tell," she tweeted.
Newsrooms began reaching out to her with more questions, and she realized the industry needed trauma-informed reporting resources for journalists. This is not something that is taught in journalism schools and is rarely practiced in the industry.
Over these next few weeks, Kelsie will be dedicating time and emotional labour to creating trauma-informed resources for anyone in the Canadian journalism industry to utilize. She'll be drawing from her 15 years experience working in trauma-informed community-based spaces, as well as her experience reporting in her home community for IndigiNews Okanagan.
Your contributions will directly support the creation of trauma-informed reporting resources, as well as Kelsie's ongoing reporting and efforts to decolonize journalism.