The image of the "Indian" and online-media

pontiactThe "Pontiac" brand

Today, the image of the Canadian Indian continues to exist as two solitudes within the online-media landscape of the 21'st century. Beginning September 2010 I began collecting media generated, internet-based impressions of topics related to First Nations peoples and discovered that Western media outlets tend to treat topics related to First Nations peoples on a per-incident basis. Topically, the majority of reporting on First Nations focuses on social justice oriented issues related to ecology, economics and territorial claims. Within these stories, First Nations Peoples are often represented in an adversarial capacity with regard to government and industry. The image of the Indian seems to endure as a symbol of social and cultural discontent amongst Western audiences. Out of a total of 631 recorded impressions:

• Reporting is overwhelmingly skewed towards topics relating to social justice, ecology and economics - 131, 110 & 105 respectively.
• 512(81%) of the total impressions were published either by national or regional news outlets. National news outlets accounted for 98(19%) of the impressions while regional news outlets accounted for 414(81%).
• 119 (19%) impressions were gleaned from independent sources predominantly comprised of First Nations blogs and other alternative news sources.

Tellingly, the data indicates that online-media territory is being claimed by First Nations media sources at an impressive rate. 119 out of 631 impressions were sourced from independent First Nations blogs and media sources. That equals 19% of the total online media impressions. By comparison, First Nations peoples comprise roughly 4% of Canada's national population.