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Every Mohawk a Suspect — Real Peoples Media

10.5.16

Every Mohawk a Suspect — Real Peoples Media: Because "everyone knows," everyone also has suspicions about this raid. Rumour has it that someone flipped. Everyone knows there’s competition between a few individuals, and possibly their families, over drug dealing. Rumour has it someone, perhaps someone facing jail time, cut a deal in exchange for reduced charges. Rumour also has it that the raid presented a chance for this individual to use the police to take out the competition.

None of that is reported by the news media for several reasons. First, rumours are almost impossible to verify. Second, most Mohawks won’t go on the record, especially to the Montreal-based media. They blame reporters for demonizing their community with sensational, superficial and negative coverage. Third, most reporters don’t look beyond “officials” for comment, as though average Mohawks have nothing relevant to say. Most reporters are fixated on confrontations between the Mohawk and police and everything else gets in the way of “the story”—a story that Mohawks feel has already been written.

Reporters don’t look for other stories or spend much time at Kanehsatake. They arrive when the police raids happen, and leave after they get the story they want. Reporters may not have the time to look deeper into the story. Certainly, most newsrooms are understaffed and reporters stretched too thin. They may also lack basic journalistic curiosity or interest in Indigenous issues, or maybe they’re satisfied to confirm Mohawks as fundamentally criminal, and to reinforce those stereotypes. Harsh? Not really, given the stories I read after a raid.

Newscasts on the morning of June 14 put 500 police at Kanehsatake even though there are raids taking place at Akwesasne, Oka and villages in the southern Laurentians. The numbers just don’t add up. The next day many news-sites, newscasts, and newspapers still put 500 police at Kanehsatake. It takes a small community paper, L’Echo de St. Eustache, to ask a simple question and get a more realistic number: 200. This helps explain why some people hardly noticed the June 14 raid at Kanehsatake.


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Dispatch: Aboriginal Press Media Group  |   Permalink  |   [10.5.16]  |   0 comments

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