This year, Canada marks 150 years since Confederation. For many, the officially sanctioned festivities represent a painful erasure of the legacy of colonization and genocide committed against Indigenous people in this country. At the same time, our largest cities are celebrated for their multiculturalism and inclusiveness, bringing together citizens from around the world. But what about the people who lived on this land long before they became the metropolises they are today? How do we ensure we acknowledge the inextricable connection Indigenous people and cultures have to the land beneath our bustling city streets and skyscrapers?
Indigenous Land, Urban Stories is a multimedia project launched by masters students at the Ryerson School of Journalism focused on telling stories shared by Indigenous architects, educators, artists, chefs, parents, activists and so many others reconciling with and making their own contributions to urban life in Canada. The project is inspired by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission‘s Call to Action No. 86, which asks Canadian journalism schools to ensure students are taught “the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools.” In collaboration with Journalists for Human Rights’ Indigenous Reporting program, students reported and wrote stories on subjects such as the growing role of Elders on university campuses, the rise of Indigenous cuisine in Toronto and how activist artists are transforming the cityscape to reclaim their space.
Special thanks to Lenny Carpenter and Hannah Clifford of Journalists for Human Rights for sharing their organization’s significant expertise in reporting on Indigenous issues, both through their in-class workshop and their tireless assistance throughout the process.
For more information on Indigenous resources at the university, please visit Resources at Ryerson.
Sophie Armstrong is a Master of Journalism candidate at Ryerson University. She is passionate about international affairs, gender issues and social justice. When she’s not looking for stories, Sophie competes on the Canadian national show jumping circuit with her horse.
Nadia Khamsi studied Translation at the University of Ottawa, Marketing at Humber College and is a Master of Journalism candidate at Ryerson University. As a former flight attendant, you can always catch her planning her next travel adventure or trying to learn a new language.
Dan LeBaron is a Master of Journalism candidate at Ryerson University in Toronto. Previously, he studied English and Film Studies at the University of Victoria. His interests include sports, politics and of course, journalism—not necessarily in that order.
Toronto-based journalist Iris Robin writes about local news, activism, and popular culture. Originally from the UK, Robin seeks out stories that empower people of all backgrounds to speak for themselves. In their spare time, Robin likes to read, fence, and dress up.
Amy van den Berg
Amy van den Berg is a Master of Journalism student at Ryerson University. She previously studied International Development at the University of Guelph and has a knack of searching out the weird stories with the best characters. She is interested in every form of journalism and finding new and interesting ways of storytelling.