DEAR MEDIA, I AM MORE THAN JUST VIOLENCE

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BILLY-RAY BELCOURT

idle no more

By Billy-Ray Belcourt

In the aftermath of being appointed a 2016 Rhodes Scholar-elect and in the wake of something of a media storm, I found myself crying, out of anger, frustration, and sadness, in the University of Alberta’s Aboriginal Student Council lounge. My story is indeed a spectacular one: the first-ever First Nations student in Canada to be awarded the world’s most prestigious academic scholarship. In a time of so-called reconciliation and in the face of ongoing dispossession – of lands, identities, and life – it is nice (to put it generously) to be able to turn to my story with open arms, so to speak. But, a staunchly violent present of settler colonialism doubles as the ideational context from which these stories emerge, and when the media wants to tell our stories some things and not others make them more palatable, readable, sensational.

In settler states like Canada –…

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