Media in Canada: Reflections & Relationships - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1742 Words
Date:  2023-02-07


Like many Westernized countries, the Canadian media plays a crucial role in actively constructing a picture of their society by providing information about their community. The media has the power to create and reflect core relationships in our lives: those between indigenous people and white people, men and women, old and young people, and people of different social classes. In other words, the media has the power to reflect and drive the public debate. The Canadian population is about 18 million people, and the indigenous people make about one percent of this total population. Therefore, in most cases, the closest the indigenous people get to meet with the non-indigenous people is through the media like movies, news, and other texts. The media, therefore, plays a crucial role in informing Canadians about the issues affecting the aboriginals and also plays a role in constructing social discourse on who and what is seen to be Aboriginal. However, in most circumstances, the media has misled the public on who the indigenous people are through stereotyping and other forms of social injustices. This is what forms the basis of this paper analysis. And, I will analyze one media text, preferably a movie, and two academic articles looking at the aspect of stereotypes and the indigenous people.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (Movie)

For this essay, the media text I have chosen to analyses for indigenous representation, stereotypes, and gender is "Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner." The movie got shot in the language of the Inuit people and was made with an Inuit cast. Ninety percent of the crew were also Inuit (Angilirq, 2002). The story on which this movie is based on is at least 1,000 years old, recording a way of life that still existed in the memory of the living. Despite the broad representation of the indigenous people in this movie, there are still elements of stereotypes and gender misrepresentation in it.

There are indeed several occasion in which this text has drawn on stereotypes. There are two common stereotypes identified in this movie for the Inuit people in particular. The first stereotype in the film is that of bloodthirsty and the noble savage that is manifested throughout. The videos are majorly shaped by the Western rather than the Eskimo desires and realities, despite the producer promising viewers objectivity and truth. Besides, since the movie locates authentic Inuit culture in unadulterated historical past, the movie perpetuated the myth of disappearing native culture and people that had no place in the future. There is a big problem conveyed by such stereotypes. Besides portraying the Inuit people as mentally and socially inferior to the Western people, they are also characterized as primitive people with no capability to evolve beyond the boundaries of hunters-gatherers and traditional society (Angilirq, 2002).

This media, Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner, does not, however, place the indigenous womanhood against white womanhood, or the indigenous manhood against white manhood. However, there are elements of racial stereotypes against the indigenous gender portrayed throughout the movie. These people are portrayed to be unexposed from how they behave, like when Nanook looks directly at the camera for about ten seconds, his meeting the eyes of the viewers. His wife, Nyla do the same thing. There are also other instances where other indigenous characters directly look towards the camera or moves towards it. These acts illustrate the deliberate intention of the movie to portray the Inuit people (indigenous) as inferior people.

The Impacts of These Stereotypes on Perceptions of Canada/Indigenous Relationships

I do not think it is a question of whether such stereotypes have an effect on the relations between the indigenous and the Canadians. Stereotyping a community or groups of people living among you would ultimately have an impact on the relationship between the two groups, and this is not an exception for the Canada/indigenous relationships. I think due to these stereotyping, there would be a lack of mutual understanding and respect for these two groups, and this is unhealthy for a country's cohesion. I tend to believe that due to such stereotypes, there is a broken relationship between Canada and the Aboriginal people. There must be a vast socio-economic gap between the two communities. The indigenous people do not receive an equal share of public amenities and other services from the government.

Impact of the Learning Bundle Information

The information I have acquired from the learning bundle had a significant impact on my analysis of the media and the essay at large. The aspect of colonialism is touched in these resources, and how it has affected the relationship of the Canadians and the indigenous people for a long time. There are four elements touched in the learning bundle that is critical in my analysis. These are colonialism and identity, cultural appropriation, an indigenous perspective on identity formation, and how the indigenous people should focus on moving forward without holding on the colonial issues. On the first aspect of colonialism and identity, it is crucial for my analysis as it informs me of the role that colonials played in the stereotypes still witnessed today. The white settlers were the initial people who brought the issues of stereotyping to the indigenous people while also obfuscating them, the effects of which are still felt to date.

The information from the learning bundle has also impacted my analysis since it informed me of the knowledge of the original inhabitants of Canada. From the resources, we are told that the indigenous people were the original inhabitants of the land. However, the non-indigenous people came here to stay, and they had to eliminate the indigenous people for their dream to come true. Canada is, therefore, a settler-colonial state. This information informs my analysis of why there is stereotyping to the indigenous people. First, even by referring to the whites as "Canadians," it is already wrong since the Aboriginals originally inhabited the land, and they should be the Canadians.

Another information that has significantly impacted my analysis is the assimilation of the indigenous people by the Canadian government. The one-act that has particularly attracted my attention is the "60 Scoop." Here, the indigenous children were forcefully taken away from their families at a tender age and taken to non-indigenous homes. This act passes a message that any critical person should be able to interpret without further information. Does it mean that the indigenous families were unable to take care of their children? And if not so, why were they taken explicitly to the white families?

Stereotypical Gendered Representations of Indigenous People

The Pocahontas Myth

The Pocahontas myth is an excellent example of stereotypical gendered representation of indigenous people. Pocahontas is a woman in a 1995 Disney movie depicting the history of the Powhatan Nation (Horse & Chief, 2014). Pocahontas' real name was Matoaka, and the nickname given to her meant a "spoiled child" or "the naughty one." She must have been only 10 or 11 at the time she was given this name. The name came about as a result of Matoaka saving a heroic John Smith from being clubbed by her father to death in 1607 (Horse & Chief, 2014). According to his fellow colonists, Smith was ambitious, abrasive, and a self-promoting mercenary soldier. Only Pocahontas is known of all the Pohantan's children because she became a hero as the "good Indian" who saved the life of a white man. Disney has not only given a new life to the theme of "good Indian/bad Indian." Additionally, as history is recorded by the English themselves, it is falsified in the theme of entertainment (Horse & Chief, 2014). Though Disney claims that the movie is accurate, responsible, and respectful, the people of Powhatan Nation disagree, with the claims that the film distorts their history beyond claim.

We are told that Smith gave three accounts of his story, one in which a young woman saved him. However, the English decided to choose on Pocahontas tale. Pocahontas was later conditionally married to an English man after being prisoned for over a year. She was used in London theatres to spread propaganda campaigns supporting the colony, wined and dined and taken to theatres. After her death in 1617 is when Smith came up with the tale that Pocahontas had rescued him when Pocahontas had gained fame in London (Horse & Chief, 2014). From this tale, the idea of "good Indian" is a widely used stereotypical representation to show that all the other Indians were bad people except for Pocahontas. Besides, we can see that after gaining the title of good Indian and after obtaining the fame in London that is when Smith wanted to associate with her by bringing out the tale that it is her who had saved him from being killed.

The Indian Princess

Another stereotypical gendered representation is the tale of the Indian Princess. This was a woman who threw herself in from of her tribe's executioners to save the life of a colonist captain John Smith (Bird, 1999). We can see that in all these tales, a woman is used to show disobedience of culture and norms. It is the women who come out to protect the colonist and not the men, and this is a gendered stereotyping representation. The image of the Indian process was created by and for the White culture. Despite the image being of an Indian woman, the myths surrounding it are all constructed by the white. And the American Indians remain to be an object of the White gaze and the focus of White myth (Bird, 1999). Among the Native American people, the early anthropologists' work was essential in codifying the idea of American Indian as "primitive other" (Bird, 1999). They made an ethnographic description that became the cores of world affairs, museums, exhibitions, early silent films, and Wild West shows (Bird, 1999). Sadly enough, most of these exhibit stereotypical gendered representations where women are the ones used in most cases. This is evident in the case of the Indian Princess and The Pocahontas myth.


Angilirq, Paul Apak, 1954-1998. (2002). Atanarjuat : the fast runner : inspired by a traditional Inuit legend of Igloolik. [Toronto] :Coach House Books & Isuma Pub.,

Bird, S. E. (1999). Gendered construction of the American Indian in popular media. Journal of Communication, 49(3), 61-83.

Horse, C. R. C., & Chief, R. (2014). The Pocahontas Myth. Powhatan Renape Nation Website. Accessed July, 3.

Cite this page

Media in Canada: Reflections & Relationships - Essay Sample. (2023, Feb 07). Retrieved from

Free essays can be submitted by anyone,

so we do not vouch for their quality

Want a quality guarantee?
Order from one of our vetted writers instead

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the website, please click below to request its removal:

didn't find image

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism