Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Human and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Stacey Hannem

Advisor Role


Second Advisor

Dr. James Popham

Advisor Role

Second Reader

Third Advisor

Dr. Lisa Monchalin

Advisor Role

External Advisor


“In a traditional village, we wouldn’t have a teepee with no door on it and throw somebody in there. We wouldn’t cast them out, because banishment meant death. What we had to do was restore relationships” – Ryan Beardy (Thorpe, 2022).

The following project examines the representation of Indigenous traditions, customs, and issues in Canadian mainstream media. Specifically, this project is interested in the portrayal of banishment as an Indigenous practice in Canadian mainstream news outlets. This project is based on an interpretive paradigm informed by grounded theory and concepts of media framing, postcolonialism, settler colonialism and restorative justice. Nineteen Canadian mainstream media articles discussing banishment were selected through the database Factiva which were then coded and analysed. The results of this analysis showed four key themes that will contribute to the current literature on Indigenous issues portrayal in settler-colonial mainstream media: (1) an ideological distinction between western settler and Indigenous conceptions of banishment; (2) erasure of Indigenous ways of knowing from media coverage of Indigenous practices; (3) the challenges of using banishment as punishment or crime prevention in a modern, industrialised landscape; and (4) how the Canadian state has leveraged media to promote the myth of Indigenous self- governance and what I call the Façade of Indigenous Agency (FIA). The FIA is, what I argue to be, a propaganda technique employed by the Canadian state to smooth over tensions between settler-Canadians and Indigenous peoples living in Canada as well as between the state itself and Indigenous peoples.

This work contributes to the decolonization of media and literature by shedding light on how colonizing narratives operate through mainstream media. As expanded on in this project, the current literary landscape and historic account of Canada’s past is deeply entrenched with colonization and imperial thought. As such, it is important to examine the ways in which these detrimental ideologies are exist and are reinforced through mainstream media. Therefore, the decolonization of the media and discussions of media’s strengthening of western values is imperative as failing to do so will further silence Indigenous voices and stories. If Canada’s goal of decolonization and reconciliation is true, the state should be quite concerned with the portrayal of Indigenous culture as well as the Façade of Indigenous Agency.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season