Module # 3 Posts – exploring how media supports Indigenous collective memories

Weblog Notes – Module 3

Site # 1

This time around I thought I would explore the different ways Indigenous people use media to cover one issue concerning the protection of their collective history. I chose to examine the village and Midden site of c̓əsnaʔəm of Marpople village and the Musqueam community.  The first means with which the Musqueam Community spreads the word about their plight is through Facebook where they have various news clips, photos and also a blog that describes their efforts to stop a condo development site from being built so that their ancestors are no longer desecrated. Here is a link to their Facebook page:


By this means of communication they are able to get the public to react and support their cause through blogs and even a petition. There are quite a few supportive comments in their blogs, but it is unclear how many actually come from outside the community itself.

Site # 2

By continuing to explore this story and how the Musqueam community is using the Web and Internet to protect their 4,000 year old burial site, also know as the Eburne site, Manpole Midden or Great Fraser Midden, I found a 5-minuteYouTube video, here is the link:

I found that this video was powerful, the message is clear – the images are evocative.  The Musqueam community is really working together to save their historical site and they are willing to go all the way to protect their collective history.  I found this to be a very effective way to get the Musqueam message across.  Many people view YouTube and it can obviously help their cause.  I unfortunately saw no comments in the comment box, so I wonder who has viewed it . . . it has been posted since August 2012, so that gives it some time for others to view and comment on it.  The video is well made and I think could reach out to a wide public.

Site # 3

This video entitled : The Musqueam Marpole Midden Vigil Interview, explains what the Musqueam community has done.  The steps that have been taken, from peaceful demonstrations, suggestions of swapping land to relocate the condo project, their efforts to talk to provincial and federal government, until their blockade on the bridge – which is sadly when the government decided to take note of the issue and begin talks.

The speaker makes a good case of  why saving this site is important to the Musqueam people and also of comparing the fact that digging up other Canadian graveyards is not allowed or done in Canada, why should it be different for them?

Site # 4

This site is an activist column where the petition to protect the Musqueam Marpole burial site can be found.  Up to date there are 1 347 signatures that support the petition. This web site offers more information on this issue and the Musqueam people’s struggle to protect this burial site since December 2011. It is amazing to me that despite the finding of ancestral bones, the building permit was not revoked and especially why it is so difficult for the government to act in good faith and accept the proposed swap.

At the bottom of the page there are 10 referers that link this site. I thought I would visit a few to see how a plight, such as preserving the Musqueam Marpole ancestral burial site could be linked with other similar plights, or find sympathizers to their cause elsewhere.


Site # 5

Indigenous Media is a grassroots journal. This web site is an excellent example of using the Internet to connect with other Indigenous groups around the world. I explored several of the opinions, news and editorials that can be found on this web site; here are some of the titles covered:

–          Illegal miners in Venezuela

–          Blockaded dam in Malaysia

–          City council plan halted by tribal council (Gila River Indian Community)

–          The plight of the Bedouin of the Negev

–          Sacred Sites and Indigenous Peoples of the Altai

–          Brazil: Indigenous Peoples Demand Repeal of ‘Anti-Indian’ Decree

Each of these stories go into more depth and lead to further links and information on the subject.  This type of website offers all Indigenous communities who wish to do so, a platform for expressing their concerns about various subjects that affect their communities. I believe this type of media forum can serve to inform each other and the world about issues, and it can also be used to learn from each other.  Perhaps such a platform can also provide Indigenous communities with strength in number and offer them ideas and ways to protect their collective histories and ancestral ways.

Each web news segment also offers the opportunity to blog, and I read many comments supporting various causes.  It is interesting then that through this site the Musqueam people can get a worldwide audience to react to their plight. I found the story about the Musqueam Marpole ancestral burial site under “Canada”. It is here that I learned that after their struggle the Musqueam people won their fight and on September 27 the provincial government revoked the permits to build a 5 story condominium development at the Musqueam Marpole Village Site.

I believe that the Internet was an important tool for the Musqueam people in propagating their issue and in resolving the matter.  Thus I conclude that various forms of media: the Internet, blogs, videos, interviews etc. did serve to protect and disseminate their collective history. I also believe that other Indigenous groups can likely use this example as a guide for their own struggles and give them ideas about how to work with government entities to resolve issues.


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