The "Winter of Native Discontent": A critical discourse analysis of Canadian opinion journalism on the Idle No More Movement


  • Tiffany Campbell MA Student, University of Alberta



Aboriginal activism has become increasingly subject to media publicity, reflecting a popular view of Aboriginals not only as a social problem but as creating problems that threaten the social fabric. This paper is based on the findings of a critical discourse analysis of a collection of opinion pieces published in The Globe and Mail and the National Post. The contemporary construction of the “Indian problem” was investigated in the context of the Idle No More movement, viewing these texts as part of larger processes of elaboration, articulation, and application of Western ideas on Aboriginal social policy. One of the fundamental conflicts that can be identified in settler discourse is in regard to history and change and a particular concern with how much of the past should be carried into the future. The discontinuous view of history emphasizes the distance of history, making the past seem foreign to the modern, civilized eye. Injustices are presented as characteristics of history, and the violence of colonial times can be disconnected from the present.