TORONTO, April 12, 2021 – Riley Yesno and Shayla Sayer-Brabant are the recipients of this year’s CJF-CBC Indigenous Journalism Fellowships, established to encourage Indigenous voices and a better understanding of Indigenous issues.
The award allows two early-career Indigenous journalists to explore issues of interest while being hosted for one month at the CBC News Indigenous Unit in Winnipeg (http://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous). This year, the fellowships will be offered remotely.
Yesno, an Anishinaabe woman from Eabametoong First Nation who grew up in Thunder Bay, Ont., graduates this year from the University of Toronto with a double major in Indigenous Studies and Political Science. She plans to explore the challenges faced by two-spirit and queer Indigenous people in northern and remote communities, how they’re supporting one another and what support is needed to ensure their well-being and vitality—with a focus on highlighting the voices of youth and elders.
Sayer-Brabant is a Nehiyaw (Plains Cree) two-spirit student in their final year studying Indigenous Communications Arts at the First Nations University of Canada in Regina and is a member of the Poundmaker Cree First Nation. They will explore the subject of self-harm and suicide, important but taboo topics that affect Indigenous youth.
“Riley is one of the brightest young minds in Canada today,” says jury member Lenard Monkman, an associate producer with CBC Indigenous and a 2017 CJF-CBC Indigenous Journalism Fellowship recipient. “With her proposal, she will be able to focus on what life is like for LGBTQ2S Indigenous youth and elders in northern and remote communities, and she will be able to present it in a way that very few can.”
As for Sayer-Brabant, Monkman says: “Shayla’s idea to cover self-harm and suicide prevention is not only brave, but it will allow for others with similar experiences to see themselves reflected in conversations that don’t happen in mainstream media. I think Shayla’s proposal will have an impact among many Indigenous people, particularly youth, across the country.”
The story or series resulting from the fellowship experiences will be considered for publication or broadcast by CBC News.
CJF provides each fellow a $4,000 stipend along with a per diem allowance of $2,000 for the month, and typically covers all associated travel and accommodation costs.
Jury members are:
- Duncan McCue (chair), host of Cross Country Checkup on CBC Radio;
- Lenard Monkman, associate producer with CBC Indigenous and recipient of a 2017 CJF-CBC Indigenous Journalism Fellowship;
- Karyn Pugliese, assistant professor of journalism at Ryerson University;
- Tanya Talaga, author, journalist and president and CEO of Makwa Creative; and
- Maggie Wente, Indigenous rights lawyer at Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP.
Thank you to Sobeys Inc. and CJF honorary governor Isabel Bassett, former chair and CEO of TVO, for their generous support of these fellowships.
About The Canadian Journalism Foundation
Founded in 1990, The Canadian Journalism Foundation promotes, celebrates and facilitates excellence in journalism. The foundation runs a prestigious awards and fellowships program featuring an industry gala where news leaders, journalists and corporate Canada gather to celebrate outstanding journalistic achievement and the value of professional journalism. Through monthly J-Talks, a public speakers’ series, the CJF facilitates dialogue among journalists, business people, academics and students about the role of the media in Canadian society and the ongoing challenges for media in the digital era. The foundation also fosters opportunities for journalism education, training and research.