Indigenous Women as Newspaper Representations: Violence and Action in 1960s Vancouver

TitleIndigenous Women as Newspaper Representations: Violence and Action in 1960s Vancouver
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsLongstaffe, M
JournalThe Canadian Historical Review
Volume98
Pagination230
ISBN Number0008-3755
KeywordsDowntown Eastside Vancouver, Indigenous women, media discourse, missing and murdered women, postwar journalism, racialized and colonial violence, sexual violence, urban Indigenous history
Abstract

Through a discourse analysis of newspaper reports on the deaths of Indigenous women in Downtown Eastside Vancouver during the 1960s, this article provides a historical framework to expand our understanding of pervasive violence experienced by Indigenous women in the community. This analysis reveals that in attempting to raise the profile of the deaths of Indigenous women in the neighbourhood, journalists constructed a new trope – the "Skid Road Girl" – that re-inscribed old stereotypes and framed the city as non-Indigenous space. While reporters advocated for social reform, and provided a discursive context in which Indigenous activists could make their voices heard and gain support for their community and social service initiatives, their words reinforced damaging racist and sexist ideas and contributed to the normalization of violence against Indigenous women.