We employed postcolonial theory, a case study methodology, and critical discourse analysis to investigate the ways in which non-First Nations and First Nations news sources produced understandings of the role(s) that education policies may have played in the deaths of seven First Nations students in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. We found that national non-First Nations media sources produced the discourse that First Nations peoples require federal government policy as a form of intervention in their lives. Further, we found that though these media sources focused on criticizing the present state of First Nations education, they ignored the colonial processes and policies that contributed to a situation that resulted in the students attending high school in Thunder Bay, rather than their home communities. First Nations and local (Thunder Bay) non-First Nations media sources, however, emphasized the need for greater cooperation between the Canadian government and First Nations peoples to resolve the long-standing policy issues that continue to affect First Nations youth and their education in northern Ontario. These findings point to important differences in the ways in which various forms of media cover First Nations policy issues.


We would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers and the editor for their very helpful insights.

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TRIGGER WARNING: The following article discusses cases of accidental death and suicide that some readers may find distressing.