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Angela Sterritt: More than a Reporter
This week, Matriarch Movement's podcast host and founder Shayla Oulette Stonechild shares time and space with Angela Sterritt. Angela, who is a multiplatform reporter (television, radio, web), is a woman with a powerful voice and a gift for storytelling. Through her work, Angela aims to break stereotypes, create meaningful change, and form relationships in Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. As a storyteller, who better to share part of her story than Angela herself? Throw in those earbuds, take a walk in the sunshine, and listen to the thought-provoking insights and wisdom Angela shares in this episode of the Matriarch Movement.
Currently residing in Vancouver, BC, Angela Sterritt is an award-winning journalist, author and artist from the Gitanmaax band of the Gitxsan nation. Her name is one that may be familiar to you as Angela has been a journalist for nearly 20 years and has been paving the way for more Indigenous voices, people, and stories in media. Working to decolonize mainstream media is a challenging undertaking and complicated journey, and one that Angela has dedicated endless hours and labour toward. Her work has been extremely impactful and has been recognized with numerous accolades and awards including: Academy award (Canadian Screen Award) for best reporter of the year (2021), a national Radio Television Digital News Association award (2021), recognized on Vancouver Magazine’s Power 50 list of the city’s most influential people (2021), winner of the Shaughnessy Cohen Political Book Prize (2018), and many more.
One aspect of Angela's approach to her work that really resonates with us is her emphasis on highlighting Indigenous resilience, culture, and brilliance, and constantly seeking the balance of highlighting these aspects while simultaneously reporting on stories and realities that are often filled with trauma and racism. In an article titled "Angela Sterritt and the Fight to Tell Indigenous Stories Right" CBC writes: "It showed that while Indigenous people are often the victims of racism, their lives are also more colourful and complex than the stories frequently told about them. The connection to community and culture is strong for so many Indigenous people, and the potential to heal through community and culture is there, too. Sterritt always aims for this kind of balance in her work, she said."
"A large part of decolonizing media is just being a human being, says journalist Angela Sterritt: ‘I think journalism schools have made us feel like we need to be devoid of that, and have no compassion and be robotic, and I think that’s the worst kind of storytelling.’" - from The Tyee article titled 'Angela Sterritt and the Fight to Tell Indigenous Stories Right'
Beyond her writing, Angela is also an artist with a focus on acrylic painting. She was one of several artists who were selected to paint murals at Mount Longhu in Jianxi, a province in southeast China. The mural, which was painted in 2016, is a recreation of one of her existing works titled First Contact. In an interview with CBC, Angela describes her work: "It depicts a woman whose connection and love for her community, family, the land and her culture eclipse fear instilled in us at the time of first contact. As a Gitxsan woman, I've been gifted Sip' xw hligetdin — the strength to speak out — through my art and as a journalist. This piece speaks to Indigenous women rising from the ashes [using] what has been within her all along — her culture, in this case from the Wolf Clan, an Owl Crest and a Big Raven House." To connect with Angela about her paintings, you can visit her webpage here.