February 6, 2023
#5 Hacks, Flacks and #Landback
Since 2019 five journalists have been arrested at land defenses, several others have been detained or threatened with arrest - why?
Karyn Pugliese
Kim Wheeler

canadaLANDBACK is a co-production of Canada’s National Observer and Canadaland.

Since 2019 five journalists have been arrested at land defenses, several others have been detained or threatened with arrest – why?

Host Karyn Pugliese believes the answer is to be found in two land defenses that unfolded in the 1990s. 


Gustafsen Lake

Of all the things journalists have to cover in Indigenous communities, land actions are the most complicated, involving a tangle of history and relationships journalists trip into unprepared. 

Landback movements question Canada’s legitimacy as a nation, and its character as a champion of human rights. 

How the media understood and told these stories mattered.  

State violence as a response to a human rights issue is indefensible, but it is a justified response to a criminal matter.

So what are land defenses? 

Is the state enforcing the rule of law against armed terrorists?

Or is Canada using violence to crush human rights defenders? 

This episode is not about the land defenses themselves – but about the emergence of a public relations war to control the story the media tells.

Host/Producer: Karyn Pugliese, editor-in-chief, Canada’s National Observer

Producer: Kim Wheeler

Additional research and support for this episode Beverly Andrews and Cara McKenna. 

See the RCMP’s full statement here.

Research for this episode included:

  • Various Articles in 100 Mile House Free Press, CBC, CTV, The Globe and Mail, the Montreal Gazette, the Ottawa Citizen, La Presse, Saskatoon Star Phoenix, the Toronto Star, the Vancouver Sun, Vancouver Province
  • Sandra Lambertus, Wartime Images, Peacetime Wounds: The Media and the Gustafsen Lake Standoff  –2004
  • Yale D. Belanger and P. Whitney Lackenbaue Eds. Blockades or Breakthroughs?
  • Aboriginal Peoples Confront the Canadian State, 2015
  • Geoffrey York (Author), Loreen Pindera (Author), Dan David (Foreword) People of the Pines: The Warriors and the legacy of Oka, 2013
  • Dan David, “Point of View: The Oka Crisis — looking forward after 30 years” CBC July 10, 2020
  • Dan David, Anarchy at Kanehsatake.” This Magazine, January 1996 
  • Dan David, “All My Relations,” This Magazine, November/December 1997

Sound in this podcast included:

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Since 2019 five journalists have been arrested at land defenses, several others have been detained or threatened with arrest - why?
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