Meet the four Indigenous journalists now covering Vancouver Island

IndigiNews, a platform created by The Discourse, supported by APTN, expands to Vancouver Island.

We are excited to announce that four reporters are joining our team and expanding our work to Vancouver Island. 

The first IndigiNews team was hired in April 2020 in the middle of a global pandemic to serve Indigenous communities in the Okanagan Valley. Now, in partnership with The Discourse and Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, along with funding from the Local Journalism Initiative, we are growing to Vancouver Island. 

Together, our team is dedicated to covering the news in a way that allows for people’s stories to be heard, understood and respected. We aim to produce valuable, relevant and trustworthy content by listening to the communities we serve through our work.

These four reporters will cover Indigenous health, education and child welfare across the Island. 

We have been gathering, training and learning together as a new team. Our reporters are honoured to share stories from a place of respect and learning. 

Meet the team 

Catherine (Katłįà) Lafferty 

Catherine Lafferty is an experienced writer and author of two books, Northern Wildflower and the forthcoming Land-Water-Sky Ndè-Tı-Yat’a.

“I’m excited to be working with an amazing team of Indigenous journalists who are together focusing on important storytelling initiatives from an Indigenous perspective,” says Lafferty, who is Dene First Nation from Somba K’e Northwest Territories.

She will be working with IndigiNews as an education reporter, which is a great place for someone who has experience in land-based education and Indigenous Legal Orders.

“I’m proud that IndigiNews is taking great measures towards decolonizing the media in the lens of health, child welfare and education,” she says.  

Bayleigh Marelj

Bayleigh Marelj is of Métis, Croatian and settler descent, and is currently living and working on W̱SÁNEĆ and Lək̓ʷəŋən land. They are in the process of reconnecting to their kin and heritage. 

“I have done a lot of thinking about what my role is as a Michif person. I hope to act as a bridge for stories to be told from diverse voices and through intersectional perspectives,” they say. “To really learn how to tell stories rather than take them.” 

Before working for IndigiNews, Bayleigh freelanced for several publications and hosted a radio show at their university station, CKDU 88.1 FM. They will be covering health, child welfare and education for IndigiNews.

“I am excited to come to this space as a learner and to help people share their stories. We intend to meaningfully engage with the communities whose stories we will be telling. We want to Indigenize the space,” they say.

Odette Auger

Odette Auger moved to the traditional territories of the toq qaymɩxʷ (Klahoose) in 1999. She has worked with Island youth as a facilitator for 17 years, including with the local health association. She will be covering health for IndigiNews.

“My focus will be learning more on respecting how Indigenous stories and people are represented. Truth-telling and sharing are my cultural values, which bring strength to my work,” says Auger, who is Sagamok Anishnawbek. 

She has been writing and producing for First People’s Cultural Council project, Cortes Island’s local co-op radio station, CKTZ 89.5 FM, and also works for IndigenEYEZ

“When we come from a place of deep listening, the stories that need to be shared are able to rise up. It is an honour to have stories shared,” she says.  

Anna McKenzie

Anna McKenzie is a member of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation with Scots Métis roots in Saskatchewan. On her mother’s side, she is Irish and English. Anna currently lives on the unceded homelands of the Snuneymuxw First Nation with her partner and three children. 

“I love to write, and emerging from a years-long maternity leave has opened my heart and allowed me to really connect with the writing process. My vision for this work is to be a vessel for stories that matter to Indigenous children, youth and families.”

Anna will be covering child welfare, a natural fit with her extensive experience working as an Indigenous youth support worker and youth program coordinator.

“The work I do has been and will always be grounded in holding up the stories and voices of Indigenous young people,” she says.  

Prior to joining the IndigiNews team, Anna worked with First Nations communities and various levels of government on a variety of community engagement projects. 

We are committed to learning from Indigenous communities. Our goal is to respect how communities are represented, recognizing there are multiple and diverse voices. 

IndigiNews is changing the culture of journalism by respecting the cultures here long before. 

You can follow the Vancouver Island team’s work here. We’re on Facebook and Instagram @IndigiNews, and on Twitter @IndigiNewsMedia


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