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Social Science Native American Studies

Seeing Red

A History of Natives in Canadian Newspapers

by (author) Mark Cronlund Anderson & Carmen L. Robertson

University of Manitoba Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2019
Native American Studies, Post-Confederation (1867-), Media Studies
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2019
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2011
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2011
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 15
  • Grade: 10


The first book to examine the role of Canada’s newspapers in perpetuating the myth of Native inferiority. Seeing Red is a groundbreaking study of how Canadian English-language newspapers have portrayed Aboriginal peoples from 1869 to the present day. It assesses a wide range of publications on topics that include the sale of Rupert’s Land, the signing of Treaty 3, the North-West Rebellion and Louis Riel, the death of Pauline Johnson, the outing of Grey Owl, the discussions surrounding Bill C-31, the “Bended Elbow” standoff at Kenora, Ontario, and the Oka Crisis. The authors uncover overwhelming evidence that the colonial imaginary not only thrives, but dominates depictions of Aboriginal peoples in mainstream newspapers. The colonial constructs ingrained in the news media perpetuate an imagined Native inferiority that contributes significantly to the marginalization of Indigenous people in Canada. That such imagery persists to this day suggests strongly that our country lives in denial, failing to live up to its cultural mosaic boosterism.

About the authors

Mark Cronlund Anderson is the author of four books, including Pancho Villa’s Revolution by Headlines and Cowboy Imperialism and Hollywood Film, which won the 2010 Cawelti Prize for Best Book in American Culture. He is a professor of history at Luther College, University of Regina.

Mark Cronlund Anderson's profile page

Carmen L. Robertson is mixed blood (Lakota/Scottish) scholar currently working on projects related to the art and mythology of Anishinaabe artist Norval Morrisseau. She is an associate professor of art history at University of Regina and also maintains an active curatorial practice.

Carmen L. Robertson's profile page


  • Winner, Regina Book of the Year
  • Winner, Saskatchewan Book Award for First Peoples’ Writing
  • Winner, Saskatchewan Book Award for Scholarly Writing

Editorial Reviews

"_Seeing Red_ is a groundbreaking study of how Canadian English-language have portrayed Aboriginal peoples from 1869 to the present day."


"Mark Cronlund Anderson and Carmen L. Robertson provide a comprehensive and engaging study of the portrayal of Aboriginal peoples in English-language Canadian newspapers. The authors effectively demonstrate how a set of colonial ideas and assumptions about Aboriginal peoples formed, were quickly naturalized, and have continued to occupy a central place in mainstream Canadian newspapers."

Canadian Journal of Communication

Inasmuch as Canadians still believe that they have been less racist, less colonialist than their American neighbors, or that they are less racist than they used to be, Seeing Red ought to challenge their complacency.

Americal Historical Review

"In this intensely provocative book, University of Regina professors Anderson and Robertson contend that newspapers have played a central role in the Canadian colonial project through their representation of Aboriginal peoples over the past 140 years."

Great Plains Quarterly

"This book is hard to read. The negative and condescending view of the press is in your face throughout the pages, sparking a fire in the belly."

Wataway News Online

"A wonderfully dense and rich historical work that situates itself equally amongst journalism history, colonial histories in the Americas, and scholarship on representations of minorities and race in Canadian media.

Canadian Literature

“In this important, unique study of the imagery of Aboriginal peoples in Canadian newspapers, 1869-2009, Anderson and Robertson effectively argue that colonialism has always thrived in Canada’s press, continuing to the present. Highly recommended.”

CHOICE Magazine

“Seeing Red is a remarkable contribution to this country’s political and social history. It sets a new standard for archival research and critical thinking that hopefully will shake the Canadian media establishment.”

Winnipeg Free Press

Librarian Reviews

Seeing Red: A History of Natives in Canadian Newspapers

This book investigates how Canada’s Aboriginals have been reported on and presented in newspapers across this country between 1869 and 2009. The authors have thoroughly investigated more than 40 Canadian local, regional and national newspapers and the reportage of significant events related to First Nations and non-Native society. Although Canada has more than 600 indigenous nations as well as approximately half a million Aboriginals living off reserves, newspapers have continually portrayed them as a single group—“the Other”. Twelve chapters evaluate the reportage of pivotal events such as from the selling of Rupert’s Land, Treaty 3—the acquisition of vast amounts of Ontario, The Northwest Uprising/Riel Rebellion, the Klondike Gold Rush, through to the Oka Crisis and centennial celebrations in prairie provinces.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. Canadian Aboriginal Books for Schools. 2012-2013.

Other titles by Mark Cronlund Anderson

Other titles by Carmen L. Robertson