Recently an email made its way into my inbox. It was from a self-styled “Cree Nation Dude with Latest News and Dirt in the Cree Nation.”
It says to send him all the rumours and true stories of things you “don’t have the guts to do.” He’ll keep your names a secret because he has “the gutts.”
The first subject is, “Who is gay in the Cree Nation?” Cree Dude says he is “outing” them because this is what people want.
He also says gays shouldn’t be ashamed to be who they are. I agree with the last sentence. But this is simply some gay-positive cover for what is simply salacious gossip. His methodology leaves something to be desired. Perhaps his standards of what should be done with rumour and innuendo is a sign that Cree culture is changing.
It is a sad fact when the tradition that Crees were allowed to be themselves is gone. Yes, in the past when someone was two-spirited, everyone in the community knew it. It did not mean we had the right to “out” them or take them to task over whether they wanted to admit it or not. We gave them the respect and time they needed for themselves to decide what they wanted to do. The Nation respects and honours the traditional values of the Cree people that believes each person must live their own life and live with their own choices in that life.
Yes, within the pages of the Nation, we once ran a story about a Cree who was coming out of the closet and admitting he was gay. We felt that the time was right for this type of story. We did not solicit this story but it was one where the person came to us. We treated both the person and his story with respect.
The email is not a sign of respect. It comes across as a malicious piece of rumour-mongering at its worst, speckled with sly underhanded commentary and humour worthy of a boor. I hope this was not the intention of the author.
Normally, I wouldn’t respond to something like this email but the fact is that is seems to have a heavy circulation. It also contains lies and errors that could hurt people.
Since the “Cree Nation Gazette Dude” seems to style himself a journalist, I would recommend he does some research with a journalism code of ethics.
Let me give him a bit of assistance, as we are developing one here at the Nation. Here are a few points you might find interesting.
• Seek the truth and report it. Deliberate distortions of the truth or unverified rumour are never allowable.
• Ethical journalists treat sources, subjects and colleagues as human beings deserving of respect.
• Remember the pursuit of news is never a license for arrogance.
• Only an overriding public need can justify intrusion into anyone’s privacy.
• A journalist should expose unethical practices of journalists and news media.
Hope this helps in your future endeavours.