I was at the All-Native Basketball Tournament in Prince Rupert, B.C. when word had gotten out that Josiah Wilson had been banned from participating. He didn’t have at least “1/8th First Nations ancestry” and, according to organizers, that meant he wasn’t Indigenous.
A light bulb went off in my head. What defines Indigenous identity? I began asking myself over and over. Then I came across the CJF Aboriginal Journalism Fellowship. I had found my outlet to explore this question.
My fellowship experience with the CBC Indigenous (at the time Aboriginal) Unit in Winnipeg was an amazing learning experience that became a launching point for my career. Under the guidance of Cate Friesen, Tim Fontaine and others, I enhanced my reporting, storytelling and research abilities. I also learned the internal news and editing systems of the CBC. Then I was sent out into the field.
My project on Indigenous identity brought me to Calgary as well as the remote, fly-in Heiltsuk First Nations community of Bella Bella on B.C.’s central coast. I completed my fellowship with two bylines and an eight minute radio mini-documentary for CBC Radio One’s Unreserved.
I also appeared on all five of B.C.’s CBC morning radio shows with a six minute tape-talk segment.
My fellowship experience was my foot into the door of the CBC. I am now an ongoing freelance contributor for CBC Indigenous and a casual associate producer with the current affairs team at CBC Vancouver.
Accepting my fellowship award at The Canadian Journalism Foundation awards night in Toronto was also an amazing experience. There I networked with another award recipient, Discourse Media. I am now an ongoing freelance reporter for their “Toward Reconciliation” project as well.
I’d like to thank CBC Indigenous and as well as The Canadian Journalism Foundation for this once in a lifetime experience.
Trevor Jang was one of two recipients of the 2016 CJF Indigenous Journalism Fellowships. He accepted the award at the CJF Awards in Toronto. View the acceptance speeches by Jang and the other fellowship recipient, Stephanie Cram.
View the details of the 2017 CJF-CBC Indigenous Journalism Fellowships.