Maclean’s writer Kyle Edwards has won the JHR/CAJ Emerging Indigenous Journalist Award recognizing one of the most promising and influential new voices in the Canadian media.
Edwards, who is Anishinaabe from the Lake Manitoba First Nation, received the award in Winnipeg on Saturday at the Canadian Association of Journalists’ (CAJ) annual conference. The honour, which is sponsored jointly by the CAJ and Journalists for Human Rights, was based on his portfolio of work for the year—from his reporting on the impossible workload of Canada’s biggest Indigenous police force to his analysis following the Gerald Stanley verdict.
One of Edwards’s most compelling pieces looked into the disproportionate number of First Nations children in the foster care system—and the families ready to fight back.
Edwards writes in the piece: “Their demands, and the sheer weight of the statistics, have thrust government into arguably its greatest challenge since it came to grips with the residential school disaster. How do authorities change the appalling numbers while addressing immediate risks—from neglect to malnutrition to abuse—to Indigenous children? How do they protect youngsters while ending a practice redolent of the devastating policies that many believe led to the conditions they were born into in the first place?”
The story, which was also nominated in the CAJ’s Best Text Feature category, helped fuel a national discussion and elicited an immediate response from the Indigenous services minister at the time, Jane Philpott, who said, citing the piece, “this is a top priority.”