The Kahnawake weekly newspaper The Eastern Door is going up against heavy hitters Radio-Canada, the CBC, the Calgary Herald and the Vancouver Sun for one of the most prestigious prizes in journalism, the network CTV reported.
Serving the Mohawk community, the newspaper has been nominated for the Michener Prize for Public Service Journalism for its coverage of Mohawk attempts to order non-Natives off the reserve.
“The sustained reporting of the decision of the Mohawk Council of Kahnawke to send eviction letters to non-Natives living on the reserve put names and faces to the evictions and sparked a public discussion in this close-knit community into what The Eastern Door called a “human rights story,” Michener’s site said. “The courageous involvement of the community paper has contributed to the reversal of a decision of the Mohawk Council to evict non-Native residents living on the reserve.”
Several people received eviction notices last year, CTV said, and The Eastern Door set out to find out who they were.
“The Mohawk Council was trying to sell it like, ‘Well, all the people we’re targeting don’t have ties [to the community].’ So it was up to us uncover that list and find out who they were targeting,” said Steve Bonspiel, who publishes the paper with his wife, to CTV. “One person was with somebody for 10 years. The other person had a kid and was taking care of a community member who was a paraplegic. Other people had been in a relationship and living here for 15 years.”
The Michener Awards will be announced on June 14.
The Eastern Door won several awards in 2010 from the Native American Journalists Association. It came in first place in the daily/weekly class for best editorial category for Bonspiel’s editorial “McIvor Decision if a Big One,” took third place for best environment story, second place for best sports story and second place in general excellence.