NEWS

CBC Aboriginal's top newsmakers of 2014: Editors' picks

12/31/2014 04:19 EST | Updated 03/02/2015 05:59 EST
While 2014 saw hundreds of stories, CBC editors in the Aboriginal unit narrowed down the list to five topics that made headlines repeatedly throughout the year. 

Some were shocking, others were heartbreaking and all influenced the news landscape across Canada.

Here are five top news stories of 2014, as chosen by editors at CBC's Aboriginal Unit:

Missing and murdered indigenous women

The issue of violence against indigenous women saw unprecedented attention this year after several stories of severe violence made national headlines.

The horrific attacks on Marlene Bird and Rinelle Harper and the tragic deaths of Tina Fontaineand Loretta Saunders intensified calls for a national inquiry. Leaders of opposition parties, premiers and aboriginal leaders were among those who voiced their support but in December, Prime Minister Harper told CBC that an inquiry ‘is not high on our radar…"

- Duncan McCue Tsilhqot'in land ruling was a game changer for B.C.
 

Tsilhqot'in Supreme Court ruling

​In June,the Supreme court of Canada made a historic ruling in favour of the Tsilhqot’in peoples. The court ruled the Tsilhqot’in had aboriginal title to a large swath of their traditional territory, over 1,700 square kilometres, not just old village sites as the provincial and federal governments had argued.

It was the first time in Canada aboriginal title had been confirmed, outside of an Indian reserve.

That has big ramifications for B.C., a province almost blanketed by unresolved land claims. The decision also sets a precedent for future claims of aboriginal title throughout the country, particularly in Quebec and the East Coast, where land cession treaties don't exist.

First Nation families refusal of chemo 

​Two young First Nations girls made national headlines this year, when their families halted chemotherapy to treat their leukemias in favour of indigenous and alternative medicine. In both cases, after brief investigations, the Brant children's aid society refused to intervene although medical doctors cautioned they would bit survive without chemotherapy treatment . The second case went to court and resulted in an unprecedented ruling that was viewed as a victory for some, and a travesty by others.

In both cases, the families opted for costly therapies like juicing, vitamin C intravenous treatments and cold laser therapy provided by Brian Clement, of Florida’s Hippocrates Health Institute. A CBC investigation revealed that Clement is not a medical doctor and HHI is currently being sued by former staff who allege it is operating "a scam under Florida law" and practising medicine without a licence.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s work far from over

​Thousands gathered in Edmonton in March for the final national Truth and Reconciliation event. 

In the last four years, the commission has held events in Winnipeg , Vancouver, Halifax, Saskatoon, Inuvik and Montreal.

But the work of the TRC is far from done. Thousands of survivors are still waiting for their Independent Assessment Process (IAP) claims to be processed.  This year survivors of St. Anne's Indian Residential School in Fort Albany, Ontario won the fight to have the federal government hand over key documents that would support the survivors cases. And TRC lost the fight to have the documents of survivors accounts kept for historical record. 

AFN National Chief resigns

​AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo shocked everyone when he announced his resignation after growing backlash around the bill to improve First Nations education.  

The First Nations control of First Nations Education Act (FNC-FNEA) would have seen nearly 2 billion dollars put toward improving education on reserves but as soon as the bill was announced it was widely panned by First Nations people and leaders who said the bill which lacked adequate consultation and left control in the hands of the government.

MORE:cbcNews