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The news media acts as an important conduit for shaping societal views of the socio-politics of climate change. While climate change will indeed affect everyone, it will not affect everyone equally. Indigenous peoples are among the populations whose well-being is threatened the most by climate change. International scholarship finds it is not uncommon for Indigenous cultures, communities, and perspectives to be underrepresented and misrepresented in Western climate change media. Research also indicates that fair Indigenous representation occurs when Indigenous peoples are the authors of news articles themselves. We performed a comparative content analysis of media coverage of climate change, environmental issues, and Indigenous peoples during 2020 and 2021 using novel Indigenous and Western deductive coding frameworks we created informed by Tribal Critical Race Theory and other literature and theory in these respective areas. To exemplify the utility of these coding frameworks,we evaluated the differences in discussions of climate change and environmental issues in news articles from two Indigenous news publications, Indian Country Today and Navajo Times, and two Western news publications, The New York Times and The Salt Lake Tribune. Our findings indicate that Indigenous news outlets commonly engage Western environmental worldviews, but primarily in the context of problematizing Western environmental practices, and by necessity of Western worldviews' hegemony in the United States. Conversely, Western publications engage Indigenous environmental worldviews, when they do, to highlight the urgency of environmental problems and elucidate the Indigenous perspective of a problem, but negligibly in the context of positioning solutions toenvironmental problems. Creating and utilizing theory-informed Indigenous media frames challenges the recurrent Western gaze on Indigenous peoples within academia. This content analysis contributes to a better understanding of Indigenous and Western worldviews and the media, settler colonialism, and climate change from Indigenous and Western perspectives. Overall, this research responds to a critical call for sociologists to engage more deeply with settler colonialism, Indigenous issues, and intersectional environmental justice.

Publication Date



Logan, UT


climate change, coverage, critical race theory, Indigenous media


Social and Behavioral Sciences

Reversing the Gaze: Using Indigenous and Western Media Frames to Compare Coverage of Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples in the News Media