Katerina Cizek got her start in journalism with photography and design. In 1990, as an accredited student photojournalist, she went behind the barricades of the Kanehsatake Resistance, a 78-day standoff with the Quebec Police and Canadian Army over the extension of a municipal golf course on ancestral burial grounds. Together with a collective of Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, she co-produced Bridges and Barricades, a newsprint booklet going behind the headlines and detailing the history of Kanyen’kehà:ka (Mohawk) relationship to land. With a print run of 3,000, the booklet was distributed for free locally on reserve at Kanehsatake and Kahnawake, throughout Montreal, and made its way widely across the continent, unexpectedly throughout the prison library system. The publishing team received dozens of long hand-written letters from Indigneous people experiencing incarceration, detailing their personal experiences with encroachment and theft on their Nations’ lands.
Cizek also worked at Canadian Broadcasting Corporation morning radio, where she got (almost) used to an early morning rise of 4 a.m., first chasing developing stories, eventually to take the chair as a live studio director. At the time, she also co-founded The Nation, the James Bay Cree Newsmagazine, serving Eeyou Istchee. In Toronto, she worked as an investigative journalist at CBC-TV, before taking on a six-week pilot project that turned into a decade-long sojourn at the National Film Board of Canada.