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|Thursday, 17 July, 2014|
#NAJATalks panelists, from left, Duncan McCue, Patty Talahongva, Karen Lincoln Michel and Mark Trahant. (Roselynn Wahtomy photos)
By ROSELYNN WAHTOMY
SANTA CLARA, California – The National Native Media Conference was July 10-13 in Santa Clara, California. The theme of this year’s event was Going Tra-Digital, which emphasized the idea of the power in telling traditional and contemporary Native stories on the newest digital platforms.
Three members of the Sho-Ban News staff attended the conference, Editor Lori Edmo-Suppah, Assistant Editor Roselynn Wahtomy and Web/Graphics Specialist Sara Broncho.
This year the staff brought home one Native Media Award from Division 1 in the category of Best Digital Publication. It was the staff’s only submission.
Another Shoshone-Bannock tribal member journalist, Mark Trahant was also present and was a speaker in the #NAJATalks session on Friday. Others on the panel were Karen Lincoln Michel, Patty Talahongva and Duncan McCue.
They explored how Natives are represented in the media, what does it take for major Native issues to get the attention they deserve, how do they ensure stronger coverage among Native and non-Native journalists, and how to make sure Natives are counted.
Talahongva talked about misconceptions of Indians because American Indian history is not taught in any depth in public schools. Therefore, people do not understand the federal-to-federal relationship American Indian Tribes have with the U.S. government. Her opinion was whole classes graduate of ignorant journalists, politicians and voters because they don’t understand the relationship between the Tribes and the federal government.
Tribes were specifically mentioned in the U.S constitution, the only people recognized in it.
Canadian TV reporter McCue spoke about Natives under represented in the mainstream media because of most non-Natives intimidation in covering them.
“We need more aboriginal reporters,” he said.
However, because most reporters are non-aboriginal he thought it was essential to offer some sort of cultural competency training to those reporters. Every reporter should get a crash course in the Indian Act, residential school and every reporter should understand the role of elders in the community, or the notion of Indian time.
Trahant introduced and explained how the Proud To Be ad campaign came to be.
“A campaign for changing that goes viral is the essence of media today. Really it’s the oldest form of storytelling though. It’s a campfire exchange only digital. A story we hear and then pass along. Social media is our history. So once again we need to be as journalists thoughtful about how to tell stories in a viral form and be thoughtful about what’s going viral and how to make it so. The stories we have to tell cannot be told unless they are shared, reposted, repasted, resent and sent around by all.”
Lincoln Michel said she can no longer accept that it is okay for Native Americans to be left out of the public dialogue and would like to see that change.
“In this country there are 5.2 million Native Americans including those who’ve identified as being more than one race. We matter. We can no longer rely on mainstream society to do the right thing and recognize us. We as Native people and Native journalists collectively need to seize this moment in this digital age and publish our own stories. Write our own histories. Cover the world through our eyes,” she said.
There were a variety of sessions focused on audio, visual and writing. A special highlight of the event included a screening of Planes: Fire & Rescue and appearance by Native actor Wes Studi. A small number of journalists were invited to interview him in a one on one session on Saturday and Sho-Ban News Sara Broncho took the opportunity to do so.
The conference wrapped up with a NAJA Membership Breakfast and annual meeting n Sunday.