by Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Condition. Comment »
The Native News Network is new website by American Indians reaching out to all nations.
The intention of the Native News Network is to provide accurate news about American Indians that is informative, timely, educational and entertaining. While the website will begin with four sections, it is the management’s intention to grow to ten or twelve sections during the first year of operation.
News by American Indians
The genesis for the Native News Network began after I attended a focus group at a local newspaper in Michigan a number of years ago. The focus group was assembled to ascertain how the newspaper could better serve American Indians through better coverage and Indian involvement. I was one of several American Indians present. The focus group was the last in series held with other groups, which included African-Americans, Latinos and Asians.
During the focus group, there was discussion on how the media in America covers American Indians and their concerns. Discussion by the American Indian participants centered on how the mainstream media does not accurately capture the true essence of who American Indians are in contemporary times. The Indian participants pointed out that the mainstream media seems content to cover Indian gaming, tribal disputes and powwows. Unfortunately, this is how the misconceptions about American Indians perpetuate, such as the classic one: American Indians don’t pay taxes on gaming revenues - or at all.
Sadly, even with the input of the American Indians assembled, no radical change emerged from the focus group.
One newspaper in one locale does not tell the whole story. In all states across the United States, the mainstream media fails to provide proper coverage of American Indians and our concerns. The focus group made me and others decide, as American Indians, we must tell our stories.
“For too many years, we have let other people talk about who we are, what we need and what we want. That’s why we are still a mystery. Now is the time for us to tell our story...without us telling, it will never be told properly,”
said Tribal Chairman Matt Wesaw this past November at Grand Valley State University, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He served on a panel on how American Indians are depicted by the media. Wesaw was one of the participants with me at the focus group a few years ago.
Levi Rickert at Bimaadiziwin
High School Protest
It is the intention of the Native News Network to fill the gap provided by the lack of coverage by the mainstream media to our concerns. For this reason the Native News Network is being launched.
With the resurgence in recent decades of American Indian culture, it is the right time in our history to truly embrace our history, traditions and enjoy being American Indians. No one person or group should ever make American Indians feel inferior for simply being who we are. It is time to celebrate being American Indians. The Native News Network intends to publish articles that tell our stories, our concerns and celebrate our successes.
With that in mind, the Native News Network is seeking American Indians writers who wish to contribute to the success of this endeavor to contact us. American Indian writers can contribute commentary to be considered for op-ed columns.
American Indians deserve accurate coverage, portraying who we are and what is happening in Indian Country. It is the intention of the Native News Network to become the premier American Indian website.
Levi Rickert is a tribal member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation and serves as editor-in-chief of the Native News Network.
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