Published December 5, 2018
WASHINGTON — Native American media emerged from the need for tribes to advocate for their sovereignty and lives during the 1820s and 1830s. Today, Native media remains committed to its advocacy roots, but with the majority of Native media being owned by tribal governments, Native American media often acts to promote tribal government messages to Native people rather than work to hold those governments accountable to the communities they serve. However, there is an emerging independent Native American media landscape that is trying to fill this gap and trying to ensure that the stories of Native Americans are told.
This report provides a snapshot of Native media in the 21st Century as told in interviews with journalists and media practitioners of independent reporting—meaning their operation is not owned, controlled or overseen by a tribe or a tribe-appointed communications board. The independent media voices here have expressed the importance of delivering independent-driven news so as to better inform their community, often doing the work with a limited budget; they also stress the need for more journalists who have appropriate media skills to report on current events.
Learn more about the Democracy Fund and the report here.