On Thursday, the Native American Journalists Association issued a statement demanding that CNN apologize for its use of "something else" during its live election coverage to describe voters who are "not white, Latinx, Black or Asian." 

Being Native, NAJA's statement said, "is a political classification — not merely a racial background. Native nations have had a government-to-government relationship with the United States since the country’s earliest days. To refer to Indigenous voters as 'something else' fails to recognize the sovereignty and political classification of Native voters." 

NAJA added that it is willing to meet with CNN's senior editorial staff to discuss how the major media network can improve its coverage of Indian Country.  

Read the full statement from NAJA here:

On CNN’s live election night coverage, an on-air graphic used the phrase “something else” to refer to voters who are not white, Latinx, Black or Asian. This type of language continues the efforts to erase Indigenous and other voters who don’t neatly fall into the race categories listed in the graphic.

Being Native American is a political classification — not merely a racial background. Native nations have had a government-to-government relationship with the United States since the country’s earliest days. To refer to Indigenous voters as “something else” fails to recognize the sovereignty and political classification of Native voters.

In 2006, CNN supported the development of young Indigenous reporters by donating $50,000 to NAJA’s scholarship program. This type of investment signifies that CNN understands the importance of supporting Indigenous journalists.

NAJA demands CNN issue a public apology and is willing to meet with senior editorial staff to discuss how to improve the network’s coverage of Indian Country. 

In the interim, NAJA encourages CNN’s senior newsroom leadership and staff to utilize its online reporting resource guides moving forward.

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Author: Native News Online Staff