- By Levi Rickert
A journalist asked me recently: What’s the one thing that mainstream media often get wrong about your community?
My answer was brief: Unfortunately, the media still speaks about Native Americans in the past tense.
The truth is: We are still here.
That’s part of the reason Native News Online was founded in 2011. Because the media often portrayed Native people in a negative light: high levels of alcoholism, poverty or as all being rich because of Indian casinos.
In our newsroom, we work to present a balanced and accurate portrayal of Native people living in contemporary times. We write about Native people as we are now, and the issues that actually matter to us.
We report on — and occasionally celebrate — Native people who, in 2022, are reaching new heights in art, science, business, and public service.
They’re not just doing great things in Indian Country. They’re doing great things that affect the entire country — and well beyond our borders, as well.
Throughout the month of November, Native News Online will highlight some of the Native Americans who have made “immeasurable contributions to the country’s progress,” as President Joe Biden noted in his proclamation about National Native American Heritage Month yesterday. We’ll share stories of Native Americans who have helped shape culture in Indian Country, the United States, and around the world.
We are still here, and our presence is growing. In advance of recognizing Native American Heritage Month, the U.S. Census Bureau released the following facts about American Indians and Alaska Natives:
The nation’s American Indian and Alaska Native population alone in 2020. This population group identifies as AI/AN only and does not identify with any other race.
The projected population of American Indian and Alaska Native alone or in combination with other race groups on July 1, 2060, about 2.5% of the projected total U.S. population.
The number of distinct, federally recognized American Indian reservations in 2022, including federal reservations and off-reservation trust land.
The number of federally recognized Indian tribes in 2022.
The number of single-race American Indian and Alaska Native veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces in 2021.
We are still here. We have been since time immemorial. And we plan to be for generations to come.
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Together, we can educate, enlighten, and empower.November is celebrated as “Native American Heritage Month.” At Native News Online, we amplify Native voices and share our relatives’ unique perspectives every day of the year. We believe every month should celebrate Native American heritage.
If you appreciate our commitment to Native voices and our mission to tell stories that connect us to our roots and inspire understanding and respect, we hope you will consider making a donation this month to support our work. For those who commit to a recurring donation of $12 per month or more, or make a one-time donation of $150 or greater, we're excited to offer you a copy of our upcoming Indian Boarding School publication and access to our quarterly Founder’s Circle meetings and newsletter.