facebook app symbol  twitter  linkedin  instagram 1

Through a name-change vote held this past week at its annual conference in Winnipeg, Canada, the National American Journalists Association (NAJA) is now the Indigenous Journalists Association (IJA). The vote was 89 to 55 -- or 62 percent of the vote.

This transition was marked by the introduction of the new name and logo at the NAJA Membership Luncheon.

IJA serves more than 850 members, including media professionals working in Indigenous, freelance, independent and mainstream news outlets, as well as academia and students covering Indigenous peoples and communities.

Graham Lee Brewer (Cherokee Nation), president of IJA, expressed his enthusiasm for the name change, emphasizing the empowering movement of Indigenous journalists worldwide who are taking their rightful place as storytellers of their own narratives. 

Enjoying Native News Coverage?
NNO Logo Make A Donation Here

“It's so inspiring to see Indigenous journalists around the world asserting themselves in newsrooms and taking their place as the rightful storytellers of their own narratives. It's long overdue, and we're so proud and excited to be a part of that movement,”Brewer said. “Connecting with our brothers and sisters across the globe, from Canada to New Zealand, has made it clear that as Indigenous peoples the struggles we face in this industry are universal.”

The organization was established forty years ago in 1983 when a gathering of Native American journalists led to the formation of the Native American Press Association. In 1990, the association underwent a name change to NAJA, a move aimed at extending support for Native voices across all media platforms and ensuring accurate representation of Native communities through contextual reporting.

Despite the challenges posed by colonial influences on history and narratives, Brewer highlighted the commitment of Indigenous journalists to represent their communities authentically. He pointed out the contemporary opportunity to connect and establish meaningful relationships among Indigenous journalists globally, fostering knowledge-sharing and mutual support.

IJA, in accordance with its principle of recognizing Indigenous peoples as unique groups with distinct traditions and cultures, endeavors to unite its members through journalism programs that emphasize diversity and address threats to free press, speech, and expression. The organization is dedicated to boosting the presence of Indigenous journalists in mainstream media and encourages both Indigenous and mainstream media to uphold the highest standards of professionalism, ethics, and responsibility.

As part of the new developments, the board of directors saw the election of Sunnie Clahchischiligi (Diné) and Joseph Lee (Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head), while Jourdan Bennett-Begaye (Diné) was reelected. Several existing directors, including Angel Ellis (Muscogee Creek Nation), Savannah Maher (Mashpee Wampanoag), Angel Moore (Peguis First Nation), Shondiin Silversmith (Diné), Jodi Rave Spotted Bear (Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation / Lakota), and Christine Trudeau (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation), will continue to serve for their respective terms.

The Executive Director of IJA, Rebecca Landsberry-Baker, mentioned that the organization has been preparing for this rebranding for a year, which includes the development of a new website. She expressed excitement about the expansion of support for members and the communities they serve over the next chapter of the newly named Indigenous Journalists Association's journey.

More Stories Like This

Biden Nominates Salish & Kootenai Tribal Attorney Danna Jackson for Federal Bench
A Conversation With Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan: What We Can Celebrate Around the State
Return to the Heart Foundation Gives 44 Micro-Grants to Native Women Leaders
Indigenous Journalists Association President Addresses Members of the UNPFII
Inter-Tribal Council Passes Resolution Urging FCC to Establish Specific Event Code for Missing and Endangered Persons

Native Perspective.  Native Voices.  Native News. 

We launched Native News Online because the mainstream media often overlooks news that is important is Native people. We believe that everyone in Indian Country deserves equal access to news and commentary pertaining to them, their relatives and their communities. That's why the story you’ve just finished was free — and we want to keep it that way, for all readers.  We hope you'll consider making a donation to support our efforts so that we can continue publishing more stories that make a difference to Native people, whether they live on or off the reservation. Your donation will help us keep producing quality journalism and elevating Indigenous voices. Any contribution of any amount — big or small — gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous-centered journalism. Thank you.

About The Author
Native News Online Staff
Author: Native News Online StaffEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Native News Online is one of the most-read publications covering Indian Country and the news that matters to American Indians, Alaska Natives and other Indigenous people. Reach out to us at [email protected].