Tristan Ahtone: Indigenous Journalism and Cooperative Media
Reporter Tristan Ahtone will present approaches to Indigenous journalism and cooperative reporting and newsroom organizing as tools to restructure the way journalists operate and subvert long-standing values that rely, and thrive, on racism, colonialism, capitalism, and nationalism.
Part of the Reckoning & Reconciliation on the Great Plains summit.
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[00:00:05.450]Welcome everybody to our second and last day of our
[00:00:09.527]"Reckoning and Reconciliation on the Great Plain Summit."
[00:00:13.440]My name is Margaret Jacobs.
[00:00:14.940]I'm the Director of the Center for Great Plains Studies.
[00:00:18.500]We hope you were able to catch the outstanding keynote
[00:00:21.440]presentations by Walter Echo-Hawk and Hannibal Johnson
[00:00:25.750]during the last two days,
[00:00:27.650]as well as the many stimulating sessions
[00:00:29.610]that were held yesterday.
[00:00:31.520]All presentations and panels have been recorded
[00:00:34.320]and will soon be available
[00:00:35.299]on the Center for Great Plains Studies website.
[00:00:39.470]Before we begin this morning,
[00:00:40.900]I wanna thank our many sponsors and partners
[00:00:43.330]for supporting the summit
[00:00:45.050]and the year long series of which it's a part.
[00:00:47.896]We are very grateful to the Cooper Foundation,
[00:00:52.490]the Office of the President of the University of Nebraska
[00:00:55.330]and its Diversity Officers Collaborative,
[00:00:58.000]the University of Nebraska at Carney,
[00:00:59.650]and the many entities
[00:01:00.643]at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln
[00:01:02.900]that you see on your screen.
[00:01:06.140]At the Center, I'd also like to thank all
[00:01:08.680]of our hardworking staff,
[00:01:10.590]particularly Katie Nieland and Dylan Wall and Sarah Giles,
[00:01:15.000]Melissa Amateis, Ashley Wilkinson, and Casey Seger.
[00:01:22.150]I'd like to begin today's event by acknowledging
[00:01:26.060]that the University of Nebraska
[00:01:27.380]is a land grant institution with campuses and programs
[00:01:31.099]on the past, present, and future homelands
[00:01:34.570]of the Pawnee, Ponca, Oto-Missouria, Omaha, Dakota,
[00:01:40.270]Lakota, Kaw, Cheyenne, and Arapaho peoples,
[00:01:45.150]as well as those of the relocated Ho Chunk,
[00:01:48.060]Sac and Fox and Iowa peoples.
[00:01:51.320]The land we currently call Nebraska has always been
[00:01:54.370]and will continue to be an Indigenous homeland.
[00:01:58.940]Please take a moment to consider the legacies
[00:02:01.760]of more than 150 years of displacement, violence,
[00:02:06.230]settlement, and survival that bring us here today.
[00:02:13.980]This acknowledgement and the centering of Indigenous peoples
[00:02:16.810]is a start as we move forward together.
[00:02:21.650]Now to this morning's opening event.
[00:02:24.420]If you have questions for our speaker,
[00:02:26.350]please post them in the chat or in the Q&A.
[00:02:31.070]We're delighted to have Tristan Ahtone with us today.
[00:02:35.280]He's a member or a citizen of the Kiowa Tribe,
[00:02:38.350]and is Editor at Large at "Grist."
[00:02:41.540]He previously served as Editor in Chief
[00:02:43.599]at the "Texas Observer"
[00:02:45.890]and Indigenous Affairs Editor at "High Country News."
[00:02:49.560]He's reported for Al Jazeera America,
[00:02:51.907]PBS News Hour, National Native News, NPR,
[00:02:56.130]and National Geographic.
[00:02:58.400]Ahtone's stories have won multiple honors,
[00:03:00.850]including investigative awards from the Gannet Foundation
[00:03:03.899]and Public Radio News Directors Incorporated.
[00:03:07.550]He additionally led the "High Country News" team
[00:03:09.903]that received a George Polk Award,
[00:03:12.610]an IRE Award, a Sigma Award,
[00:03:14.500]a Society of News Design Award,
[00:03:16.430]and a National Magazine Award nomination.
[00:03:20.020]Many of you may know the very influential article
[00:03:23.160]he co-authored called "Land-Grab Universities,"
[00:03:27.420]which appeared in "High Country News."
[00:03:31.220]Tristan Ahtone is a past president
[00:03:33.430]of the Native American Journalist Association
[00:03:36.090]and a 2017 Nieman Fellow.
[00:03:38.930]He's all also a Director of the Muckrock Foundation,
[00:03:42.720]a nonprofit collaborative news site
[00:03:45.080]that brings together journalists, researchers, activists,
[00:03:47.810]and regular citizens to request, analyze,
[00:03:50.750]and share government documents,
[00:03:52.143]making politics more transparent
[00:03:54.563]and democracies more informed.
[00:03:57.760]Welcome very much, Tristan.
[00:03:59.370]We're so glad to have you today.
[00:04:02.980]Thanks for that introduction, Margaret,
[00:04:04.850]and thanks to all the organizers
[00:04:07.823]for the invitation to be here.
[00:04:10.220]It's really a pleasure.
[00:04:13.169]I'm gonna share my screen here.
[00:04:18.810]So since the theme of this symposium
[00:04:22.479]is reckoning and reconciliation,
[00:04:25.080]I wanted to talk about Indigenous journalism
[00:04:29.210]and how the practice is different
[00:04:31.390]than Western frameworks.
[00:04:33.850]And how Indigenous reporters are really challenging
[00:04:36.405]dominant narratives found in your news digests.
[00:04:39.970]And what I'm hoping to get across during this talk
[00:04:43.410]is that the practice and approach to the craft
[00:04:46.640]of Indigenous journalism
[00:04:48.300]isn't all that different than mainstream reporters
[00:04:51.140]in terms of being fact-based and rigorous,
[00:04:53.699]but we will depart from non-Indigenous principles
[00:04:57.420]by placing the act of journalism
[00:05:00.470]in a revolutionary context that serves communities
[00:05:04.544]while being often in direct conflict
[00:05:07.470]with the foundations and goals
[00:05:08.950]of non-Indigenous, mainstream newsrooms.
[00:05:11.700]An act that I hope promotes ideas of reckoning
[00:05:14.977]and provides pathways to reconciliation.
[00:05:19.670]But first a little bit about me.
[00:05:24.530]I started my career as a journalist when I was a student
[00:05:29.040]at the Institute of American Indian Arts.
[00:05:31.831]I originally went to college to study painting
[00:05:35.600]because ever since I was a child
[00:05:37.120]my aspiration was to become an artist.
[00:05:39.760]But in between my drawing, painting,
[00:05:42.270]and art history classes,
[00:05:43.890]I was required to take an elective writing course.
[00:05:46.980]And at the time, IAIA offered journalism classes.
[00:05:51.277]So I went for it.
[00:05:53.540]You know, growing up, my parents subscribed to "Newsweek"
[00:05:56.970]and "The Christian Science Monitor."
[00:06:00.220]And when they were delivered,
[00:06:01.428]I really enjoyed reading them.
[00:06:04.010]So I figured why not?
[00:06:04.843]I'll give it a try.
[00:06:08.378]So during my, you know, journalism 1, for instance,
[00:06:11.330]I did a few small pieces for the class,
[00:06:13.570]like a profile on an artist who was designing skateboards,
[00:06:17.910]a story about an event on campus.
[00:06:20.010]You know, kind of typical student journalism work.
[00:06:23.920]But there was a moment that really changed the class for me
[00:06:28.450]and made me realize kind of just what journalism could do.
[00:06:33.000]And that story was about the school cafeteria.
[00:06:36.890]So students complained regularly about the food.
[00:06:41.110]And while I didn't think that complaining
[00:06:43.610]about cafeteria food was like uncommon,
[00:06:46.610]there was something peculiar about it.
[00:06:49.410]And everybody kept saying like the food tasted old
[00:06:53.150]and I thought it was an oddly specific complaint.
[00:06:57.440]So I decided to check it out.
[00:07:00.230]And mind you, I didn't need to go like all "Spotlight"
[00:07:03.239]on an investigation here.
[00:07:05.780]I just walked down to the cafeteria
[00:07:07.930]and asked one of the chefs what might be going on.
[00:07:13.400]And it's important to remember that this was 2003.
[00:07:16.334]So September 11th was still fairly fresh
[00:07:19.760]at a lot of institutions,
[00:07:21.483]including the Institute of American Indian Arts.
[00:07:25.150]And what I learned was that in the wake of 9/11,
[00:07:29.711]IAIA had implemented a preparedness plan
[00:07:34.142]to deal with potential terrorist attacks
[00:07:37.381]or being cut off from the rest of New Mexico
[00:07:40.786]if there was like a shelter in place situation.
[00:07:44.110]So in the cafeteria IA had decided to stockpile food
[00:07:49.300]in the event of like a catastrophe
[00:07:51.470]so that on campus students wouldn't go hungry
[00:07:53.790]if they had to shelter in place.
[00:07:57.219]And what I figured out was that
[00:07:59.250]when the food was about to go bad,
[00:08:01.598]they would feed it to the students
[00:08:03.378]so a fresh round of food could be brought in
[00:08:06.280]and put on the shelf.
[00:08:08.190]You know, so basically foods like beans or rice
[00:08:10.310]that were about to kind of hit their expiration dates,
[00:08:12.696]they'd be cooked and replaced.
[00:08:15.499]So I thought that was pretty interesting.
[00:08:17.125]So I conducted my interviews and wrote up the story.
[00:08:20.380]And within days,
[00:08:22.000]IAIA announced that it would end the program
[00:08:25.050]and stop stockpiling food.
[00:08:27.400]And for me, that was sort of like an a-ha moment
[00:08:31.443]when I realized sort of what was possible
[00:08:36.470]and really sort of directed me
[00:08:37.810]into really wanting to pursue a journalism
[00:08:41.620]as a career and a focus.
[00:08:44.430]Of course, the other a-ha moment was realizing
[00:08:48.460]that I was like a terrible painter.
[00:08:49.980]So I just promptly transferred
[00:08:52.810]to the creative writing program
[00:08:55.290]and focused the rest of my college time
[00:08:58.006]in writing and reporting.
[00:09:01.743]So I'm a journalist, but even though I do,
[00:09:07.100]I go about my work in a lot of the same ways
[00:09:09.730]that other reporters do,
[00:09:12.290]I do tend to do things a bit differently because I am Kiowa
[00:09:16.660]and our ways of storytelling and preserving history
[00:09:19.840]and seeing the world really affect the way that I work.
[00:09:25.170]My father is a doctor.
[00:09:26.680]My mother is a nurse.
[00:09:28.150]My grandfather and great-grandfather were school teachers,
[00:09:31.840]while previous generations were medicine people,
[00:09:34.930]soldiers, farmers, and in one case, a prisoner of war
[00:09:39.330]jailed for fighting US troops in the Red River War.
[00:09:43.690]You know, I come from a line of teachers and healers,
[00:09:48.040]people who devoted themselves to serve in their communities.
[00:09:52.190]And when I dedicated myself to journalism,
[00:09:55.960]I knew that my work would really have to live up
[00:09:58.080]to those same standards and principles.
[00:10:02.114]In my early years reporting,
[00:10:06.330]I thought that through a newspaper or radio,
[00:10:09.233]I could serve my community,
[00:10:12.310]but I learned the hard way
[00:10:13.495]how wrong I was when trying
[00:10:17.290]to navigate the journalism industry.
[00:10:23.380]So except for like a handful of news outlets,
[00:10:28.640]when I began working, I started seeing a pattern.
[00:10:32.439]You know, editors were interested in Indigenous stories,
[00:10:36.430]but almost singularly gravitated toward reporting
[00:10:40.980]that like focused on the plight of the Indian.
[00:10:44.870]So like a dying language story
[00:10:46.600]like sells every single time.
[00:10:49.080]Legislation to slash the Indian healthcare service budget,
[00:10:52.292]it's usually a pass, or at least in the past it was.
[00:10:57.335]Over the years, I've really stopped counting
[00:10:59.730]the number of times that I've been approached
[00:11:02.390]to report on domestic violence
[00:11:04.210]or addiction in Indian country.
[00:11:06.320]And these days, I refuse to even answer emails
[00:11:09.070]from editors in search of stories
[00:11:10.560]about poverty in Indigenous communities.
[00:11:14.610]Although more often than not, nowadays I'm approached
[00:11:17.444]about traditional ecological knowledge
[00:11:20.426]and requests to write
[00:11:22.390]about the relationships Indigenous people have
[00:11:24.810]to land, plants, and animals,
[00:11:28.360]which I think is marking a change in stereotypes
[00:11:31.240]that we're seeing in media.
[00:11:34.410]But, you know, the question is like,
[00:11:35.840]what exactly is going on with journalism?
[00:11:39.130]Like why the reporting focus on only the negative stories
[00:11:43.960]in Indian country?
[00:11:45.990]And I think much of it has to do
[00:11:47.680]with journalism's aims and goals.
[00:11:50.990]So in the United States,
[00:11:54.200]the First Amendment protects journalists.
[00:11:57.550]Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech
[00:12:01.169]or of the press.
[00:12:04.010]The profession is so embedded in American culture and policy
[00:12:10.140]that it thinks of itself
[00:12:11.510]as an unofficial branch of government.
[00:12:13.660]You know, this idea of the fourth estate,
[00:12:16.030]independent of the executive office,
[00:12:18.180]judiciary, and Congress,
[00:12:19.857]but engaged in the business of checks and balances on power.
[00:12:25.800]And American journalism is just
[00:12:28.060]inextricably tied to the state.
[00:12:31.410]So when we think of the foundational relationship
[00:12:33.970]US reporters have two ideas of democracy,
[00:12:37.240]you know, we have to remember that it comes
[00:12:39.070]from the country's founding documents.
[00:12:41.000]And those are documents that explicitly degrade a race
[00:12:44.290]and exclude Indigenous people and people of color.
[00:12:48.926]More recent examples of how journalism
[00:12:51.200]is tied to state interests
[00:12:52.660]have been outlets endorsing war in the Middle East,
[00:12:56.219]or in the last month, regurgitating propaganda,
[00:13:00.100]specifically around oil and gas production
[00:13:03.330]related to conflict in Ukraine.
[00:13:07.345]So the idea that the journalism industry promotes
[00:13:11.140]is that reporters work for American democracy.
[00:13:15.780]And that notion, I think, is antithetical
[00:13:19.320]to Indigenous self-determination or survival
[00:13:22.858]as American democracy has been built entirely
[00:13:26.500]on genocide and slave labor.
[00:13:29.940]As well, we really have to think critically
[00:13:32.060]about what journalists are exactly supporting.
[00:13:36.520]You know, "The New York Times,"
[00:13:37.490]for instance, endorsing the Iraq War.
[00:13:40.490]It isn't just a moral failure.
[00:13:43.740]It's a public act of support for the same imperial systems
[00:13:47.510]that expropriated land from Indigenous people.
[00:13:50.800]You know, it is the fourth estate at work,
[00:13:53.490]which is engaged in the work of democracy
[00:13:56.460]and supporting the export of democracy around the world.
[00:14:00.530]And that's the democracy, you know,
[00:14:02.775]Latin America or the Middle East tend to learn
[00:14:05.430]at the barrel of a gun or in the way of a drone strike.
[00:14:09.220]And the export of American-style democracy
[00:14:11.720]really finds its roots in early colonial practices.
[00:14:16.160]19th century settlers, for instance,
[00:14:19.750]claimed one of their goals was to export civilization.
[00:14:23.530]And while this export is tied to the needs
[00:14:26.260]of extractive colonialism and capitalism,
[00:14:28.817]it's difficult to say that the claim
[00:14:31.010]doesn't carry some sincerity.
[00:14:33.320]And it's not entirely different
[00:14:35.220]when we think of the idea of spreading democracy,
[00:14:39.400]or the idea that America is a missionary nation.
[00:14:45.130]You know, democracy for one can really only be achieved
[00:14:50.060]by the will of a population.
[00:14:52.350]In other words, the group or state in question
[00:14:55.130]has to agree internally and with consensus
[00:14:58.225]that it will act in a democratic way
[00:15:00.670]through democratic means.
[00:15:03.610]So the violent export of democracy to the rest of the world,
[00:15:08.618]you know, it shares a lot in common
[00:15:11.857]with the idea of spreading civilization.
[00:15:14.698]I would argue it's an evolution in colonialism.
[00:15:19.806]So again, it's that question,
[00:15:22.280]what exactly is going on with journalism?
[00:15:26.230]And one way in is to keep that idea of America
[00:15:31.040]as a sort of civilizing, democratizing force
[00:15:34.540]in the back of your head
[00:15:35.767]and look closely at coverage of Indigenous communities.
[00:15:42.210]You know, Western journalism is colonial and extractive
[00:15:47.330]at its roots.
[00:15:48.540]You know, stories are gathered from Indigenous communities
[00:15:51.912]by non-Indigenous reporters
[00:15:54.310]and then processed for the benefit
[00:15:56.324]of non-Indigenous audiences.
[00:15:59.630]And once processed, those stories reveal
[00:16:02.610]really only a few concepts:
[00:16:05.310]That indigenous people are backwards,
[00:16:07.045]unable to adjust to society,
[00:16:09.650]and generally heading toward extinction.
[00:16:13.560]And be it through the lens of poverty,
[00:16:15.883]violence, addiction, or even language loss,
[00:16:19.232]the message is really always the same.
[00:16:22.898]And the communities that have allowed those reporters
[00:16:25.952]and those news outlets in,
[00:16:28.284]they rarely see any benefit to the stories.
[00:16:32.460]You know, no new laws are passed,
[00:16:34.200]no angel investors come swooping in.
[00:16:37.440]Almost everyone who's on this call right now
[00:16:41.420]has probably seen images or stories
[00:16:43.258]from the Pine Ridge Reservation,
[00:16:45.707]but I'm guessing nobody's ever seen any
[00:16:48.540]sort of like change happen because of those stories.
[00:16:54.380]Journalism, and specifically Western journalism,
[00:16:57.205]is an extractive industry.
[00:16:59.840]It harvests our stories and exploits our pain for profit.
[00:17:05.410]You know, when I said earlier
[00:17:07.685]that I had to sort of learn that the hard way,
[00:17:10.765]you know, it came in the form of editors
[00:17:14.250]who wanted to see sort of real Indians
[00:17:17.382]in the stories that I pitched,
[00:17:19.290]not like the Indigenous lawyers that I wanted a profile.
[00:17:24.020]They wanted to know how a story
[00:17:25.909]about the Tohono O'odham Nation in Arizona
[00:17:29.670]was going to be different than a story
[00:17:31.550]they ran earlier in the year
[00:17:33.090]about the Yakama Tribe in Washington state.
[00:17:39.530]To newsrooms, we're a monolith, and that's not going away.
[00:17:44.070]You know, again, the terminology
[00:17:45.498]and stereotypes are changing.
[00:17:47.480]Again, that like traditional ecological knowledge,
[00:17:50.658]it is literally all the rage right now
[00:17:53.320]especially in environmental journalism spaces.
[00:17:56.340]And of course, when approached the wrong way,
[00:17:59.200]as I would argue it usually is,
[00:18:01.540]is just as harmful and dangerous.
[00:18:09.330]Earlier, I said that Kiowa ways of storytelling
[00:18:12.512]and preserving history and seeing the world
[00:18:15.965]affect the way that I work.
[00:18:18.730]So I'd like to show you some forms of Kiowa journalism.
[00:18:24.060]In Indigenous communities,
[00:18:25.600]news has always been integral.
[00:18:28.618]Being delivered in the form of a song or a story,
[00:18:32.160]or in a carving or a drawing.
[00:18:35.420]What we consider contemporary Indigenous journalism today
[00:18:39.842]has really emerged from thousands of years
[00:18:42.530]of conversation in and among communities,
[00:18:45.645]shared between bands and captured in multiple forms.
[00:18:51.690]So this here is a Kiowa calendar.
[00:18:55.073]These are our stories written by us and for us
[00:18:59.243]using the technology available at the time.
[00:19:02.850]So each image in shape here is an event that took place.
[00:19:07.924]It essentially a mnemonic device
[00:19:10.498]that provides a window, not just to one story,
[00:19:13.538]but many as multiple memories are tied
[00:19:18.240]to the same time period that's represented.
[00:19:21.930]And because the information is carried by multiple people,
[00:19:25.405]when gathered, community members each have a voice
[00:19:28.700]and a point of view to add context and texture
[00:19:32.170]to the events of that year,
[00:19:33.800]really making the data stronger, deeper, and more accurate.
[00:19:37.780]So I would argue that this is 40-plus years of newspapers
[00:19:42.590]spread out in one place.
[00:19:44.410]There are no embellishments or opinions.
[00:19:47.800]There are just events.
[00:19:49.450]The embellishments and opinions
[00:19:51.100]come with the retelling of the stories or analysis of them,
[00:19:54.710]but not in the presentation.
[00:19:59.310]Another form of Indigenous journalism are ledger drawings,
[00:20:04.230]which is a form of visual narrative
[00:20:06.990]storytelling and reporting.
[00:20:09.010]And it's a form that really came to be in the 1800s
[00:20:14.043]with the introduction of paper
[00:20:16.350]and grease pencils and whatnot.
[00:20:20.083]So what you see here, for instance,
[00:20:22.456]is a ledger drawing made by a Kiowa prisoner
[00:20:26.710]at the end of the Red River War in the late 1800s
[00:20:31.260]in what is currently Oklahoma.
[00:20:34.160]And at the end of the conflict,
[00:20:36.670]more than two dozen Kiowa prisoners of war
[00:20:38.723]were sent to St. Augustine, Florida,
[00:20:41.240]to serve out their sentences.
[00:20:42.940]And here in the image,
[00:20:44.148]you're seeing the surrender of those warriors to US troops.
[00:20:54.300]And what happened directly after this
[00:20:56.720]is that after essentially being arrested,
[00:21:00.120]they were taken to Fort Sill
[00:21:02.550]where they were forced to sleep in the building
[00:21:04.483]where ice was stored.
[00:21:06.470]You can see them being lined up to go in there.
[00:21:09.868]And from there, they were transferred
[00:21:11.670]to the town of Cato by wagon.
[00:21:15.140]And after that to Fort Leavenworth, by train.
[00:21:20.577]And they traveled by train from Kansas to St. Louis,
[00:21:25.737]then Indianapolis, Nashville, Atlanta,
[00:21:29.740]and then finally Jacksonville, Florida,
[00:21:32.700]where they boarded a steam boat.
[00:21:35.130]And it was likely the first time many of the prisoners
[00:21:38.320]had been on a boat,
[00:21:39.200]and probably for some of them
[00:21:40.650]it was the first time they had seen the ocean.
[00:21:43.803]And nearly three months after they were arrested,
[00:21:48.140]the prisoners arrived in St. Augustine, Florida,
[00:21:51.380]and watched the boat that brought them sail away.
[00:21:56.340]While at Fort Marion,
[00:21:59.880]these prisoners were under the care
[00:22:01.820]of Colonel Richard Pratt,
[00:22:03.410]which is he's best known for the phrase,
[00:22:05.677]"Kill the Indian, save the man,"
[00:22:08.160]and was the primary architect
[00:22:11.134]of the Indian Boarding School System.
[00:22:14.750]And under Pratt's supervision,
[00:22:17.199]the prisoners attended mandatory religious services.
[00:22:21.380]They also worked as gang laborers,
[00:22:23.331]picking oranges and polishing seashells
[00:22:26.930]for curio merchants.
[00:22:29.470]They also performed traditional songs and dances
[00:22:33.150]for tourists that came to ogle,
[00:22:36.500]which was a common practice at the prison.
[00:22:40.500]And also many of the prisoners learned to read and write
[00:22:44.321]while all of them were trained in military service.
[00:22:49.960]And as you can see,
[00:22:51.980]these images all tell a sequential story.
[00:22:55.510]It's a story that was not covered by any writer,
[00:22:58.185]photographer, or reporter at the time.
[00:23:02.010]And I would argue that this is a form
[00:23:04.900]of Indigenous storytelling,
[00:23:06.961]or more importantly, Indigenous journalism,
[00:23:10.020]you know, harnessing the technologies available at the time.
[00:23:14.980]You know, it's a form of journalism
[00:23:16.707]that has been criminally ignored
[00:23:19.880]by journalists, journalism historians,
[00:23:23.820]and just being able to see the sort of breadth
[00:23:25.931]of that journey captured in real time
[00:23:29.820]by a Kiowa artist is absolutely incredible.
[00:23:35.370]And so is the work of Horace Poolaw,
[00:23:38.830]who was a Kiowa photographer
[00:23:40.260]working from the 1920s to the 1950s.
[00:23:44.880]And his pictures capture really the beauty of our community.
[00:23:49.170]You know, while non-Native photographers
[00:23:51.170]during that time focused sort of more on
[00:23:54.240]like feathers and leathers kind of a thing,
[00:23:56.590]Poolaw really saw and captured reality.
[00:24:01.470]And here in this photo,
[00:24:02.660]you'll see a group of Kiowa women going to church.
[00:24:06.660]And in their arms,
[00:24:07.760]you can see they're carrying Christmas presents.
[00:24:09.530]It happened in the 1930s.
[00:24:11.100]You can also tell, 'cause they've got super cool,
[00:24:13.580]like hair and hats now.
[00:24:15.070]Like they're just cool.
[00:24:16.310]Like these folks are like super cool.
[00:24:19.460]You know, these are all very different
[00:24:22.107]than how non-Indigenous people have seen us.
[00:24:29.267]Negative, racist representations of Indigenous people
[00:24:33.890]are part of the Western hemisphere's colonial history.
[00:24:38.060]And early representations of Indigenous people
[00:24:41.011]are really intimately tied to the process of imperialism.
[00:24:46.030]You know, the first Thanksgiving pictured here,
[00:24:48.180]for instance, uses some pretty creative staging
[00:24:51.400]to show like desired power dynamics,
[00:24:54.690]basically by placing Indigenous people on the ground
[00:24:58.760]with dogs and children.
[00:25:01.762]We know that's not how that's not how,
[00:25:04.523]that's not even the story that people are told
[00:25:07.630]about Thanksgiving as it's,
[00:25:09.280]but here it's the settlers serving the Native folks.
[00:25:16.665]But this is all to say that these early representations
[00:25:19.981]should really be viewed as foundational documents.
[00:25:24.510]And they're created for a singular purpose,
[00:25:26.870]which is to manufacture support for the control,
[00:25:30.330]conquest, possession, and exploitation
[00:25:33.970]of Indigenous people, land, and resources.
[00:25:38.107]And they also often run in tandem
[00:25:40.950]with coverage of Indigenous people.
[00:25:43.560]You know, there is yet to be a comprehensive
[00:25:45.960]sort of historical analysis of Indigenous representations
[00:25:50.560]in journalism in the United States.
[00:25:52.547]But in Canada, researchers have done some phenomenal work
[00:25:57.340]around the topic.
[00:25:58.494]The book "Seeing Red," for example,
[00:26:01.201]examines the role of Canada's newspapers
[00:26:05.067]in perpetuating the myth of Native inferiority.
[00:26:10.280]And examining English language newspapers from 1869
[00:26:14.330]to the present day, you know,
[00:26:16.167]"Seeing Red" really uncovers overwhelming evidence
[00:26:19.850]that colonial imagery not only thrived,
[00:26:22.510]but continues to dominate depictions
[00:26:24.867]of Indigenous peoples in mainstream newsrooms.
[00:26:29.421]And I argue it's the same here in the United States.
[00:26:33.774]Keep in mind, for instance,
[00:26:35.180]that we became US citizens in 1924,
[00:26:37.784]not because there was a great
[00:26:40.120]sort of Indian advocate out there
[00:26:41.910]making sure we had a place in American democracy.
[00:26:45.110]And to be clear, there wasn't.
[00:26:47.680]It was because American democracy
[00:26:50.600]and our forced participation in it
[00:26:52.573]was another weapon that could be used.
[00:26:56.810]In terms of thinking about foundational documents
[00:27:00.230]and how they're sort of being revived and remixed,
[00:27:05.771]here's one that we can kind of look at
[00:27:07.830]from "The New York Times."
[00:27:10.660]So I would argue this is
[00:27:13.020]kind of a new foundational document.
[00:27:14.920]So in September of 2019,
[00:27:18.267]"The Times" published this story, "Sick River."
[00:27:22.810]And you'll see on the head here,
[00:27:25.227]"Can these California tribes beat heroin and history?"
[00:27:30.750]So the story uses data
[00:27:33.850]from the Centers for Disease Control
[00:27:35.860]and reveals a 519% increase in overdose deaths
[00:27:41.710]between 1999 and 2015 in rural Indigenous communities.
[00:27:48.500]And this is coupled with data
[00:27:50.980]that shows historic lows in salmon runs,
[00:27:54.660]but kind of mixes in a really healthy dose
[00:27:57.107]of like mystical Indian bullshit.
[00:28:03.761]The main idea I think that you walk away with
[00:28:07.320]after reading this story
[00:28:09.600]is that the loss of sacred salmon
[00:28:12.650]and the increase in opioid overdoses are linked,
[00:28:17.820]and that the Yurok, Karuk, and Hoopa tribes
[00:28:21.070]are really deeply spiritual beings,
[00:28:23.890]especially in regards to salmon,
[00:28:26.320]but also struggling with addiction.
[00:28:29.420]And obviously the problem here is that
[00:28:31.334]it's asking readers to hold two contradictory ideas
[00:28:35.620]about Indigenous people in their heads at the same time.
[00:28:40.300]And ideas that are rooted in deeply racist stereotypes.
[00:28:45.867]And that ask of the reader
[00:28:48.080]to hold onto two contradictory ideas about Indigenous people
[00:28:52.386]is also something that's been studied.
[00:28:55.401]So for instance, the Reclaiming Native Truth Report
[00:29:00.330]offers a lot of really interesting statistics
[00:29:03.470]and information on how Americans perceive Indigenous people.
[00:29:08.650]But one of the most fascinating to me is this:
[00:29:12.010]That contradictory stereotypes coexist,
[00:29:15.080]and one of the most prevalent ones that the report picks out
[00:29:19.720]is that Native Americans are both spiritually focused
[00:29:22.810]and struggling with alcohol and drugs.
[00:29:26.260]And of course this raises questions of story framing,
[00:29:30.250]but it also raises questions of trust.
[00:29:34.220]And in the era of misinformation and fake news,
[00:29:39.380]it is perilously dangerous to be trafficking
[00:29:42.001]in racist stereotypes.
[00:29:45.213]In other words, if the subjects of the story
[00:29:50.850]know that there are serious problems with the reporting,
[00:29:54.010]and readers in Indian country
[00:29:55.507]know that almost all of the "The Times" reporting
[00:29:58.510]in Indigenous communities is deeply, deeply flawed.
[00:30:03.200]You know, I think it's a legitimate question to say,
[00:30:06.340]how are we supposed to trust the outlet's other work?
[00:30:09.860]Like their framing of the Trump Administration,
[00:30:13.800]Or their work covering Ukraine?
[00:30:17.470]To be clear, I'm not calling fake news here.
[00:30:19.840]You know, that's not my intention.
[00:30:22.630]I am saying that we have to demand more
[00:30:25.890]from institutions like "The Times."
[00:30:28.580]Like if journalism ethics are simply kind of a veneer,
[00:30:32.470]like a professional good insofar
[00:30:34.840]as they apply to other outlets,
[00:30:36.700]but not "The New York Times,"
[00:30:38.660]then what we're really talking about
[00:30:40.150]is a journalism institution mimicking the same values
[00:30:43.980]of American exceptionalism.
[00:30:46.130]And we deserve better than that.
[00:30:50.440]As many of you are aware, the Indian Child Welfare Act
[00:30:54.254]is heading to the Supreme Court.
[00:30:57.000]And if you're not familiar with it, you know,
[00:30:59.670]the 40 year old law protects children
[00:31:02.210]who are tribal members and citizens
[00:31:04.880]from being adopted into non-Indigenous families.
[00:31:09.240]It's a legal response to more than a century
[00:31:11.360]of Indigenous children being stolen from their families
[00:31:14.881]in an attempt to assimilate Indigenous people forcibly.
[00:31:20.350]And the reason it's going to the Supreme Court
[00:31:23.110]is that right-wing and conservative actors
[00:31:26.100]have challenged the law for more than a decade
[00:31:28.570]and have mounted successful
[00:31:30.380]disinformation campaigns around it.
[00:31:33.240]This is an example in the "Washington Post."
[00:31:35.814]Those right-wing actors say
[00:31:38.180]that the Indian Child Welfare Act
[00:31:40.060]is a law based on race
[00:31:41.760]and is therefore unconstitutional,
[00:31:44.070]which is challenging four decades
[00:31:45.940]of established practice
[00:31:48.870]of nation to nation adoption practices
[00:31:51.414]that protect children based on their citizenship
[00:31:55.867]with sovereign tribal nations.
[00:31:59.740]And what we're seeing here in this op-ed in "The Post"
[00:32:02.520]by a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter
[00:32:05.186]is a successful disinformation campaign
[00:32:09.225]by right-wing activists being amplified by news outlets
[00:32:13.454]by moving the conversation into a conversation about race,
[00:32:17.707]not about citizenship.
[00:32:20.740]And of course, one of the real world outcomes
[00:32:23.650]is that ultra-right lawmakers in Texas
[00:32:26.092]took up this case and championed it.
[00:32:30.410]So using false and misleading information,
[00:32:33.980]these actors have been able
[00:32:35.090]to manipulate a number of media outlets
[00:32:37.700]who are ill-equipped to understand
[00:32:40.090]that these attacks are anti-Indigenous hate speech.
[00:32:44.240]And they have been able to get their disinformation campaign
[00:32:48.960]into the hands of a respected writer
[00:32:51.310]at a national outlet here at "The Post."
[00:32:55.250]And it's important to remember that these outlets
[00:32:57.090]also lack the background to understand
[00:32:59.345]that there is a bigger fight at stake here.
[00:33:02.910]So while the Indian Child Welfare Act
[00:33:04.860]is about protecting tribal citizens,
[00:33:07.870]undermining it provides state and federal lawmakers
[00:33:10.850]an opportunity to fight everything
[00:33:12.730]from environmental jurisdiction
[00:33:14.520]in Indian country to treaties.
[00:33:18.664]This is all to say, in other words,
[00:33:19.643]that the law is built on a nation to nation relationship,
[00:33:24.130]and if it can be viewed as a law based on race,
[00:33:27.420]nearly any agreement or relationship with tribal nations
[00:33:30.600]can also be seen that way,
[00:33:32.490]effectively undoing centuries of federal Indian law.
[00:33:36.907]And that "The Washington Post" here and other outlets
[00:33:39.990]have failed to identify a misinformation campaign
[00:33:44.730]of this scale, like isn't unusual.
[00:33:48.510]You know, these actors are taking advantage
[00:33:50.450]of conditions and features
[00:33:52.170]within an information ecosystem.
[00:33:54.830]And the conditions, at least here at "the Post,"
[00:33:58.080]are geared toward the support
[00:34:00.090]and spread of American democracy.
[00:34:02.210]Remember, like it's in their like super laughable tagline,
[00:34:05.767]"Democracy dies in darkness."
[00:34:08.340]You know, it is a system that is at odds
[00:34:11.667]with the people who would be most impacted
[00:34:14.190]by a negative Supreme Court ruling.
[00:34:19.070]One more example here, this is an older one,
[00:34:22.390]this story from 2010, also by "The New York Times,"
[00:34:26.550]focused on the Obama Administration's program
[00:34:29.660]to tackle crime in Indian country.
[00:34:33.410]And as I said, this is an older story,
[00:34:36.190]but obviously portions of this story
[00:34:39.320]were actually quoted verbatim in the film "Wind River."
[00:34:43.070]So this has had some kind of serious cultural impact
[00:34:47.181]through film and through people's consumption
[00:34:50.700]of Indian country through major filmmaking.
[00:34:56.760]So this program, which was nicknamed The Surge,
[00:35:02.170]was modeled after the military strategy in Iraq.
[00:35:07.780]And basically, as you can see here,
[00:35:11.320]like what's in the story is that it says,
[00:35:13.567]"Despite its bucolic name,
[00:35:15.426]the reservation nestled among snowcap peaks and rivers,
[00:35:19.067]filled with trout,
[00:35:20.580]is a place where brutal acts have become banal."
[00:35:24.601]And I'll read a little bit more here.
[00:35:26.607]"Crime may be Wind River's most pressing problem,
[00:35:29.540]but it has plenty of company.
[00:35:31.660]Life, even by the grim standards
[00:35:33.730]of the typical American Indian reservation,
[00:35:36.180]is as bleak and punishing as that
[00:35:38.540]of any developing country."
[00:35:41.340]And in the reporting, there are the statistics, right?
[00:35:43.600]Like the checklist: life expectancy,
[00:35:45.982]unemployment, dropout rates, suicide data,
[00:35:49.780]child abuse figures, sexual assault stats,
[00:35:52.670]and just on and on and on.
[00:35:55.060]And the picture is pretty clear.
[00:35:57.155]You know, senseless violence is an intrinsic,
[00:35:59.930]if not central part of Indigenous life.
[00:36:02.770]It's typical, they even say so.
[00:36:05.371]But one of the things that I think is important
[00:36:08.203]is that we have to really take a step back
[00:36:11.050]at what's being covered in the story.
[00:36:13.030]And first to say that, yes,
[00:36:14.640]there is a problem with crime in Indian country.
[00:36:17.690]You know, the Department of Justice estimates
[00:36:19.740]that Native Americans experience violent crime
[00:36:22.758]at a rate about 40% higher than the rest of the nation.
[00:36:27.950]But there are a number of facts that reporters
[00:36:30.769]don't seem concerned with
[00:36:34.390]or just outright ignored or didn't check on Google.
[00:36:38.880]I'm not really sure what happened here,
[00:36:40.640]but here are two.
[00:36:43.438]So first, according to the Department of Justice,
[00:36:46.030]nearly 60% of Native American crime victims
[00:36:49.220]describe their attackers as White.
[00:36:53.080]Second, more than half of all violent crimes
[00:36:56.040]committed in tribal communities
[00:36:58.310]are declined for prosecution
[00:37:00.060]by state or federal authorities.
[00:37:02.830]So just imagine more than like half of the crimes committed
[00:37:06.530]in like the Dallas area weren't prosecuted.
[00:37:09.310]I mean, what kind of like city would that be?
[00:37:12.718]And there's a reason for that last fact too.
[00:37:17.210]State or federal authorities
[00:37:19.025]usually have criminal jurisdiction
[00:37:21.195]over Indian country crime, not tribes.
[00:37:25.260]So that means when non-Natives
[00:37:26.680]commit crimes on reservations,
[00:37:28.251]tribal authorities typically lack the jurisdiction
[00:37:31.460]to arrest or even prosecute.
[00:37:34.660]So those facts offer very different perspective
[00:37:37.996]on crime and violence in Indian country.
[00:37:43.690]However, according to "The Times" analysis,
[00:37:46.760]and I'll just read it to you,
[00:37:48.537]"The difficulties among Wind River's population
[00:37:51.130]of about 14,000 have become so daunting
[00:37:54.171]that many believe that the reservation,
[00:37:56.940]shared by the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone Tribes,
[00:38:00.340]is haunted- the ghosts of the innocent killed
[00:38:03.530]in an 1864 massacre."
[00:38:08.340]In other words, when it comes to the complexities
[00:38:11.710]of Indigenous life,
[00:38:13.080]ghosts are apparently reasonable explanations
[00:38:15.890]for complicated situations,
[00:38:17.440]at least by "The New York Times."
[00:38:19.500]You know, the other plausible interpretation
[00:38:21.238]is that glaring security issues in Indian country
[00:38:25.040]are the result of Supreme Court decisions
[00:38:27.190]and congressional acts that strip tribes
[00:38:29.331]of any ability to protect their own territories,
[00:38:33.100]which aren't ghosts.
[00:38:34.510]It's just broken federal policy
[00:38:36.340]and predators taking advantage of it.
[00:38:40.100]Oddly enough, ghosts and spirits show up
[00:38:42.851]in a lot of Indigenous coverage.
[00:38:45.570]Earlier, I showed you the slide from "Reuters" titled,
[00:38:48.967]"How the Sioux Tribe puts the Black Snake prophecy
[00:38:52.017]"at the center of the Dakota Access Pipeline."
[00:38:54.784]I mean, you can also see it in the story from "Bustle."
[00:38:59.820]After a rash of Indigenous youth suicides in South Dakota,
[00:39:02.947]"Bustle" put this piece out about a ghost
[00:39:05.980]that may be causing teens to take their lives.
[00:39:08.840]Like, I mean, I'd look to historical trauma
[00:39:11.411]or political disenfranchisement
[00:39:13.840]or persistent marginally to start explaining
[00:39:16.810]why that is happening,
[00:39:18.380]but it's like gold star to "Bustle" for trying.
[00:39:23.851]And again, when you look for it,
[00:39:26.380]you really start to see it everywhere.
[00:39:29.320]Like I'm embarrassed to even show you this slide.
[00:39:33.440]I mean, "On a vast reservation,
[00:39:36.277]"female Navajo officers patrol with bulletproof vests
[00:39:39.291]"and protective amulets."
[00:39:41.500]Like somebody completely straight-faced wrote that headline.
[00:39:45.310]Like did the chef's kiss and published it.
[00:39:47.800]And just in case you're missing the issue
[00:39:50.330]with this headline,
[00:39:51.200]like I'm willing to bet police officers
[00:39:53.430]who are like Catholic
[00:39:54.540]wear St. Christopher's medals
[00:39:56.090]or carry images of other saints for protection.
[00:39:58.910]Like that's not making headlines
[00:40:01.510]because it's like quote/unquote normal,
[00:40:04.120]which in this case translates to White.
[00:40:07.360]So again, who are these stories for?
[00:40:10.120]And what do their subjects gain from them?
[00:40:15.470]So how do we kind of connect all of these threads?
[00:40:20.180]How do the ideas of reckoning and reconciliation
[00:40:23.820]play into really challenging, dominant news narratives
[00:40:27.610]that utilize Indigenous principles
[00:40:29.560]to really serve our communities?
[00:40:32.300]And the short answer here is in the work.
[00:40:35.470]You know, I mean, for instance,
[00:40:36.900]I showed you the Kiowa calendars earlier
[00:40:39.210]and explained that the information carried in them
[00:40:41.331]are nurtured by multiple people.
[00:40:43.960]You know, that idea isn't all that different
[00:40:46.350]than the work that we do
[00:40:47.400]at the Indigenous Investigative Collective,
[00:40:49.490]which is a network of reporters from multiple outlets
[00:40:52.931]working collaboratively to investigate stories
[00:40:55.718]in Indigenous communities.
[00:40:58.918]Last year, Indigenous reporters at "Indian Country Today,"
[00:41:02.987]"Searchlight New Mexico," and "High Country News"
[00:41:05.780]came together to cover COVID-19's impact
[00:41:09.180]on Indigenous communities.
[00:41:12.400]And the question we needed to answer
[00:41:14.050]was how many Indigenous people died from COVID?
[00:41:18.050]And what we found was that no state,
[00:41:19.790]federal, or tribal entity knew.
[00:41:22.690]So through multiple public records requests,
[00:41:25.131]reporters really met resistance like at every level,
[00:41:30.160]and we ultimately were not allowed
[00:41:32.718]to see any death records that were needed
[00:41:36.320]to do any sort of analysis on COVID's impact.
[00:41:40.380]And the findings that we finally have here
[00:41:43.220]that like there is no central system
[00:41:45.780]to measure the pandemic's impact in Indian country.
[00:41:49.650]And that, essentially the lack of transparency
[00:41:52.660]from states and the federal government
[00:41:54.198]will ultimately prevent any accurate accounting
[00:41:58.850]of the death toll in the future.
[00:42:02.040]But again, that reporting was only possible
[00:42:04.780]by having multiple reporters
[00:42:06.620]in multiple areas of the country
[00:42:08.220]ready and able to report different facets of the story.
[00:42:11.920]It's information reported and carried by multiple people
[00:42:14.910]that when gathered, add context and texture to events,
[00:42:18.450]making the reporting stronger, deeper, and more accurate.
[00:42:23.770]Then there is the actual visual journalism.
[00:42:27.660]Here you can see the story in "Nizhoni Girls"
[00:42:29.650]that we reported for "High Country News."
[00:42:32.920]And we decide that we, this was a few years ago,
[00:42:35.167]and we decided we want to do a story
[00:42:37.470]about an Indigenous surf rock band,
[00:42:41.200]and essentially do a profile of the lead singer
[00:42:43.330]and how she became a part of the band.
[00:42:45.830]You know, we could have done this in print,
[00:42:47.680]you know, like a "New Yorker" style profile
[00:42:51.048]of an interesting artist,
[00:42:53.800]but what we decided to do was tell it in graphic novel form.
[00:42:59.670]So again, sort of like previous generations
[00:43:02.010]of record keepers,
[00:43:03.610]we rooted our reporting in Indigenous experiences and values
[00:43:07.700]and really embraced a visual form to do so.
[00:43:10.821]So just like the ledger drawings you saw earlier,
[00:43:14.750]this piece just works to update the technology
[00:43:18.310]from ledger paper and wax pencils
[00:43:20.424]to graphic novel forms and digital tools.
[00:43:24.240]And again, it's a record of moments
[00:43:27.300]that reflect the values and priorities
[00:43:29.890]of one group of Native artists
[00:43:32.340]at one point in a collective history.
[00:43:37.170]Finally, there's land-grab universities,
[00:43:41.540]and it's here that I'll start to wrap up
[00:43:44.310]because to me, this story is about being
[00:43:46.660]in direct conflict with state institutions
[00:43:50.040]and provides you as an opportunity
[00:43:52.270]to play a part in doing that.
[00:43:55.820]And for those of you who are not familiar
[00:43:58.750]with the origins of land grant universities,
[00:44:03.420]in 1862, Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Act,
[00:44:07.870]which distributed public domain lands
[00:44:09.784]to raise funds for fledgling colleges across the nation.
[00:44:13.900]And the story that we've learned around the Morrill Act
[00:44:17.480]is that land grant universities
[00:44:18.984]were given the gift of free land
[00:44:21.230]to bring education to the masses.
[00:44:24.490]They're referred to as democracy's colleges.
[00:44:27.650]But as our investigation at "High Country News" reveals,
[00:44:32.970]the Morrill Act worked by turning land
[00:44:34.810]expropriated from tribal nations
[00:44:37.190]into seed money for higher education.
[00:44:40.130]And in all, what we found was that the act
[00:44:43.530]redistributed nearly 10.8 million acres of land
[00:44:46.943]from more than 250 tribal nations
[00:44:49.890]for the benefit of 52 colleges.
[00:44:53.938]But the Morrill Act's footprint
[00:44:57.400]is also broken up into almost 80,000 parcels of land
[00:45:01.298]scattered across 24 states,
[00:45:03.960]which has made previous research and reporting
[00:45:06.200]on its impacts nearly impossible.
[00:45:08.970]But thanks to tools like ArcGIS,
[00:45:12.660]and being able to utilize a lot of tech
[00:45:15.800]that wasn't available even a decade ago,
[00:45:18.750]we were able to map and identify
[00:45:20.832]those 80,000 individual land parcels
[00:45:23.605]to really better understand the relationship
[00:45:26.450]between higher education and violent colonialism.
[00:45:31.593]As you know, the University of Nebraska
[00:45:34.792]is a land grant institution.
[00:45:37.150]And you can find more information about its role
[00:45:40.450]on our site landgrabu.org.
[00:45:43.430]So opened in 1871, Nebraska was assigned land
[00:45:48.090]under the Morrill Act in 1873.
[00:45:51.790]89,920 acres to be exact.
[00:45:55.920]And that land was obtained from the Omaha, Pawnee,
[00:46:00.080]Sioux, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes
[00:46:03.138]for approximately $11,000 through treaties.
[00:46:07.680]Keep in mind though that the Arapaho,
[00:46:09.360]Northern Cheyenne, and Sioux were never compensated.
[00:46:13.630]Nebraska sold that land for nearly $569,000.
[00:46:19.460]And adjusted for inflation, it equals about 12.3 million
[00:46:23.850]in today's dollars.
[00:46:27.020]And as you'll see here on this slide, you know,
[00:46:31.100]when we approached Nebraska for comment on this story,
[00:46:33.250]they sent back to this statement,
[00:46:34.910]the land acknowledgement,
[00:46:35.930]which we heard at the beginning.
[00:46:37.727]"We acknowledge that the University of Nebraska
[00:46:39.683]is a land grant institution with campuses and programs
[00:46:43.290]on the past, present, and future homelands
[00:46:46.240]of the Pawnee, Ponca,
[00:46:47.073]Oto-Missouri, Omaha, Dakota, Lakota,
[00:46:49.840]Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Kaw Peoples,
[00:46:52.737]as well the relocated Ho-Chunk, Iowa,
[00:46:55.404]and Sak and Fox People."
[00:47:00.870]But you'll also see a lot of the stats here too,
[00:47:02.810]which we'll come back to in just a second.
[00:47:04.500]But, you know, again,
[00:47:06.410]one of the things that we wanted to do with this project
[00:47:09.680]is make our data available to anybody
[00:47:12.230]who wanted to do additional reporting or research
[00:47:15.680]or even to fact check our findings.
[00:47:17.430]So if you're not comfortable using spreadsheets,
[00:47:20.310]you're not a heavy data user,
[00:47:22.930]we wanted to make sure that you could still
[00:47:24.770]have access to this information
[00:47:26.800]in a clear and user-friendly way.
[00:47:29.360]So again, on landgrabu.org,
[00:47:32.204]where this image came from,
[00:47:33.670]you have access to all the same data
[00:47:36.148]that we used in our reporting
[00:47:38.360]with the same level of accuracy.
[00:47:40.030]And you can explore all of it through interactive maps
[00:47:42.850]on your computer or even your phone.
[00:47:46.210]So if you want to learn more
[00:47:47.590]about the Indigenous land sold by Nebraska,
[00:47:52.150]we have worked to make all of that data open source,
[00:47:55.200]so you can download it raw,
[00:47:56.810]you can download the shapefiles if you wanna map it,
[00:47:59.290]or you can just play with the map.
[00:48:01.740]And again, it's in this spirit of sharing and transparency
[00:48:05.164]that we hope to be challenging institutions.
[00:48:10.440]But of course, we also want to be
[00:48:13.060]challenging institutions that we report on in the long term.
[00:48:17.100]So I will wrap it up with this.
[00:48:20.690]The University of Nebraska still owns 6,173 acres
[00:48:26.967]originally obtained through the Morrill Act.
[00:48:30.410]And in fiscal year 2019,
[00:48:32.069]those acres produce nearly $427,000 in income
[00:48:36.920]for the school.
[00:48:38.190]So we know where the land is,
[00:48:40.240]we know whose land it is,
[00:48:41.860]and we know how much the school profits from them.
[00:48:46.070]As far as we understand in our reporting,
[00:48:48.440]the money does not go to Native students,
[00:48:50.620]of which in 2018, only 69 identified as Indigenous
[00:48:55.610]in a student body of 25,820.
[00:49:00.860]And as far as we also understand,
[00:49:03.374]the University of Nebraska has no intention
[00:49:05.750]of returning that land.
[00:49:08.794]And I wanna leave you with that.
[00:49:11.080]This institution is in possession of and profits from
[00:49:14.480]stolen property and has every day for 140 years.
[00:49:19.570]And any reckoning or reconciliation
[00:49:22.110]at University of Nebraska or elsewhere
[00:49:26.534]has to start with that return of land,
[00:49:30.180]here, nationally, and globally.
[00:49:33.480]And I'll stop there so we can take questions.
[00:49:39.290]Gosh, thank you so much, Tristan.
[00:49:42.697]I got so much out of your presentation
[00:49:45.580]and it's really interesting too
[00:49:47.130]to get the update on where Nebraska
[00:49:51.040]is in terms of how many, how much acreage it still holds,
[00:49:55.470]how much money it's still making.
[00:49:56.980]And we really appreciate you sharing that with us.
[00:50:01.350]I also really appreciated all your insights
[00:50:03.322]about mainstream or Western journalism
[00:50:08.130]versus Indigenous journalism.
[00:50:09.410]And I invite everybody to leave some questions
[00:50:13.800]in the chat or the Q&A.
[00:50:16.469]And while we're waiting for more questions to come in,
[00:50:19.420]I wanna ask you, maybe you get this question all the time,
[00:50:24.200]but I think our listeners are really highly motivated.
[00:50:28.491]They're attending a symposium or a summit on these issues.
[00:50:33.840]So what are some steps all of us can take
[00:50:36.269]no matter our background
[00:50:38.080]to support Indigenous journalism
[00:50:40.380]and to challenge mainstream depictions of Indigenous people?
[00:50:46.070]Yeah, I mean, I think, you know,
[00:50:47.410]simply, it's supporting Indigenous news outlets.
[00:50:50.990]I mean, I think there's 250 easily across the country.
[00:50:56.260]You know, a lot of them are hyper-local.
[00:50:57.980]Some of them are sort of regional
[00:50:59.390]and then you've got national outlets too.
[00:51:01.760]But you know, it's really changing up like your news digest.
[00:51:05.750]And I don't know how everybody...
[00:51:07.056]As a journalist, I think I consume news
[00:51:09.630]like really differently.
[00:51:11.640]Like a lot of the stuff I'm getting,
[00:51:13.400]I'm curating on like a Twitter feed or something like that.
[00:51:16.730]So I really work to make sure
[00:51:19.240]that I'm sort of mixing everything up
[00:51:20.900]so I'm seeing a lot of stuff.
[00:51:22.270]But again, I think, you know,
[00:51:24.816]in supporting Indigenous journalists,
[00:51:27.376]it's reading it, it's subscribing,
[00:51:30.180]it's becoming a member.
[00:51:31.490]I'm sure some of y'all are like NPR members,
[00:51:37.080]or providing support to organizations like that.
[00:51:41.210]You can do it just as easily with Indigenous outlets.
[00:51:45.340]And I'd argue it's probably a better use of your funds
[00:51:52.360]to go to a lot smaller outlets with a lot smaller budgets.
[00:51:55.855]You know, I mean, the CEO of NPR
[00:51:58.470]makes something like $680,000 a year.
[00:52:01.150]Like that's where your money's going.
[00:52:05.660]So that's one real way is to read it and support it.
[00:52:14.330]So we've got a couple more questions coming in.
[00:52:17.350]One from an Indigenous journalist,
[00:52:19.010]whose name is Kevin Abourezk.
[00:52:21.620]He asked what are the untold stories in Indian country
[00:52:24.500]that we should be watching?
[00:52:28.020]Geez, I mean, all of them, I guess.
[00:52:34.119]You know, I mean, Kevin, as you know,
[00:52:35.870]a lot of the stuff,
[00:52:36.950]a lot of the action happens at the courts.
[00:52:39.140]And I think that at the moment,
[00:52:43.360]you know, we're kind of in early stages
[00:52:45.230]of talking about some like tools.
[00:52:47.720]And I'm sorry for the cat,
[00:52:48.960]he is really eager to have a say here.
[00:52:55.270]We're kind of in early stages of talking about
[00:52:57.340]some like tools to start capturing
[00:52:59.321]when consultation happens between tribes and agencies.
[00:53:04.750]Really trying to find ways to get into the reporting early.
[00:53:11.040]I mean, we brought up Standing Rock earlier, for instance.
[00:53:14.150]I mean, as many of y'all probably know,
[00:53:16.530]it was like a three year legal
[00:53:20.840]and consultation battle that was happening
[00:53:22.890]before protests even started.
[00:53:26.450]And being able to catch like conversations
[00:53:30.040]that are happening between a tribe
[00:53:31.189]and the Army Corps of Engineers early,
[00:53:34.150]like gives us a lot of opportunity to jump in
[00:53:38.060]before things become protests
[00:53:40.160]and be able to follow those in ways
[00:53:45.030]that really get at the heart of the matter early.
[00:53:50.490]So this is all to say,
[00:53:52.240]I think like when it comes to stories
[00:53:54.010]that should be being told,
[00:53:55.173]again, we focus a lot on the courts.
[00:53:58.550]And at "Grist," we are now focusing really heavily
[00:54:03.364]on international systems as well too.
[00:54:07.400]So my colleague and our "Grist" fellow, Joseph Lee,
[00:54:12.470]has really started to develop some really fantastic work
[00:54:16.770]around monitoring, like, you know, UN agencies, NGOs.
[00:54:23.570]Really keeping a kind of an eye on what's happening
[00:54:25.842]in these international spaces as well.
[00:54:30.510]So I, you know, again, I think for a lot of reporters,
[00:54:33.930]it seems boring to be just looking at the documents
[00:54:36.590]and going through like this happened in court today,
[00:54:39.160]but that's where the action is.
[00:54:42.130]That's where like, that's where decades
[00:54:44.574]of activism and fighting have like gotten us to,
[00:54:49.930]is that we have a core of really sharp, smart,
[00:54:52.668]Native lawyers who are out there doing this work
[00:54:55.575]in the court systems and less so on the streets
[00:55:00.230]like in the sixties and seventies.
[00:55:02.912]So my advice is to start digging into the places
[00:55:08.749]in which agencies and tribes are starting to talk
[00:55:11.469]because that's where the conflict begins often
[00:55:14.990]and then rises from there.
[00:55:17.850]So we have time for one more question, Tristan,
[00:55:20.440]and this is from Barbara Ayer.
[00:55:22.130]She asks, can you name a few
[00:55:25.150]of your favorite Indigenous journalists or sources?
[00:55:30.100]Yeah, I mean, yeah.
[00:55:31.096]Kevin at indians.com does does great work.
[00:55:35.300]Check on them regularly.
[00:55:37.110]Folks over at "Indian Country Today" are getting like,
[00:55:40.120]they were already doing great work
[00:55:41.820]and they get better and better all the time.
[00:55:43.550]It's really great to see
[00:55:44.734]just how much they just keep doing great stuff.
[00:55:50.190]You know, admittedly I am a "High Country News" alumni here,
[00:55:54.810]but you know, the Indigenous Affairs desk
[00:55:57.010]continues to like pump out some of the best work
[00:56:01.940]that I think, or analysis that I see
[00:56:04.456]coming out of Indian country.
[00:56:08.040]You know, those are some like pretty good examples.
[00:56:11.987]"Navajo Times," I always like reading "Navajo Times" stuff.
[00:56:18.150]If you're gonna start anywhere,
[00:56:19.830]yeah, "ICT," "Indians," "High Country News."
[00:56:23.148]Hopefully you'll throw "Grist" in there too.
[00:56:25.670]That was a good place--
[00:56:29.330]I'm trying to keep up and put all these things in the chat
[00:56:32.690]so that people can access them easily,
[00:56:34.630]but I'm failing miserably.
[00:56:36.700]So I just wanna thank you so much, Tristan,
[00:56:40.820]for your comments today and your insights,
[00:56:43.710]and we just appreciate all that you're doing
[00:56:46.722]and we're really glad to have you here today.
[00:56:52.700]I want to encourage people to stick around
[00:56:55.900]for the next session.
[00:56:58.549]There's four sessions to choose from.
[00:57:00.550]We also have a lunch session
[00:57:02.533]called "What Would Land Back Look Like at UNL?"
[00:57:06.750]And we hope you'll come to that.
[00:57:08.060]That's at 11:30.
[00:57:10.850]And I wish we could have you here in-person,
[00:57:14.020]Tristan, so we could give you a big hardy round of applause.
[00:57:17.070]A lot of people are writing their thanks in the chat.
[00:57:19.680]So at least we can sort of give you a virtual applause,
[00:57:25.220]and we thank you so much for being here.
[00:57:28.320]And thank you to everybody else who's attending.
[00:57:32.750]Well, thanks again for the invitation.
[00:57:34.229]I really appreciate it.
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