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Call to opinion leaders in Indian country: Tell your story

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Indian Country Today invites you ñ tribal leaders, community elders, mindful activists and all opinion leaders in tribal and national organizations ñ to write your perspective for our editorial pages.

ICT is an established newspaper of record for Indian country. ICT is avidly read in tribal offices, organizations and universities across North America. Many congressional members and their staffs rely upon ICT to provide them with the most in-depth weekly coverage of themes and topics, stories and events of importance to their Native constituents.

Most consulted, respected and utilized are our opinion and perspective pages. Astute commentators on the national scene blend with thinking viewpoints out of tribal offices and programs and the many local, regional and national organizations to present perspectives that always stimulate and often help drive the national discourse.

ICT publishes several perspectives from independent contributors weekly. These go into the newspaper and its Web site, which are read by a conservative estimate of some 60,000 readers weekly, including a substantial core of other opinion leaders across Indian country. These figures do not just reflect ìhitsî on a Web site. These are 60,000 readers who sustain and generate currents of thinking and action in the world.

We invite all opinion leaders who monitor and are compelled to extend their national discourse and influence to write for ICT. We see that our greatest mission here is to maintain a place for respectful discourse and dialogue, an editorial space where currents of good ideas are introduced, pondered and critiqued.

All Native tribal leaders and activists have felt misquoted and misunderstood by media; sometimes, community leaders even feel set up to look either inconsequential or angered and confrontational. Perhaps a bit of paranoia sweeps in here and there, but the smoke of media impropriety is pungent and there are plenty of fires in coverage that is aggressively anti-Indian tribal existence.

The public discourse on the future of American Indian sovereign rights to self-government is intense. Far from united and certainly not perfect, nevertheless the Indian country of the United States and the Native world of North America share major definitions and distinctions that hold up the legal common ground and recognition of tribal nations as a reality in the modern world.

It is clear to well-informed Indian people that anti-Indian forces, increasingly loud and aggressive in media, are influencing public policy in serious ways. As politicians throughout the major 20 states where American Indian tribes reside seek to tax, regulate or fight off legitimate Indian claims, other organized groups are intent on destroying Indian sovereignty in every way possible. Their voices are getting loud enough and sophisticated enough to break through the media wall and often define the way newspapers and news channels relate to the stories of American Indian tribes, their issues and concerns.

As a result, the approach of media to Indian news too often positions the tribes as the antagonists ñ not only to specific politicians or special interests, but to the people of the state or the municipalities at large: even of the country at large. This can be dangerous for the tribes, as the tone and scope of media descriptions directly impacts the way congressional delegations, the White House and, most importantly, the federal courts get their sense of the affairs of American Indian governments and tribal constituencies.

Organized groups and well-financed ìinvestigativeî writers now track and stalk the various tribes and their issues, consistently placing opinion pieces or nuggets of media spin in front of reporters. Their argument places the concept of tribal nation sovereignty as a divisive, anti-American blot on the United States. They lobby without apology for the termination of Indian peoplesí right to be represented and organized as tribal nations.

It is crucial at this time in history for Native voices and narratives to emerge: consistently, intelligently well-reasoned and well-documented. From the arts to ceremonial life, from the economics to the culture, properly expressed Indian perspective is wanted. Very importantly, our cultural distinctiveness is the actual basis of our tribal sovereignty.

We invite you to tell your perspective directly by writing your approaches and opinions on any of the range of issues that affect your region or impact all Native peoples nationally and internationally. ICT perspectives run generally from 600 to 1,000 words. They run in the newspaper and are posted permanently online. They can be reprinted or relayed electronically as press-tested materials. They can make a difference for your tribe, your organization and, most importantly, your most pressing cultural, political or economic issues.

Indian Country Today invites you ñ tribal leaders, community elders, mindful activists and all opinion leaders in tribal and national organizations ñ to write your perspective for our editorial pages.ICT is an established newspaper of record for Indian country. ICT is avidly read in tribal offices, organizations and universities across North America. Many congressional members and their staffs rely upon ICT to provide them with the most in-depth weekly coverage of themes and topics, stories and events of importance to their Native constituents. Most consulted, respected and utilized are our opinion and perspective pages. Astute commentators on the national scene blend with thinking viewpoints out of tribal offices and programs and the many local, regional and national organizations to present perspectives that always stimulate and often help drive the national discourse.ICT publishes several perspectives from independent contributors weekly. These go into the newspaper and its Web site, which are read by a conservative estimate of some 60,000 readers weekly, including a substantial core of other opinion leaders across Indian country. These figures do not just reflect ìhitsî on a Web site. These are 60,000 readers who sustain and generate currents of thinking and action in the world.We invite all opinion leaders who monitor and are compelled to extend their national discourse and influence to write for ICT. We see that our greatest mission here is to maintain a place for respectful discourse and dialogue, an editorial space where currents of good ideas are introduced, pondered and critiqued. All Native tribal leaders and activists have felt misquoted and misunderstood by media; sometimes, community leaders even feel set up to look either inconsequential or angered and confrontational. Perhaps a bit of paranoia sweeps in here and there, but the smoke of media impropriety is pungent and there are plenty of fires in coverage that is aggressively anti-Indian tribal existence.The public discourse on the future of American Indian sovereign rights to self-government is intense. Far from united and certainly not perfect, nevertheless the Indian country of the United States and the Native world of North America share major definitions and distinctions that hold up the legal common ground and recognition of tribal nations as a reality in the modern world. It is clear to well-informed Indian people that anti-Indian forces, increasingly loud and aggressive in media, are influencing public policy in serious ways. As politicians throughout the major 20 states where American Indian tribes reside seek to tax, regulate or fight off legitimate Indian claims, other organized groups are intent on destroying Indian sovereignty in every way possible. Their voices are getting loud enough and sophisticated enough to break through the media wall and often define the way newspapers and news channels relate to the stories of American Indian tribes, their issues and concerns. As a result, the approach of media to Indian news too often positions the tribes as the antagonists ñ not only to specific politicians or special interests, but to the people of the state or the municipalities at large: even of the country at large. This can be dangerous for the tribes, as the tone and scope of media descriptions directly impacts the way congressional delegations, the White House and, most importantly, the federal courts get their sense of the affairs of American Indian governments and tribal constituencies. Organized groups and well-financed ìinvestigativeî writers now track and stalk the various tribes and their issues, consistently placing opinion pieces or nuggets of media spin in front of reporters. Their argument places the concept of tribal nation sovereignty as a divisive, anti-American blot on the United States. They lobby without apology for the termination of Indian peoplesí right to be represented and organized as tribal nations.It is crucial at this time in history for Native voices and narratives to emerge: consistently, intelligently well-reasoned and well-documented. From the arts to ceremonial life, from the economics to the culture, properly expressed Indian perspective is wanted. Very importantly, our cultural distinctiveness is the actual basis of our tribal sovereignty.We invite you to tell your perspective directly by writing your approaches and opinions on any of the range of issues that affect your region or impact all Native peoples nationally and internationally. ICT perspectives run generally from 600 to 1,000 words. They run in the newspaper and are posted permanently online. They can be reprinted or relayed electronically as press-tested materials. They can make a difference for your tribe, your organization and, most importantly, your most pressing cultural, political or economic issues.