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Chris Aadland
Underscore News and Indian Country Today

The Native American Journalists Association has recognized ICT and its staff as among the best for its work highlighting Indigenous communities and issues last year by naming it the winner of nearly a dozen awards as the Indigenous-led newsroom continues to expand.

On Monday, NAJA announced ICT as winners of 11 National Native Media awards across nine categories, including recognizing it as “Best Digital Publication” among large Indigenous publications. 

NAJA has also recently named ICT as a recipient of the 2022 Richard LaCourse Award for Investigative Journalism. ICT won that award for its work documenting the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects in Indian Country as part of a collective that also included High Country News, National Native News and Searchlight New Mexico.

“It's so great to see our team honored for the work we do everyday,” said ICT editor-at-large and former editor Mark Trahant, Shoshone-Bannock. “ICT's journalists are amazing. And I love that others are recognizing that talent.”


ICT’s staff writer Mary Annette Pember, Red Cliff Ojibwe, and special correspondent Meghan Sullivan, Koyukon Athabascan, also won second and third place in the Excellence in Beat Reporting category, Pember was recognized for her coverage of a controversial oil pipeline project on Ojibwe treaty lands in northern Minnesota and Sullivan for her coverage of Indigenous policy questions and solutions in the Arctic.

NAJA also recognized ICT reporters, partner newsrooms and editors for environmental issues coverage, feature photography, feature writing and editorial writing.

ICT’s newscast team wasn’t left out, either. The ICT newscast took second place in the Best Newscast category for a broadcast that included coverage of cooking traditions, Olympic gold medalist Jim Thorpe and the award-winning television comedy and drama, Rez Dogs. ICT’s newscast also won third place in the TV General Excellence category.

The national newscast, which just recently announced the addition of new staff members, has steadily evolved and expanded its distribution, which is now broadcast on 75 percent of PBS stations across the country.

NAJA recognized ICT in the following categories within its Professional Division 3 category.

Professional Division III – Print / Online
Print / Online – Best News Story
Third Place
Meghan Sullivan
Supreme Court hears Alaska Native corporations case

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Print / Online – Best Feature Photo
First Place
Dalton Walker
400 years later, ‘we did not vanish’

Print / Online – Best Environmental Coverage
First Place
Mary Annette Pember
A pipeline runs through it
Third Place
Meghan Sullivan
ANCSA at 50: Berries, wildlife and toxic lands

Print / Online – Excellence in Beat Reporting
Second Place
Mary Annette Pember
A pipeline runs through it

Print / Online – Best Digital Publication
First Place
Mary Annette Pember, Meghan Sullivan, Joaqlin Estus, Kolby Kickingwoman, Kalle Benallie, Chris Aadland, Carina Dominguez, Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, Dianna Hunt, Dalton Walker
Enbridge, ANCSA, Disenrolled Nooksack, Homelands in peril and Portraits from the pandemic

TV – General Excellence
Third Place
Aliyah Chavez, Kaitlin Boysel, Carina Dominguez, Mark Trahant, Patty Talahongva, Shirley Sneve, Maxwell Montour, R. Vincent Moniz, Jr.

2022 NAJA Richard LaCourse Award For Investigative Journalism
Indigenous Investigative Collective – High Country News, ICT, National Native News and Searchlight New Mexico

NAJA, which advocates for and supports Indigenous journalists while promoting increased and improved coverage of Indigenous issues by non-Native journalists, whittled about 750 entries to 200 winners for its annual journalism awards. Winners were selected across categories for student journalist and media, non-Native journalists and outlets and Indigenous journalists and newsrooms.

The organization also hands out some other special, major awards. This year, NAJA announced Cheryl McKenzie, executive director of APTN National News and Current Affairs in Canada, as the recipient of the 2022 NAJA-Medill Milestone Achievement Award and named the Navajo Times as the winner of the 2022 Elias Boudinot Free Press Award.

NAJA will recognize the winners during a banquet on Aug. 27 during its annual National Native Media Conference in Phoenix. 

New ICT and Underscore logo

This story is co-published by and Indian Country Today, a news partnership that covers Indigenous communities in the Pacific Northwest. Funding is provided in part by Meyer Memorial Trust.

Chris Aadland, Red Lake and Leech Lake Ojibwe, is a reporter for Indian Country Today and Follow him on Twitter: @cjaadland