Kalle Benalle
Indian Country Today

Chris Aadland is joining the Indian Country Today team as a beat reporter covering Indigenous communities in the Pacific Northwest.

His hire is part of the collaboration with Underscore.news, a digital reporting team based in Portland, Oregon. He will be shared with the organization to produce daily news or spot stories as well as long-form enterprise stories. The goal is to increase the visibility of Indigenous communities in storytelling and news.

“I’m excited that I get to continue that work. I can't imagine being on any other kind of beat right now,” Aadland said, who is Red Lake and Leech Lake Bands of Ojibwe.

Since Aadland will be based in Portland, Oregon, with Underscore.news, he is looking forward to exploring, hiking and backpacking with his dog at the trails and public lands in the Pacific Northwest.

Aadland, through being a member of the Report for America Corps, was a tribal affairs reporter for the Montana Free Press and a Wind River Reservation and tribal affairs reporter for the Casper Star-Tribune. Additionally, he has experience working at the Wisconsin State Journal, Minneapolis Star Tribune and Minnesota Daily.

He won a 2019 Pacemaker award from the Wyoming Press Association for in-depth reporting.

He said he expects to cover climate change and how tribes are dealing with it in the Pacific Northwest. Specifically covering topics about natural resources, water, treaties and state policies affecting Indigenous people.

ICT editor Mark Trahant, Shoshone-Bannock, said the news organization partnership is important.

“First it opens the door to better coverage of Indigenous issues in the Northwest. Second, it creates opportunity; it's a good job. And I love partnering with other news organizations because it teaches us all to work together to be better storytellers,” Trahant said.

“Underscore.news is honored to partner with Indian Country Today. Together, we'll produce more original coverage of Indigenous communities and contribute to a growing national visibility for Indian Country," said Jackleen de La Harpe, executive director of Underscore.news.

It is anticipated that this will be a long-term staff position in 2022, depending on funding.

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