Top 10 editorials of 2020

Shandiin Herrera is a citizen of the Navajo Nation, and a Lead for America Hometown Fellow working as a policy analyst and project consultant with the Oljato Chapter of the Navajo Nation.

Vincent Schilling

From COVID to politics in the Trump era and serving as a Native journalist in Washington, D.C., this year’s op-eds gave Indian Country a lot to think about

Vincent Schilling
Indian Country Today

A huge part of our digital newspaper is amplifying the voice of our readers and giving space for discourse. This is where opinion-editorials, or op-eds, come in.

This year’s top spot on opinion-editorials goes to Dr. Christine Ami, a Diné College associate professor and Navajo cultural arts program grant manager. Ami wrote a widely shared piece titled the “Politics of Distrust: The Navajo Nation’s use of propaganda devices to recruit participants for COVID-19 trial vaccine.”

Dr. Christine Ami
Dr. Christine Ami

Ami said her concerns stemmed from her position as an educator and as a Navajo mother and wife. She asserted that “remaining silent would make me complacent to the teachings I have been raised with and that I hope to instill in my children and my students.”

Throughout the year, opinions came from several perspectives and cited a plethora of concerns.

Angelique W. EagleWoman, Wambdi A. Was’teWinyan, a law professor and tribal judge, called out the National Association for Law Placement for excluding certain women of color, including Native Americans.

Political opinions varied as seen in our third and fourth most popular op-eds. One lauds President Donald Trump’s “groundbreaking policy vision for Indian Country,” and the other states “Trump must respect sovereignty.”

Indian Country Today’s Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, who’s #YDL column (YDL is short for the Navajo word Yáadiláh) detailed her experiences in Washington, D.C., as a Native female reporter, received a lot of positive feedback and shares from our readers.

Indian Country Today’s Jourdan Bennett-Begaye in the West Wing
Indian Country Today’s Jourdan Bennett-Begaye in the West Wing

Shandiin Herrera wrote an inspirational op-ed about her journey to accept her diploma at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. And Rosebud Sioux Tribe President Rodney Bordeaux detailed how the “United States must deal with Indian nations as sovereigns, not as a ‘race.’”

Fawn Sharp and Matthew Randazzo V. supported several Sioux tribes’ rights to impose curfews and checkpoints in the midst of COVID, and Luella N. Brien detailed a heartfelt stance on the disappearance and death of Native teen Selena Not Afraid. The last of the 10 is the interesting account by Dwain Camp of the Ponca Nation, who wrote of his experiences during Wounded Knee in 1973.

1. Politics of Distrust: The Navajo Nation’s use of propaganda devices to recruit participants for COVID-19 trial vaccine

2. Native women law students excluded from so-called “Women of Color in Law Schools” study

3. President Trump’s groundbreaking policy vision for Indian Country

4. Trump must respect sovereignty when he visits Mt. Rushmore on July 3

Frazier, Bear Runner and Bordeaux

5. #YDL … Being a female Native reporter in Washington

6. 'Shiyazhi ... when are you coming home?'

7. Follow the Constitution and treat tribes as nations (not as a race)

8. The Sioux Sue – and lives depend on the outcome

Fawn Sharp
NCAI President Fawn Sharp (Courtesy image)

9. Remembering Selena can heal our hearts and souls

10. We remember Wounded Knee 1973 ‘WK 73’

Harlington Wood, Assistant U.S. Attorney General, third row center without hat, is escorted into Wounded Knee by Indians of the AIM on March 13, 1973. Second row, left, is Russell Means, one of the AIM leaders and Carter Camp, another leader walks beside Wood. Wood was sent to the reservation in an effort to find a solution to the problem.
Harlington Wood, Assistant U.S. Attorney General, third row center without hat, is escorted into Wounded Knee by Indians of the AIM on March 13, 1973. Second row, left, is Russell Means, one of the AIM leaders and Carter Camp, another leader walks beside Wood. Wood was sent to the reservation in an effort to find a solution to the problem.

Related:
Indian Country year in review: Major moments
Indian Country Today’s top 20 stories of 2020

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Vincent Schilling, Akwesasne Mohawk, is associate editor at Indian Country Today. He enjoys creating media, technology, computers, comics, and movies. He is a film critic and writes the #NativeNerd column. Twitter @VinceSchilling. TikTok @VinceSchilling. Email: vschilling@indiancountrytoday.com.

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