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Indian Country Today president Karen Lincoln Michel joins the show to discuss what the future holds for this 40 year old news outlet. And Madeleine Alakkariallak is on the newscast to talk about the need for more Indigenous broadcasters. Plus Savannah Maher tells us what she's seen change as the coronavirus continues.

This year Indian Country Today celebrates 40 years of bringing you news from a Native perspective. The company has gone through some various changes. Joining us today to talk about the latest change is our president and Ho-Chunk citizen Karen Lincoln Michel.

Plus we have someone who dedicated her career to bringing news to Inuit people. For 24 years Madeleine Alakkariallak, who is Inuit, has worked in broadcasting in Canada at the CBC. She joins us today to talk about her career and the need for more Indigenous broadcast storytellers.

And Savannah Maher, who is Mashpee Wampanoag, is the Indigenous Affairs Reporter at KUNM-FM in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Prior to that she worked at Wyoming Public Radio and covered tribes in that area. She's joins the show to tell us what big differences she sees in Indian Country with respect to Covid-19.

A slice of our Indigenous world

  • The federal judge in South Dakota’s District Court is retiring and he says he needs to be replaced with a federal judge who is culturally competent in Lakota culture and history. 
  • The federal government has approved a revenue-sharing agreement between the Catawba Indian Nation and the state of North Carolina. 
  • The billions of dollars in funding for Native Americans under the latest COVID-19 relief bill is welcome say supporters. 
  • The president at Haskell Indian Nations University is being accused by an academic watchdog group of restricting the free speech rights of the faculty.
  • An Indigenous tribe in Australia is offering an alternative to gluten and in the process it’s also creating much needed jobs.

You'll find more details on these stories at the top of today's newscast.

Some quotes from today's show.

Karen Michel:

"We've been working toward this day for quite a while. And so some of the biggest changes are that we want to expand more into broadcasting. As you said, we've had a long history as a newspaper and then a magazine, digital site, and then now we're expanding into broadcasting. So we been at this for nearly a year now. And so I think we're going to be focusing on trying to get more stations to pick us up."

"We are trying to find out more about each one of our segments of our audience to try to give them more of what they want, more like customized content and to be in touch with them more. So I think you're going to see more of that. And of course we are looking at just all of our systems and how we can raise the quality level of everything that we do. So those are some of the things that we're going to be focusing on. That's coming up."

Madeleine Alakkariallak:

"I started with the Canadian broadcasting corporation in 1997 as a single mom of two little girls. And housing is scarce up here. We have a horrible housing crisis and this job that was available as a reporter came up and it came with housing. And unfortunately that's how it started though. I've always been curious and wanted to become a journalist. Growing up, this was how I got into it."

"And it saved my life. It was a job of my dreams and we now have a home my daughters and I and that was a long time ago, but I started in radio. It feels like I started at climbing up as a reporter and then as a afternoon host and then morning show host in two languages in English and Inuktitut. Inuktitut being my first language."

Savannah Maher:

"What I've been thinking about in the last couple of weeks is just of course the pandemic has taken an enormous toll on tribal communities and in fact, Native people have been more likely than anyone else in America to get really sick or to die from COVID-19. And that, that of course has been devastating. But we've also been seeing tribal governments really being leaders in pandemic response."

"From the very beginning when we were seeing tribes implement some of the strictest lockdowns and some of the earliest lockdowns in the country. To tribes that were rolling out coronavirus testing faster than their surrounding communities and some cases much, much faster. And now with the arrival of the vaccine, of course, in the last several months, we've seen tribal governments yet again be very far ahead of the curve in vaccinating their citizens with some tribal communities now approaching herd immunity levels of vaccination, which is pretty incredible." 

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Mark Trahant, Shoshone-Bannock, is editor of Indian Country Today. On Twitter: @TrahantReports Trahant is based in Phoenix. 

Patty Talahongva, Hopi, is executive producer of Indian Country Today. Follow her on Twitter: @WiteSpider

Karen Michel, Ho-Chunk, is president of Indian Country Today. Follow her on Twitter: @karenmichel

Indian Country Today is a nonprofit news organization. Will you support our work? All of our content is free. There are no subscriptions or costs. And we have hired more Native journalists in the past year than any news organization ─ and with your help we will continue to grow and create career paths for our people. Support Indian Country Today for as little as $10.