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The Other in our own homelands

IllumiNative Executive Director Crystal Echo Hawk joins us to talk about their 'Something Else' survey. And it's Friday, so that means another Reporters' Roundtable is on the way.
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Crystal Echo Hawk is the executive director of IllumiNative and she's talking to us about a survey that the 'Something Else' mistake has prompted.

Fridays is our Reporters Roundtable where we check-in with reporters who are covering Indian country. The journalists on today's show have been busy covering the elections and of course, the coronavirus.

Journalists include Lori Edmo who has worked as the Sho-Ban News editor for more than 25 years and Wesley Early, the news director for KOTZ am radio in Kotzebue Alaska.

Some quotes from the show

Crystal Echo Hawk:

"I think it was outrage, it was shock. I think that was sort of the reaction across Indian Country that rapidly turned into some wicked classic Native humor with the memes that came out of that. And that's our resiliency as Native people, but I think really outraged. I think it's 2020 and we need to demand that the media do a better job in its reporting and how it's reporting on people of color. And it's just, it's no longer acceptable to consistently erase Native people in data and lump us into these other or now something else categories"

"No, I think it's a step down. It really felt like a slap in the face. And I know for any other groups that were kind of put into that something else category, it came off very derogatory. It was so clear, I think not only to Native people, but people across the United States, there was such a swift response, but I think particularly as Native people, we had a historic turnout this year. And as we're seeing the final results really coming in, we are understanding the impact and power of the Native vote, particularly in Arizona, that's widely been reported now. But also looking at Nevada and Wisconsin, there's great data coming out of Wisconsin about the impact of the Native vote. So to see us reduced to a something else category when we really made a big difference in the election, I think that was the extra rub for Indian Country."

Lori Edmo:

"What's really great about it is the message that they spread was really informative. They talked about a lot of the issues that people of color face and with Rudy, he talks about the issues that veterans face since he is a veteran himself. And then with Paulette, this was her second time she ran, the first time she ran for the governor of Idaho. And fortunately I was able to cover that too, when she ran for that office. So a lot of the message that she had continued in her run for the US Senate."

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"Rudy is also really well versed because he's worked back in DC and he worked for the National Indian Gaming Association along with working back in one of the congressional offices. So he is really familiar with what happens in DC. And so I think he'll either run for office again or else he'll also would be great to be considered in the Biden administration."

Wesley Early:

"The Biden campaign, when they won the election on Saturday, they released a victory video. 

And I remember seeing on Twitter, a bunch of people sort of re-tweeting it and saying, wow, I feel so, you know, I feel so proud. I feel so seen. So I just thought it was a nice, you know, a nice video and I watched it and about maybe 29 seconds in, you see the, the, the mountain range near the cook inlet in Alaska. And I recognize Jackie Lambert, who before I came to Kotzebue, she was really the only person I knew from Kotzebue. And I looked at the screen, like I kinda looks like Jackie Lambert and she was dancing. And I go on Twitter and I see, Oh, that was her. So we took a little screen capture of it and put it out on Twitter, like, the Biden videos, featuring people from all over the country, like this young woman from Kotzebue who's Indigenous dancing, in her traditional regalia.

It was kind of a surprise. And I knew Jackie for about maybe four years now because she used to volunteer at our radio station in Anchorage, and we had interviewed her for 49 voices, which was the basic premise. It was a radio show where we tried to put every Alaskan on the radio. And so they were these two minute can self-contained profiles where people just talked about their life in Alaska. And so Jackie got featured there and I would see her around town and Anchorage. And then when I came up to Kotzebue I found out that the Lambert family was a pretty prominent snow machine racing family up here and I knew Jackie. And so it was just kind of fun to see all of these people from Kotzebue looking at this video and going, wow, little Jackie from Kotzebue in the Biden video. When I talked to Jackie about it she basically said like the little kid in her that used to traditional dance at the local museum. She was just like, whoa, just super excited to see yourself."

"Maybe, I think that she's just excited to be able to show the traditional dancing that she's been doing her whole life. You get spotlighted in Alaska pretty infrequently, and to get spotlighted on a national level, I think a lot of people felt seen. When they saw that video even though it was only like two, three seconds for a lot of Indigenous kids growing up in Alaska, a lot of Indigenous adults who maybe didn't think that they would see themselves in this way. The idea that the Joe Biden administration, in his own words ,is going to be representing everybody. And so highlighting Alaska is Indigenous people, Indigenous people in general, but like specifically the Indigenous people of Alaska, I think really really resonated with a lot of people."

Patty Talahongva, Hopi, is executive producer of Indian Country Today. She is also the anchor of the weekday newscast. Follow her on Twitter: @WiteSpider.

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