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News Release

San Manuel Band of Mission Indians

Indian Country Today

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians has awarded a grant of $1 million to Indian Country Today, LLC, and will be the Founding Partner for a national news broadcast for and about American Indian and Alaska Native issues. The two-year grant will be used to hire talent and support production costs for a weekly, 30-minute national newscast that will be produced by the nonprofit news organization. 

“We are excited about this partnership with Indian Country Today, a news organization that has been a positive presence and influence throughout the country for decades,” said Lynn Valbuena, Chairwoman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. “Indian nations have a duty to help shape news and information about Native communities. This is a wonderful opportunity for Indian Country to participate in this important endeavor.” 

Indian Country Today’s television program will be a weekly look at the news and include reports from tribes across the country as well as from Indian Country Today bureaus in Washington, D.C., and Anchorage, Alaska. In preparing for the weekly newscast, Indian Country Today has been producing short video stories on its platform Indian Country Today recently launched a partnership with the Associated Press that includes distributing stories from our newsroom to readers around the world.

“This grant is so important because it so significantly advances our mission. Native journalists are writing the first draft of our own history,” said Mark Trahant, Shoshone-Bannock, editor of Indian Country Today. “We are also pleased that San Manuel is our first Founding Partner. The Tribe already has a legacy in media philanthropy and has demonstrated its commitment to changing the Indigenous narrative in positive directions.” 

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Indian Country Today is building a new kind of media company, a nonprofit enterprise designed to serve Indian Country with news, entertainment and opinion. One of the company’s goals is to showcase the talent from Indian Country by hiring more writers, editors, producers, graphic artists, photographers, as well as its business team. 

“The grant from San Manuel is incredibly generous, and the tribe’s strong support as Founding Partner will enable us to expand our coverage of Indigenous communities to a much broader audience,” said Indian Country Today President Karen Lincoln Michel, Ho-Chunk. “This marks a new beginning in our sustainability. We hope this investment by San Manuel will encourage other tribes, foundations, and companies, to support this critically important mission.” 

Indian Country Today is a nonprofit company, a multimedia news enterprise based in Phoenix, Arizona, at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. Indian Country Today produces daily digital stories and will soon launch a national newscast working in partnership with Arizona PBS and Vision Maker Media.

Indian Country Today has a goal of raising more than $10 million over the next five years for the television project. The news company also sells advertising on its platform and will produce a variety of other projects. 

About the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians is a federally-recognized Indian tribe located on the San Manuel Indian Reservation near Highland, California. San Manuel exercises its inherent sovereign right of self-governance and provides essential services for its citizens by building infrastructure, maintaining civil services and promoting social, economic and cultural development. As descendants of the Indigenous people of the San Bernardino highlands, passes, valleys, mountains and high deserts, the Serrano people of San Manuel have called this area home since time immemorial and are committed to remaining a productive partner in the San Bernardino region. 

About Indian Country Today

Mission statement: Indian Country Today is a spacious channel that serves Indigenous communities with news, entertainment, and opinion. Indian Country Today is based in Phoenix, Arizona, at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. It has a bureau in Washington, D.C., and in Anchorage, Alaska, at Alaska Pacific University. Indian Country Today, LLC, is owned by the nonprofit arm of the National Congress of American Indians and operates independently.