by Sarah Liese, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians
The Native American Journalism Fellowship taught me so much more than I ever could have imagined. As cliché as that sounds, I walked away from the 2017 Excellence in Journalism conference as a more confident individual. I gained lifelong friendships with other Native people from around the nation; I am now more conscious and curious about Native news.
Growing up as an urban Native, I was not always up to date on Indian Country, but now, I try to be as involved and informed as possible. With that being said, I hope to spread news from Indian Country, so others may get the chance to understand the issues and topics about Native communities.
Another benefit from the fellowship was that I got out of my shell and networked with acclaimed journalists. I received mentoring from an amazing professor and journalist, Dr. Victoria LaPoe. She put my work through the ringer, but Dr. LaPoe ultimately pushed me to be the best journalist I could be. Overall, I am so thankful to have gotten this opportunity to expand my skills in journalism and to meet so many talented people.
Currently, I am still enrolled at the University of Mississippi, working on my bachelor’s degree in both Journalism and English. I am an intern at the university’s English Department, where I help run their social media sites and essentially keep the Ole Miss community informed on the work of the students and local literary events. In the future, I hope to write both journalistically and creatively about Native culture and news. As well, I wish to give back to NAJA in some way because they have provided me with so much growth, and for that I am forever grateful.
The Native American Journalists Association strives to empower journalists and voices in Indian Country. Contact us to learn more about our members, access to our expert directory, and/or how to support student fellows like Sarah. If you have interest in applying to be a student fellow or a student fellow mentor, updated information is included on NAJA.com.