NAJA Conference Schedule

National Native Media Conference participants also have the opportunity to sign up for available Native American Nutrition Conference workshops at:

(Updated 7-11-2019) This is a tentative conference agenda and is subject to change.

Sunday, Sept. 15

Pre-Conference Workshops

7 a.m. – 8 p.m. NAJA-CNAN Registration Open

8 a.m. -12 p.m. – Getting Smart About Education Data

Presenters: Joshua N. López, Education Writers Association

On the education beat, numbers are everywhere. And thanks to hard-working reporters, so are education stories made possible by data. From graduation rates to gun violence, data journalism is revealing truths about issues that affect Indigenous populations around the country. Offered by the national Education Writers Association, this workshop will help participants make data a key part of their coverage. Attendees will improve their ability to acquire, manage, analyze, and present data on education while building their overall data journalism skills. Instruction will cover such topics as collecting, inputting and cleaning data; performing statistical functions; and exploring data visualization techniques.

8 – 5 p.m. IJNR: SMSC Conservation + Dream of Wild Health Garden Tour

Presenters: Dave Spratt, Institute for Journalism & Natural Resources


Environment stories can encompass science, economics, culture, human interest – or all of the above. Join the Institute for Journalism & Natural Resources for a day of hands-on journalism training with real-world subjects. Following a panel session, participants will head into the field to see Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community conservation projects first-hand: From a community organic farm and the largest green roof in Minnesota, to the recently restored Arctic Lake and an ambitious long-term project to restore hardwood forests and hunting grounds, our hosts will show us some of their work focused on building a more sustainable and resilient community. Participants will also visit Dream of Wild Health, a farm focused on promoting Indigenous food sovereignty by growing traditional foods and training the next generation of farmers.

12 – 5 p.m. PRX: Podcasting for Reach

Presenters: Kerry Donahue, Director of Training, PRX; Lindsay Abrams, Training Lead, PRX; Allison Herrera, Correspondent, PRI’s The World & NAJA member; Umbreen Bhatti, Former Director of KQED’s Innovation Lab

Podcasting is booming. More than half of us have heard at least one, and one in five listen regularly. There’s a good chance your organization is thinking of starting a podcast, or has at least wondered about it. You may be wondering, if we start a podcast, how do we make it stand out from the more than 650k shows out there? This interactive training session, led by PRX’s podcast training team, will help you sort out some key early decisions you will want to make, and identify ways your news organization can create a podcast that’s meaningful for your audience.

12 – 4 p.m. Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) / NAJA Indigenous Investigative Collective (IIC) Workshop

Presenters: Tristan Ahtone, NAJA / High Country News, Francine Compton, APTN; and Facilitator Jorge Luis Sierra, Border Center for Journalists and Bloggers

6 – 8 p.m. NAJA-CNAN Opening Night Reception

Relax and mingle with attendees, members and guests of NAJA and CNAN for a joint opening night reception with local fare and Indigenous foods. All registered conference attendees from NAJA and CNAN are welcome to attend.

Keynote: Norma Kassi, Co-Research Director, Canadian Mountain Network; Co-Founder and Director of Indigenous Collaboration, Arctic Institute of Community-Based Research

Monday, Sept. 16

7 a.m. to 3 p.m. NAJA-CNAN Registration Open

7 – 8 a.m. NAJA-CNAN Breakfast

8 – 8:30 a.m. NAJA-CNAN Opening Ceremony

Drum group: Iron Boy, Prior Lake, MN
Honor Guard: Sisseton-Wahpeton Kit Fox Society, South Dakota
Jesse Chase, Chair, Seeds of Native Health, Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community; Joan Gabel, President, University of Minnesota; Tristan Ahtone (Kiowa), President, Native American Journalists Association; Nikki Farago (Seneca), Assistant Commissioner of Children and Family Services, Minnesota Department of Human Services

9-10:15 a.m. Finding Audiences for Indigenous Food Coverage – Podcasts

Presenters: Moderator: Andi Murphy, host and producer of the Toasted Sister Podcast; Elizabeth Hoover, author and fellow at Brown University; Denisa Livingston, Slow Food International and Diné Community Advocacy Alliance

The Native food sovereignty movement takes place beyond just the kitchen. Native chefs are showcasing Indigenous ingredients across the country and across the world, advocates are teaching Native people the importance of traditional diets and tribes are using their land, resources and sovereignty to bring back and protect important Indigenous foods. This session will explore social media and other technologies for informing food sovereignty strategy and for reaching new audiences.

10:30 – 11:45 a.m. Pitch Perfect

Presenters: Moderator: Anna V. Smith and Graham Brewer, High Country News; Chiara Sottile, NBC News; Jason DeRose, NPR

Learn how to pitch for national and regional outlets with representatives from High Country News, NBC News, Teen Vogue and NPR. Session will also address negotiating for ethical coverage of Indian Country with mainstream newsrooms.

10:30 – 11:45 a.m. Are Urban Education Systems Serving Native Students?

Presenters: Kurrinn Abrams (Seneca Nation of Indians), Education Specialist, National Indian Education Association; Katrina Boone, Senior Analyst, Bellweather Educations Partners; Terri Bissonette (Gnoozhekaaning Anishinaabe), Founder, American Indian Academy of Denver (invited); Leroy Saiz, Adjunct Professor of Ethnic Studies, Colorado State University (invited)

More than 7 of 10 American Indians live in urban settings, yet Native students are too often rendered invisible in urban schools. The National Indian Education Association (NIEA) studied urban communities across the country to assess how their schools are measuring up for Native students. Join NIEA researchers, Native education experts and school leaders as they discuss the barriers to access, and opportunities for success, that urban systems are providing their Native students—and how Native education advocates can work to change the game. Attendees will be provided with an assets-based assessment tool to better understand the education landscape in your community.

12 – 2 p.m. NAJA Membership Luncheon and Business Meeting (Ticketed Event)

Presenters: Rebecca Landsberry (Muscogee Creek Nation), NAJA Executive Director and Tristan Ahtone (Kiowa), NAJA President

Join leaders and fellow members of the Native American Journalists Association for lunch and networking during the annual business meeting on Monday, Sept. 16 from 12-2 p.m. Attendees will review NAJA’s accomplishments over the past year, and the organization will present the 2019 NAJA-Medill Milestone Achievement Award. An informal meet-and-greet with NAJA Board of Directors candidates will follow. The keynote speaker will be Tim Giago, NAJA founder and editor of Native Sun News Today.

Conference attendees must have a ticket to attend this event. NAJA members may RSVP for free. Tickets are available for $50 each for non-members and may be purchased online in advance or on site at the registration desk (limited availability).

2:30 – 4:30 p.m. Native People Count: Why the 2020 Census Matters for Native Agriculture, Food, Health, and Voting

Presenters: Moderator: Dan Lewerenz (Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska), Staff Attorney at the Native American Rights Fund and former NAJA President; James Tucker, Attorney at Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP; Blake Jackson (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma), Policy Officer and Staff Attorney at the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative; Sonya Tetnowski (Makah Indian Tribe), Executive Director of the Indian Health Center of Santa Clara Valley and Vice President of the National Council of Urban Indian Health (Invited)

This moderated panel discussion will examine the importance of the upcoming 2020 Census for both on-reservation and off-reservation Indians, with an eye toward generating story ideas that NAJA members can take back to their communities. The Census touches on almost every aspect of American life, and is particularly important for programs funded by Congress, including Native programs. Our panelists will both cover the basics, and talk in-depth about how the Census will affect Native people and communities.

6:30 – 8 p.m. Joint NAJA-CNAN Dinner + The Sioux Chef

Relax and mingle with attendees, members and guests of NAJA and CNAN for a joint dinner with local fare and Indigenous foods. All registered conference attendees from NAJA and CNAN are welcome to attend.

Presenters: Lea Zeise (Oneida Nation of Wisconsin), Intertribal Agriculture Council; Keynote: Sean Sherman, founder of The Sioux Chef

Tuesday, Sept. 17

7 a.m. – 3 p.m. NAJA-CNAN Registration

7 – 8 a.m. NAJA-CNAN Breakfast

9 – 10 a.m. OsiyoTV: Creating Award-Winning Video Content for the Cherokee Nation

Presenters: Jennifer Loren, Executive Producer, Host and Senior Manager at Cherokee Nation Businesses (Cherokee); Amanda Clinton, Vice President of Communications at Cherokee Nation Businesses (Cherokee); Colleen Thurston, Producer (Choctaw); Jeremy Charles, Owner FireThief Productions (Cherokee), Maggie Cunningham, Producer (Pawnee)

“Osiyo, Voices of the Cherokee People,” is a documentary-style show and winner of several journalism and documentary film awards. These include five Heartland Emmy Awards and best short documentary at the 2018 LA Skinsfest. The program is 100 percent funded by the tribe. In this program, we teach participants how we created the show, how we are expanding our content and distribution and the steps we take to protect content from political influence.

9 – 10 a.m. Reporting on Indigenous Art

Presenters: Moderator: Tara Gatewood, Native America Calling and featuring representatives from local galleries and Indigenous artist community in the Twin Cities

This session will build skills on reporting different Native American art disciplines and will call upon the booming art scene of the Twin Cities for first person perspective. When Indigenous stories start to surface from Native artists, discussions on culture, politics, social justice, food sovereignty and current events start to bloom. Attendees will hear from artists about their intent and message to change thinking or provide space for Indigenous people to see their own reflection in the world and cover what happens when the Native perspective is missing in curation and leads to insensitive displays. Journalists will be encouraged to consider art as different lens to cover the daily news grind of politics, law, social justice and health.

10:15 – 11:15 a.m. CATV/FNX: TV Studio in a Box…or Smartphone

Presenters: Darren Brown, Producer and Host, Cheyenne Arapaho Television (CATV) and Frank Blanquet, Producer / Director, First Nations Experience Television / KVCR Television

Everyone knows how to “point and shoot,” but there’s SO MUCH more to learn. Hear from two long-time TV professionals who have kinda figured it out. Participants will learn best practices regarding video and audio recording with smartphones or other mobile devices and how to use low-cost options for shooting, editing and producing broadcast quality stories for their organizations.

10:15 – 11:15 a.m. ASU: Covering Health Disparities in Indian Country

Presenters: ASU Cronkite School Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Professor of Practice

Health disparities between Native communities and the larger U.S. population are clear: American Indians and Alaska Natives have shorter life expectancies and higher rates of many health conditions. This workshop will offer tools and tactics for reporting on these disparities, including the use of health data, ethical considerations and solutions journalism.

11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. NAJA-CNAN Joint Lunch

Presenters: Comments by Lea Zeise (Oneida Nation of Wisconsin), Intertribal Agriculture Council; and a personal story of healing through re-connecting with traditional foods.

Mingle with attendees, members and guests of NAJA and CNAN for a joint lunch featuring local fare and Indigenous foods. All registered conference attendees from NAJA and CNAN are welcome to attend.

1 – 2 p.m.  Fond du Lac Ojibwemowining: Engaging Indigenous Youth and Communities through Media

Presenters: Lyz Jaakola, Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College Ojibwemowining Center Director; Jeremy “JG” Gardner, Studio Coordinator, and local Anishinaabe youth

Participants will learn about media produced by tribal college students and staff. Campus news videos, newspapers, ITV courses, posters, Facebook Live streams and other social media skills development happens on campus in a variety of modes. Students produce events and media with or for campus programs such as FDLTCC’s Environmental Institute (Food Sovereignty & Traditional Ecological Knowledge), law enforcement, athletics, human services and American Indian Studies (cultural teachings). Presenters will discuss ways that participants can use mobile devices and smart phones for immediate and polished media production.

1 – 2 p.m. Media Relations and the Indian Health Service

Presenters: Josh Barnett, Deputy Director of Public Affairs, Indian Health Service (Citizen Potawatomi Nation) and Tony Aaron Fuller (Colville Confederated Tribes), Public Affairs Specialist, Indian Health Service

The public affairs staff at the Indian Health Service works with tribal media outlets throughout Indian Country as well as local and national media serving the general population to provide the information on the physical, mental, social, and spiritual health of American Indians and Alaska Natives. In this workshop, participants will learn how to access information, set up media interviews, and meet deadlines with the help of the IHS public affairs team. Participants will receive hands-on training and access information from the federal health care provider across environmental health, food safety, and water quality programs.

2 – 3 p.m. NAJA Exhibitor Exclusive

Stop in for coffee and refreshments in the 2019 National Native Media and Nutrition Expo. Attendees can recharge, pick up swag and chat with exhibitors. Looking for a new gig? Participants are encouraged to bring copies of their resumes and meet with recruiters from mainstream and tribal media outlets across the U.S., looking to hire Indigenous talent.

3 – 4:30 p.m. Film Screening: Gather – Covering Indigenous Food Sovereignty

Presenters: A-dae Briones, Twila Cassadore, Sanjay Rawl and Kim Baca

As more journalists enter the realm of covering Indigenous food sovereignty issues, coverage is beyond the basic business story. First Nations Development Institute, a nonprofit investing in and creating innovating models that strengthen Indigenous asset control and support economic development, and Illumine Films uncover the complexities of covering food security and control of Native agriculture systems using examples from the groups’ documentary film and journalism project, Gather.

5 – 6:30 p.m. NAJA-CNAN Poster Session and Reception

Mingle with attendees, members and guests of NAJA and CNAN for a joint reception featuring local fare and Indigenous appetizers. All registered conference attendees from NAJA and CNAN are welcome to attend this event.

6:30 – 8 p.m. Film Screening: Growing Native

Presenters: Stacey Thunder (Red Lake and Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe), host of the “Great Lakes” episode and Shirley Sneve (Sicangu Lakota), Executive Producer, will moderate a panel discussion on using the series in community engagement.

Growing Native is a four-part television series focusing on reclaiming traditional knowledge and food ways to address critical issues of health and wellness, the environment and human rights. Growing Native will focus on tribes, stories and events from four geographic regions, including Alaska, Oklahoma and Northwest and Great Lakes regions. Across the country, Native people are regaining health and strength through the recovery and revitalization of traditional knowledge systems of land, language, traditional arts and health. All registered conference attendees from NAJA and CNAN are welcome to attend this event.

8 – 10:30 p.m. NAJA TwoShoes Pool Tournament (RSVP / Ticketed Event)

2019 Two Shoes Pool Tourney Logo

Join fellow NAJA members for the second annual Two Shoes Pool Tourney, a fundraising drive in honor of Minnie Two Shoes, on Tuesday, Sept. 17 at Shooters Billiard Club & Pub, located at 1934 State Hwy 13, in Burnsville, MN 55337 from 8-10 p.m. The format will be an 8-ball tournament with brackets for singles and doubles competitions. Brackets will be created on site at the event, based on pre-registration and at-the-door attendance. All proceeds will benefit the NAJA Native American Journalism Fellowship (NAJF) and Pathways Scholarships.

Transportation is not provided and the pool hall is a 30-minute Uber, Lyft or taxi ride away, so carpooling is encouraged. Participants do not have to be a registered conference attendee to compete in or attend this event. Tickets are available in advance through Eventbrite or at the door for $50 each.

Wednesday, Sept. 18

7 – 11 a.m. NAJA-CNAN Registration Open

7-8 a.m. NAJA-CNAN Breakfast

8-9:15 a.m. Solutions Journalism Network: What’s Working in Indian Country?

Presenters: Sarah Gustavus, Solutions Journalism Network and Graham Lee Brewer (Cherokee Nation), High Country News

The solutions journalism approach offers tools and strategies for reporters to tell meaningful stories in their community that highlight resilience and strength while pushing back against the dominant, negative narratives in mainstream media about Native Americans and Alaska Natives. Participants will start with a brief overview of the solutions journalism approach and the tools and questions that will help journalists strengthen their research and reporting. The majority of the session will take place in small groups with time to give and receive feedback about how to overcome challenges related to data, records requests and sourcing that will help reporters pursue rigorous stories that examine responses to problems across Indian Country. Participants should come with a short list of issues or ideas they might want to explore through solutions reporting.

9-10:15 a.m. Mythbusters: Free Press in Indian Country Episode

Presenters: Charlie Clark (Choctaw), Choctaw PR, Jodi Rave Spotted Bear (Mandan-Hidatsa and Lakota) Founder / Director, Indigenous Media Freedom Alliance and Angel Ellis (Muscogee Creek), Reporter, Mvskoke Media

How possible is the reality of independent journalism? Let’s share experiences and successes with free press experts from across Indian Country. Participants will help each other find workable solutions toward obtaining freedom of the press in Indian Country.

10:30-11:45 a.m. ASU + ICT: Student-Powered Coverage of Indian Country

Presenters: Moderator: Rebecca Blatt, ASU Cronkite School; Mark Trahant (Shoshone-Bannock), Editor, Indian Country Today; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Professor of Practice and Taylor Notah (Navajo Nation), Senior Editor, Turning Points Magazine

Students at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication produce daily coverage of Indian Country , distributed regionally and nationally by partner media organizations including Indian Country Today. Learn how this model can be adapted and adopted to provide deep experience for students and build capacity for Indian Country coverage.

6-7 p.m. NAJA President’s Reception (Ticketed Event)

Join NAJA leadership from 6-7 p.m., to enjoy light appetizers and refreshments during the NAJA President’s Reception with Tristan Ahtone and the NAJA Board of Directors. Attendees will also get a sneak peek of the NAJA Silent Auction.

7-10 p.m. NAJA National Native Media Awards Banquet (Ticketed Event)

Celebrate local Indigenous culture and the work of fellow NAJA members across Indian Country during the annual National Native Media Awards Banquet on Wednesday, Sept. 18 from 7-10 p.m. Attendees can bid on Native American art, vacation packages and tribal items beginning at 7 p.m. All proceeds will support scholarships for Native American students pursuing degrees in media. The Native Pride Dancers out of St. Paul, Minnesota will provide the evening’s entertainment.

Conference attendees must have a ticket to attend this event. Tickets are $85 each and may be purchased online in advance or on site at the registration desk (check for availability).