Native American Journalists Association members voted to approve this policy during the Sept. 27-Oct. 8, 2021 election.
In 2020, the NAJA Board of Directors began researching and identifying aspects of its membership policy that limited the scope of its membership to the United States and Canada.
In line with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights for Indigenous Peoples and other global efforts, NAJA aims to represent Indigenous journalists around the globe — and seeks membership policy language that is inclusive and representative of the diversity within Indigenous journalism.
Membership within the Native American Journalists Association is not exclusive, and the organization welcomes Indigenous journalists and allies to amplify Indigenous voices. NAJA expects all members to honestly and accurately represent their identity at all times and in all settings. NAJA recognizes that Indigenous identity is complex, and should be represented with nuance and authenticity. A NAJA membership does not verify for any member’s claim of Indigeneity, nor should it be used as a credential in support of those claims. NAJA membership cannot be used in place of tribal enrollment proof, federal certificate of Indian blood, Indigenous ancestral or genealogical information, or modern kinship verification from tribal leaders or community members. NAJA does not provide press credentials to members as journalists, nor should members directly represent themselves as working for NAJA. Who can be a member? NAJA is a dynamic platform for Indigenous voices and free press. Our members are represented in media and mainstream news outlets. The organization was created to serve Indigenous journalism professionals but also serves a broader journalism and communications industry. Everyone -- Indigenous and non-Indigenous -- is welcome to join us on this mission. Any individual claiming to be an Indigenous member of NAJA is expected to be able to produce tribal enrollment proof, federal certificate of Indian blood, Indigenous ancestral or genealogical information, or modern kinship verification from tribal leaders or community members, upon request from a news media outlet. Individual Membership ● Professional ○ Indigenous journalist: Indigenous member who works in gathering, writing, editing, publishing, photographing and dissemination of news as through, but not limited to, a newspaper, magazine, radio, television station, or digital publication owned and operated by a news media outlet. ○ Associate: Non-Indigenous members or non-journalist members who work in related fields to journalism, or work for organizations that serve journalism interests with a partial focus on Indigenous communities, peoples, issues. ● Student: Indigenous and non-Indigenous high school and college students may become Student members of NAJA. ○ Student (Indigenous) ○ Student (Associate) Additionally, Individual members may renew their membership on an annual or lifetime basis. Institutional Memberships ● Indigenous Media: The Indigenous Media Membership includes media that is 51 percent or more Indigenous-owned. Benefits for this classification include membership listing for up to two people within the organization. ● Academic: The Academic Membership includes post-secondary learning institutions. Benefits for this classification include membership listing for up to two people within the organization. ● Nonprofit (Excluding non-Indigenous government agencies and/or non-academic): The Nonprofit Membership includes tax exempt institutions, such as Indigenous government agencies or programs and nonprofit organizations. Benefits for this classification include membership listing for up to two people within the organization. ● Corporate: The Corporate Membership includes for-profit companies and organizations. Benefits for this classification include membership listing for up to two people within the organization. Additionally, Nonprofit or Academic Institutional members may renew their membership on an annual or sustaining basis. ● Sustaining Institutional Membership: The Sustaining Institutional Membership includes Nonprofit or Academic organizations and includes membership for two additional staff faculty. Further benefits for this classification include listings on the NAJA Job Board for one year and a 25 percent discount on all exhibitor booths at the annual National Native Media Conference. All members will be prompted to update their status annually and may also request or make changes to their profile any time.