Shinnecock Indian Tribe granted federal recognition

Congratulations to the Shinnecock Tribe!

They have (finally!) been recognized as a sovereign nation by the US government!

Image courtesy of IntertribalTimes.com

Read the press release on the BIA’s website here. And read the article about it in the NYTimes here.

-NativeJournalist

NAJA Responds to Michael Steel’s Racist Remark

NORMAN, OKLAHOMA – Ronnie Washines, Native American Journalists Association President responds to RNC Chairman Michael Steele’s use of the racial slur, “Injun” (a racial slur for Native Americans) during an interview with Sean Hannity on FOX News. Steele said that the Republican Party platform is “one of the best political documents that’s been written in the past 25 years – Honest Injun on that.”

Washines’ response on behalf of NAJA and the larger Native American community:

“I am thoroughly outraged that the leader of the National Republican Party would use such repulsive language on national television. Those of us in journalism have tirelessly worked to ensure that political leaders, newsrooms and the public be respectful to all cultures when speaking publically. Michael Steele’s scurrilous tongue does no service to his group and only undermines the positive work of those who sincerely seek to respect one another in all of our working relationships. I urge Michael Steele to carefully word a sincere apology to the Native American community, which could help stop such uneducated archaic racist remarks from being made in the future. We here at NAJA are available to assist him and his organization with obtaining an accurate understanding of Native America.”

In case you have not yet seen the video yet, watch it here.

Families USA Health Action 2010 Conference Update!

NativeJournalist.com Press Pass

WASHINGTON, DC – Thus far, the Families USA Health Action 2010 conference has been overwhelming…in a great way! I am a little drained, but so very inspired and excited to do my part in the health reform movement. Below are some noteworthy quotes from speakers at this weekend’s conference:

“We need reform because the current system is fundamentally flawed.” – Kathleen Sebelius, Department of Health & Human Services

“Stop letting perfect be the enemy of ‘very good’…our system currently rewards volume over value…insurance companies should be responsible to its policy holders, not its stock holders! Beat back lies and misinformation and make health care reform happen now!” – Sen. Al Franken (D-MN)

“Women pay 48% more for health care coverage”…Why this issue matters if you think it doesn’t: If you have health care coverage today, you might not have health care coverage tomorrow! – Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD)

“People who talk about family values, don’t value families!…Keep it broad; health care is just one part of the human rights movement!…When we think ‘all’ or ‘nothing,’ we usually get nothing.”- Benjamin Todd Jealous, NAACP <- This man is AMAZING!!!

Upcoming weekend events: "American Indian Health Policy: Where We've Been and Where We're Going" with Jennifer Cooper, National Indian Health Board; Michael Mahsetky, Indian Health Service; Cara Thunder, American Indian Community House as presenters and Donald Warne, Aberdeen Area Tribal Chairman's Health Board as the moderator. I'm really looking forward to this workshop! I will be sure to let you know all about it!!

…That's all for now. More to come!

-NativeJournalist

Obama’s 2010 State of the Union Address

WASHINGTON, DC – Last night President Barack Obama spoke to Congress and the nation during the annual State of the Union Address. Check out the video below if you missed any of it or want to hear it again. Topics covered were: the economy, including the stimulus bill and jobs; the environment, including the energy and climate bill; education, including tax credits and pell grants; health care, including Michelle Obama’s plan to end childhood obesity and the health care bills; defense, including national security and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell; and, discrimination, including equal pay laws. As usual, Obama supporters were enamored by his eloquence and inspiring and encouraging words. Unfortunately, not all members of congress were as excited about what the president had to say. There were many members of Congress who stayed in their seats while the rest of the house gave Obama a standing ovation.

I had the privilege of watching the address while in Washington, DC on Capitol Hill at the Hyatt Regency hotel with the Health Action 2010 conference.

More to come…

-NativeJournalist

NABJ Conference on Health Disparities Announced

WASHINGTON, DC –

March 4-6, 2010
Barbara Jordan Conference Center at Kaiser Family Foundation
1330 G Street, NW
Washington, DC 2005
(one block west of Metro Center)

Program Goal:
The goal of this annual conference is to provide print, broadcast and online journalists the tools to effectively report on the impact of health care reform and health policy on underserved communities. Journalists and media professionals will leave with resources to inform and empower readers and viewers to action in their lives.

Sponsored by:
Kaiser Family Foundation
Eli Lilly and Company

For more information, click here.

-NativeJournalist

Chris Rock’s new doc “Good Hair”

Chris Rock has come back on the creative scene with a poignant documentary–full of comedic moments (naturally)–that examines cultural pressures and identity issues that come with having “black hair.” Check out the trailer below:

“Good Hair” won the Special Jury Prize for U.S. Documentary at this year’s Sundance Festival in January. To read more about the film go here. Below is a description of the film from Sundance’s website:

When Chris Rock’s daughter, Lola, came up to him crying and asked, “Daddy, how come I don’t have good hair?” the bewildered comic committed himself to search the ends of the earth and the depths of black culture to find out who had put that question into his little girl’s head! Director Jeff Stilson’s camera followed the funnyman, and the result is Good Hair, a wonderfully insightful and entertaining, yet remarkably serious, documentary about African American hair culture. An exposé of comic proportions that only Chris Rock could pull off, Good Hair visits hair salons and styling battles, scientific laboratories, and Indian temples to explore the way black hairstyles impact the activities, pocketbooks, sexual relationships, and self-esteem of black people. Celebrities such as Ice-T, Kerry Washington, Nia Long, Paul Mooney, Raven Symoné, Maya Angelou, and Reverend Al Sharpton all candidly offer their stories and observations to Rock while he struggles with the task of figuring out how to respond to his daughter’s question. What he discovers is that black hair is a big business that doesn’t always benefit the black community and little Lola’s question might well be bigger than his ability to convince her that the stuff on top of her head is nowhere near as important as what is inside.

This film looks great…A conversation on this topic is long overdue! Way to go, Chris Rock! I can’t wait to see it.

-NativeJournalist