Happy Birthday, Mom!

My favorite photo with my Mom






















I just wanted to take a minute and embarrass, I mean, wish my Mom a Happy Birthday!

I know I sometimes take you for granted (I’m sorry), but please know that you really are the best Mom I could have ever asked for!

You are fun, intelligent, strong, creative, thoughtful, humble, set a great example for Monica and me, and best of all, have an awesome sense of humor.  I feel incredible lucky to have you in my corner, supporting me (whether by phone, e-mails or during visits) and cheering me on along this journey called life.

Thank you for all that you are and all that you do.

I love you!


Your Native Valentine

Here’s a little Native Love for you from Dallas Goldtooth of the 1491s.

I hope you watch this video and know that someone is thinking of you and loves you very much!

“This is a short video showing love and recognition to all Native women in our lives. They are the carriers of our culture, the keepers of the flame. We love them beyond all possibility. We cherish them Indian girls.

They [are] our buddies. our loves. our morning. our moon. our past. We love you ladies.”


Tell me a story: the Introduction

Why helloooooo there!  How nice of you to join me here at my Tow Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism blog.

Allow me to introduce myself:

I am a Southern California native and member of the Chickahominy Tribe of Virginia.  I received my bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Spanish from Mount Holyoke College. Before enrolling in the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, I created NativeJournalist.com, where I share stories on Indian Country. Last summer, I interned for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network National News in Winnipeg, Canada, working as an on-air reporter, covering news related to the Aboriginal community. [You can watch some of the stories that aired on the nightly, national broadcast here.]  This semester, I’m looking forward to launching a multimedia news site that features arts, culture, and news that matters for Indigenous youth of the United States and Canada with what I learn from the EJ program.

Last December, I was one of several CUNY J-School Entrepreneurial Journalism students who pitched their business idea to a jury and won a seed grant.  My project (currently called Achimó), earned $5,000.  [Achimó means “tell me a story” in Cree.]  I am so excited to make this dream of mine a reality!

Here’s a snippet of how the “Pitch Day” went:

While working for APTN in Winnipeg, Canada, I met countless Aboriginal artists and creative minds who lacked a platform to share their talents.  And, I became very aware of the dire situation Indigenous youth face in Canada that reminded me of the struggles many Native youth in the US also grapple with.  Aside from numerous health concerns like diabetes and heart disease, Indigenous youth (in North America and beyond) face the highest rates of depression and suicide.  I decided to create a platform for sharing Indigenous-made artistic, inspiring, culturally relevant content with a young population in need.  I hope my site will allow Indigenous youth to express themselves creatively and allow them to share their stories, while experiencing content created by members of the Indigenous community living in other areas.  And eventually, I would love it if educators began incorporating the site in their curriculum!

To follow my journey this semester, sign up to receive updates!

Kind regards,

Amy Stretten





Wab Kinew’s “Surviving the Survivor” for CBC News

I just stumbled upon another great piece of journalistic work by Wab Kinew for CBC News. I’m a huge fan of Kinew’s work and I hope to collaborate with him one day (soon). I’m sure I could learn a great deal from him.

Take a look at this video. Though our experiences in the US aren’t identical to what Canadian Aboriginals faced, there still are many similarities. Can you or your family relate to anything you saw here? Please feel free to share your story.


Openly Gay Native American Woman Elected to State Legislature

A friend just alerted me to this article posted on Jezebel.com by Erin Gloria Ryan – It’s definitely worth a read!

According to Allen’s campaign site, Susan Allen is “Lakota, Dakota and Anishinabe. She is an experienced tax and tribal law attorney. She is public spirited and community minded as seen by her considerable nonprofit and pro bono work. As a Native woman and a lesbian, Susan has faced barriers and overcome discrimination throughout her life. She is ready to be a strong voice at the State Legislature.”


I’d love to interview Ms. Allen one of these days and post a Q. & A. here on NativeJournalist.  What do y’all think?


“Kickass Openly Gay Native American Woman Elected to State Legislature

Nine Native Americans have served in the Minnesota state legislature since the state’s founding, and all of them have been men. But on Tuesday, The Land of 10,000 Lakes chose via special election its first ever Native American woman to serve on its state legislature, and the first Native American lesbian to ever serve in any state legislature anywhere.

Susan Allen (not to be confused with the wife of Republican Virginia Senator George Allen) is the polar opposite of her fellow Minnesota countrywoman Michele Bachmann. She’s a progressive rather than a Tea Partier, she lives in a mixed income Minneapolis neighborhood rather than a McMansion in the exurbs, and she’s a lesbian rather than a lesbian-fixer. Additionally, Allen has vowed to fight for defeat of Minnesota’s constitutional marriage amendment, which would effectively make same-sex marriage illegal in the state. Michele Bachmann is one of the leading architects of a previous failed attempt to legally define marriage as between one man and one woman.

Allen’s credentials are the sort of thing that makes the average privileged person living in comfort feel like a slouch. MPR reported back in December that Allen, now 48, grew up on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, one of the most poverty-stricken swaths of untenable land in the US. Her father was an Evangelical priest, and the family frequently moved. When she was a single mother in her early 20’s and on government assistance, she relied public transportation to get to and from her law school classes. She’s got experience working in tribal and tax law, and as of last year was a partner in her firm. By all accounts, she’s an all-around intimidatingly kickass, groundbreaking lady.

She doesn’t get to rest on her laurels for long, though. Allen’s up for reelection already in November.

If Michele Bachmann and Susan Allen are ever in the same room at the same time, they’re fated to an epic arm wrestling match. My money’s on Allen.”


Artist Profile: A Tribe Called Red

Check out my work-in-progress…

Ottawa-based DJ Trio, A Tribe Called Red, holds what they call “Electric Pow Wows” in various cities around Canada and the U.S. in an effort to celebrate and preserve their culture. We recently caught up with the group during a performance in Toronto. Here is Amy Stretten with the story.


The New Dandy: My video that aired on CUNY-TV’s “219 West”

Check out the piece I did for CUNY-TV’s newsmagazine show “219 West” that aired recently…

Bow ties, tailored suits, and button-downs are not usually associated with women’s fashion.  But founders of Brooklyn-based fashion brand, Marimacho, have created a line of clothing for masculine-identified women who prefer a more dandy approach to dress.  Amy Stretten has this fashion forward story.  [Fast forward to 10:27 for my piece]

Hope you like it!


I’ll be at this year’s ImagineNative film + media arts festival next week!

I can’t wait to attend this year’s ImagineNative film and media arts festival in Toronto next week (October 19-23)!  It’s my first time going and I’m really looking forward to what’s in store. 🙂  I really miss Canada and my Aboriginal peeps up there!

While in Toronto, I’ll be filming the amazing DJ trio “A Tribe Called Red” during their performance at the opening night party for a project I’m working on.  I had the privilege of working with these guys on a package I did for APTN National News this summer about the controversy over an Irish showband called “The Indians.”  They really are incredibly talented!  Don’t take my word, though…check them out for yourself on soundcloud.

More to updates on ImagineNative to come!