How has your understanding of your own leadership changed through the Fellowship to date?
I have begun to embrace my leadership more this past year. I can’t say I had imposter syndrome because I have had a number of meaningful accomplishments in my life. Sometimes they were achieved against great odds The real question for me lately has been this: Can I achieve new goals with the same level of success from the past? That was the real question. Did I already peak as a leader?
The Bush fellowship helped bolster my confidence to follow my vision. I am thankful I’ve entered a new leadership space. It feels good to be in this new realm. I now have a new origin story. I am no longer the young American Indian journalist who was exploring new territory in the mainstream press. Now I am an experienced journalist exploring new ground as media entrepreneur in my own community. It’s been an adventure met with new achievements, new successes. As a young reporter, I achieved a lot of firsts. First Native reporter to have a Native news beat at a mainstream reporter. First Native woman to receive a journalism Nieman fellowship at Harvard, to name a few highlights. Now, I am bringing press freedom issues to the attention of my reservation community and to my journalism peers on a national level.
I am among a group of 10 national journalism thought leaders who is helping to draft a Local News Roadmap. Our group is imagining "a near future in which media, technology, philanthropy, and possibly even the government collaborate to fulfill the civic information needs of all Americans. A near future in which all Americans – across different regions, racial groups, walks of life, and political perspectives — have the information they need to engage as members of a healthy democratic community, with a sense of shared identity, belonging, and meaningful participation, thanks to new, scaled forms of local journalism."
What has been most meaningful to me is succeeding in helping my mainstream press peers understand that American Indians need to be included in the civic information transformation that is sweeping the country. I am thankful national media leaders recognize my thoughts and ideas in this national endeavor to build a new media landscape as the old media infrastructure collapses.
We must ensure Native people are fully engaged in civic information so individuals and communities can make the places where they live better. My journalism peers agree: "Combining the tools of professional journalism, digital technology, and community organizing, civic information practitioners help communities coordinate action, solve problems, establish systems of public accountability, and develop mutual understanding."
I like being in the leadership space where I can help imagine -- and take action -- to build a new media roadmap for our Native communities. Why not create some prominent journalism programs at tribal colleges to create a pipeline of journalists and storytellers in our communities?
The Bush fellowship has refueled my tank to help me think big and take action on new ideas.