Indian Country Today
|Type||Daily digital news platform|
|Owner(s)||IndiJ Public Media|
|Managing editor||Jourdan Bennett-Begaye|
|Founded||1981 (print newspaper "The Lakota Times")|
|Relaunched||2018 (daily digital news platform)|
|Free online archives||Yes|
Indian Country Today (ICT) is a daily digital news platform that covers the Indigenous world, including American Indians, Alaska Natives and First Nations.
It was founded in 1981 as a weekly print newspaper, The Lakota Times; the publication's name changed in 1992 to Indian Country Today. It was acquired in 1998 by Four Directions Media, an enterprise of the Oneida Nation of New York. In January 2011, ICT became Indian Country Today Media Network (ICTMN), an online multimedia news platform. In June 2014, ICTMN had 1,009,761 unique monthly visitors, according to Google Analytics; and Indian Country Today's Facebook page received more than 500,000 likes. In addition to the online news site, ICTMN published a weekly news magazine and special sections available online and in print.
On Labor Day 2017, publication of new content was temporarily suspended to explore alternative business models. In October 2017, the Oneida Indian Nation of New York donated ICT to the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). Vincent Schilling, ICT's former arts and entertainment editor, maintained the site and published articles until Indian Country Today came back online under NCAI's ownership.
On Feb. 28, 2018, Indian Country Today resumed regular publication with Mark Trahant (Shoshone-Bannock) as editor. Gradually new staff was added, with a renewed focus on Native American writers and editors.
In March 2020, Katie Oyan (Oglala Lakota) was announced as the publication's first managing editor. She was on loan from the Associated Press, and upon returning to the AP the first week of February 2021 she was succeeded by Jourdan Bennett-Begaye (Diné), who had served as Indian Country Today's Washington, DC, editor and, later, assistant managing editor.
In March 2021, the publication became independent from the NCAI. “This is an exciting time for Indian Country Today to become fiscally independent and to continue its tradition of an autonomous free press," NCAI President Fawn Sharp said in a press release regarding the change. “This is a new day for ICT, which has a long history as a premier source of news for and about Indigenous communities, written and produced by Indigenous journalists.” The publication's current president and CEO is Karen Michel (Ho-Chunk).
ICT carries original news reporting on issues of interest to Native Americans and other readers interested in Indian Country.
- 1981-1998: Indian Country Today was founded in 1981 as The Lakota Times by journalist Tim Giago, Oglala Lakota; Giago changed the publication's name in 1992 to Indian Country Today (motto: "The Nations' Leading American Indian News Source"). ICT was based on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation but operated independently of Tribal government.
- 1998-2017: In 1998, Giago sold Indian Country Today to Four Directions Media, Inc., an enterprise of the Oneida Nation of New York and the newspaper's headquarters moved to Canastota, New York. In 2011, operations moved to New York City and Indian Country Today became Indian Country Today Media Network (motto: "Serving the Nations | Celebrating the People"). In 2013, the printed newspaper ceased publication, replaced by digital-first online reporting and a weekly news magazine available online and in print. In October 2017, the Oneida Nation of New York donated ICT to the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), which calls itself "the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization."
- 2018–2021: On Feb. 28, 2018, after a hiatus during the transfer of ownership to NCAI, Indian Country Today announced its return. Its motto: "Digital. Indigenous. News.". "Indian Country Today is a daily digital news platform that covers the Indigenous world, including American Indians and Alaska Natives. Indian Country Today is the largest news site that covers Tribes and Native people throughout the Americas. Our primary focus is delivering news to a national audience via a mobile phone or the web."
On March 26, 2021, ownership of ICT was transferred from NCAI to an Arizona nonprofit, IndiJ Public Media. Karen Michel is president of that company and acts as publisher and chief executive officer.
On July 24, 2019, Trahant and Indian Country Today headquarters moved to the campus of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University in Phoenix. Trahant wrote on social media that he would be hiring a team to build a television show and improve ICT's national report. Associate Editor Schilling remained in the D.C. bureau.
By the end of the year, ICT had a bureau at Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage, in addition to its newsroom in Phoenix and its bureau in Washington, D.C. In February, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians awarded a grant of $1 million to Indian Country Today and became founding partner for a national news broadcast about American Indian and Alaska Native issues.
Newsroom: Mark Trahant (Shoshone-Bannock), editor; Jourdan Bennett-Begaye (Diné), managing editor; Patty Talahongva (Hopi), executive producer; Tomas Karmelo Amaya (Yoeme/A:shiwi/Rarámuri descent), creative director; Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk), associate editor; Kolby KickingWoman (Blackfeet/Gros Ventre), reporter-producer; Aliyah Chavez (Kewa Pueblo), reporter-producer; Joaqlin Estus (Tlingit), national correspondent (Anchorage); and Dalton Walker (Red Lake Anishinaabe), national correspondent.
- In 2005, an Indian Country Today editorial, "Hurricane Katrina Uncovers a Tale of Two Americas," was quoted by South African President Thabo Mbeki in a letter to the ANC Today, published by the African National Congress.
- Indian Country Today extensively covered the Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl case, also known as the 2013 Supreme Court of the United States "Baby Veronica" case, in which an Oklahoma father, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, sought custody of his daughter Veronica, who was being adopted by a non-Native couple. The coverage included a guest editorial by the president of the Charleston, South Carolina, branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
- On June 5, 2014, President Barack Obama wrote a column for Indian Country Today titled, "On My Upcoming Trip to Indian Country," describing how he and his wife Michelle planned to visit the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota that month.
- In December 2014, Indian Country Today published a series of articles on the controversial 2015 National Defense Authorization Act "land swap" provision that would give land sacred to the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation in Arizona to Resolution Copper Mine [RCM], a joint venture owned by Rio Tinto and BHP. More than 104,000 people had signed a petition to President Obama, "We the People | Stop Apache Land Grab" to which the White House gave an official response.
- Indian Country Today has extensively covered the Native American mascot controversy and the use of Native American images in names and sports. The publication has featured numerous stories and editorials on the Washington Redskins name controversy and Washington NFL team owner Dan Snyder.
- Since before 2016, ICT reported on issues related to the Dakota Access Pipeline project, which proposed to put an oil pipeline extending through four states below the Missouri River. The Standing Rock Sioux objected to the Army Corps of Engineers' acceptance of less than a full Environmental Impact Statement, saying the project threatened their water quality and would destroy ancient artifacts and burial grounds. Standing Rock Sioux sought an injunction to halt construction of the pipeline. The case attracted national and international attention and coverage. After a federal court refused the injunction, the Department of Justice, Department of Interior and Army Corps of Engineers entered the case at the national level, halting construction temporarily. Standing Rock Sioux protesters at the site were joined by activists from hundreds of other Tribes and supporters, including indigenous peoples from South America. ICT published its first "single-subject, event-driven edition in [its] history" in October 2016, based on the reporting done and exploring the many complex issues related to the project and protests.
- On Nov. 5, 2018, Indian Country Today teamed with First Nations Experience and Native Voice One in broadcasting and streaming the first national news report focused on Native American candidates from coast to coast. A team of 18 correspondents reported from sites across the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. The election desk was anchored by Mark Trahant, editor of Indian Country Today.
- Indian Country Today began broadcasting in March 2020 a thirty minute news program. It's now carried by PBS stations, presented by Arizona PBS, and produced in Studio A of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. The ICT Newscast is anchored by Aliyah Chavez, Kewa Pueblo.
In January 2022, Jourdan Bennett-Begaye was named as editor. Trahant moved to an editor-at-large position and is writing about Indigenous economics.
Indian Country Today has won numerous awards at the Native American Journalists Association. In 2014, ICT earned 17 awards, including Best Digital Publication for its 12-page digital newsletter and first place for General Excellence. In 2013, ICTMN won 11 awards at the conference.
Notable writers, editors, contributors
Some current and former Indian Country Today staff writers and contributors include:
- Suzette Brewer (Cherokee Nation), former public affairs officer for the National Museum of the American Indian. She received recognition for her in-depth coverage of the "Baby Veronica" case and other stories related to the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)
- Rob Capriccioso (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa) served as ICT's Washington, DC, bureau chief.
- Terri Crawford Hansen (Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska) is a science and environment journalist who has reported on the effects of climate breakdown and adaptation planning in Indian country for Indian Country Today since 2007
- Steven Newcomb (Shawnee/Lenape descent) co-founder and co-director of the Indigenous Law Institute in California
- Steve Russell (Cherokee Nation), associate professor emeritus of criminal justice at Indiana University Bloomington
- Simon Moya-Smith, Oglala Lakota former ICT culture editor. On Oct. 15, 2018, CNN published Moya-Smith's opinion piece in response to Senator Elizabeth Warren's press release asserting that less than 1 percent of Native American DNA verified her claims of such ancestry. Moya-Smith noted that he personally agreed with Warren's political stance more often than not, but also criticized her for what he characterized as her silence on social problems plaguing Native communities and the timing of her DNA announcement: "For years, when I was the culture editor at Indian Country Today Media Network, we requested interviews with Warren, but not once did she accept our numerous invitations for comment or explanation regarding her alleged ancestry. She simply ignored us."
- Larry Spotted Crow Mann (Nipmuc)
- Mark Trahant (Shoshone-Bannock) is a former Atwood Chair of Journalism at the University of Alaska Anchorage and the Charles Johnson Professor at the University of North Dakota, former president of the Native American Journalists Association, and former executive news editor of The Salt Lake Tribune. He writes a regular column on national and regional politics, noting issues that affect Indian Country. He is the author of The Last Great Battle and Portraits of Our Nobler Selves.
- Marty Two Bulls Sr. (Oglala Lakota) - cartoonist and satirist. In 2013, he was profiled by the Associated Press. In 2017, he was a finalist for the Herblock Prize, winning $5,000 for his submissions. He was a finalist for the Pulitzer in 2021.
- Indian Country Today, July 9, 2014
- Halbritter, Ray (September 4, 2017). "Indian Country Today Media Network To Cease Active Operations". Indian Country Media Network. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
- "Oneida Nation to Donate Indian Country Today Media Network Assets to NCAI". Indian Country Media Network. 2017-10-04. Retrieved 2018-01-20.
- "Katie Oyan named as first managing editor of Indian Country Today" by Kolby KickingWoman, 19 March 2020. Accessed 23 March 2020.
- "About Us". Indian Country Today Media Network. Retrieved April 30, 2021.
- "Indian Country Today Media Network to Launch January 14, 2011". RNewswire. January 6, 2011. Retrieved December 2, 2012.
- Eaton, Kristi. "National Native American Magazine Going Digital". The Big Story. Retrieved June 29, 2014.
- Official - Indian Country Today Back
- "The Shared Pain of New Orleans", ANC Today, (September 9–15, 2005)
- Scott, Dot (October 13, 2013). "Baby Veronica & Baby Deseray: Don't Let Them Sell Our Babies!". Indian Country Today Media Network. Retrieved August 15, 2014.
- Obama, President Barack (June 5, 2014). "On My Upcoming Trip to Indian Country". Indian Country Today Media Network. Retrieved August 15, 2014.
- ICTMN Staff (January 13, 2015). "White House Responds to 'Stop Apache Land Grab' Petition". Indian Country Today Media Network. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
- Water Is Life: The NoDAPL Movement, Indian Country Today, October 2016; accessed 24 October 2016
- "NAJA Announces 2014 Awards; ICTMN Earns 17". June 28, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
- Simon Moya-Smith, I am a Native American. I have some questions for Elizabeth Warren, CNN.com, October 15, 2018
- Indian Country Today, June 13, 2013
- Indian Country Today, February 26, 2017