Norman, Oklahoma — Francine Compton (Sandy Bay Ojibway First Nation) stepped down as Native American Journalists Association president after the regular board meeting March 16 and will join the NAJA staff as associate director April 3.
Former NAJA Vice President Graham Lee Brewer (Cherokee Nation) will serve as president through the remainder of Compton’s term. Brewer called a special meeting on March 21 and the board voted to name former treasurer Christine Trudeau (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation) as vice president while Angel Ellis (Muscogee Nation) will take over the treasurer position.
The remaining officers and members will continue to serve the board for the duration of their elected terms, and Brewer will appoint a new board member prior to the next meeting April 6.
Compton joins NAJA from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, where she served as a producer for CBC Indigenous in Winnipeg. Her national newsroom experience will be essential to the NAJA team as the organization holds the first international conference Aug. 10-12 at the Delta Hotel and RBC Convention Center in downtown Winnipeg.
NAJA will celebrate its 40th anniversary later this year and continues to expand relationships, contacts, and cooperation across borders. Membership will consider a name change to the ‘Indigenous Journalists Association’ during the next election, which will coincide with the 2023 National Native Media Conference.
When considering the next 40 years of NAJA’s history, Executive Director Rebecca Landsberry-Baker said Compton is the perfect candidate to tackle the challenges of international expansion.
“Francine’s leadership and more than 20 years of newsroom experience are necessary to delivering NAJA’s mission of serving and empowering Indigenous journalists. As a full-time staff member, Francine will play a key role in successfully executing a new, ambitious 2023-2026 strategic plan, which will be shared with the membership in the coming months. I know she will wholly dedicate herself to our organization, just as she’s done across three terms as president,” Landsberry-Baker said.
Brewer is a national reporter at NBC News covering Indigenous communities and has been a NAJA board member since 2017. “NAJA has been such an integral part of my life and career, and its membership has been like a second family to me,” he said. “I am honored to serve as president of an organization that does such important and meaningful work.”
2023 NAJA Board of Directors
Graham Lee Brewer (Cherokee Nation), President
Christine Trudeau (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation), Vice President
Angel Ellis (Muscogee Nation), Treasurer
Pauly Denetclaw (Diné), Secretary
Jourdan Bennett-Begaye (Diné)
Savannah Maher (Mashpee Wampanoag)
Shondiin Silversmith (Diné)
Angel Moore (Peguis First Nation)