Letter from Francine Compton, NAJA Board President

Aniin NAJA members,

The NAJA board of directors and staff met in New York City last month to lay the groundwork for a new comprehensive three-year strategic plan.

Our work was guided by you, our members, based on the annual membership survey, and facilitated by former NAJA executive director Pamela Silas, who has conducted all of NAJA’s strategic planning initiatives since 2015.

Pam put us through an exercise that had us mark moments in NAJA history, so we had a clear view of where we came from, before making decisions on where we’re going. 

We made note of how the organization went through a name change in the early 80’s, the voting structure for membership went from institutional votes to individual votes, the logo changed, the headquarters of the organization moved, membership went from 250 to nearly 1000 in the years between strategic plans. We recognize how tremendous the growth has been over the last four decades and how rapidly we have grown in the last 4 years.

Our monthly board meeting was also held during this in-person time together. History was made with the board of directors voting to establish an Advisory Council composed of former presidents, should they choose to sit on the council, and granting every NAJA president an emeritus status within the organization. The formation of an Advisory Council will guide future boards who may not always possess historical institutional knowledge.

The NAJA board and staff heard your feedback and comments in the membership survey and hit the ground running. We are mindful of your criticism, telling NAJA what you need and for letting us know what we do best. Actions are already being taken and strategic steps are built into our 2023-2026 plan so that your input is included in the future of our organization.

When I first met the board of directors in 2019 we started talking about international growth or simply going back to NAJA’s roots, and bringing everyone back together from both sides of the medicine line again.

Which is why we are so excited to bring our conference to Canada for the first time in 40 years and we can’t wait to welcome you all to Winnipeg, Manitoba in August for the 2023 National Native Media Conference and awards!

Winnipeg is home to the largest total population of urban Indigenous people in one city, in Canada. 

APTN, the first national Indigenous broadcaster in the world, established in 1999, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s Indigenous unit are headquartered in Winnipeg because of the large population of First Nations, Métis and Inuit. 

Please ensure that you are prepared to travel to what is also known as Treaty One territory by starting with your passport.

A passport is required to enter Canada so please check that yours is up to date or apply for one as soon as possible, if you don’t already have one.

You may also be wondering about travel logistics and what else there is to see in a city that is mostly known for being one of the coldest places on earth.

The next step, after ensuring your passport is ready or you’ve submitted your application for one, is to book your flight. 

We are happy to announce a discount code with Air Canada: HUXHHB61

Please continue to check your emails for additional details as we get close to the conference dates and continue to follow our social media for travel tips, announcements and more on the 2023-2026 NAJA strategic plan.

NAJA President Francine Compton

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