NAJA to vote on Indigenous Journalists Association name change during 2023 election

The Native American Journalists Association will vote to change the name and elect board members July 31-Aug. 10; Board candidacy declarations due June 29

The Native American Journalists Association will host elections online July 31-Aug. 9 and in-person Aug. 10. NAJA members will elect members of the board of directors and vote on a ballot measure to formally change the name to the Indigenous Journalists Association. 

The organization was established in 1983 when Native American and First Nations journalists met to form the Native American Press Association. In 1990, the group changed to the Native American Journalists Association to lift Indigenous voices across all media platforms, and work to ensure accurate and contextual reporting about Indigenous peoples. In 2023, NAJA will celebrate its 40th anniversary and continues to develop and deliver resources, education and training for journalists covering Indigenous communities across the globe.

NAJA is calling for candidate declarations to serve on the board of directors through June 29. There are three vacancies for three-year terms, starting in August 2023 and running through 2026.

For online voting, eligible NAJA members will receive a unique link in the email associated with their membership. Members may only cast one vote (either online or in-person) and all votes will be verified so there are no duplicates.

In-person voting will take place on Thursday, Aug. 10, from 5-8 p.m., CST at the Delta Hotel Winnipeg during the NAJA Opening Night Reception in coordination with the 2023 National Native Media Conference Aug. 10-12 in downtown Winnipeg. 

Election results will be announced during the NAJA Membership Luncheon at the RBC Convention Centre on Aug. 11. 

Declaring Board Candidacy  
The NAJA Board of Directors is comprised of volunteers who dedicate their time and talents to strengthening journalism in Indigenous communities. 

Board members are required to attend monthly meetings and serve on designated committees. Meeting times are determined by the board on a month-to-month basis but usually occur the first Thursday of the month. If an elected member misses more than three meetings due to unexcused absences, they may be removed from office. 

Board members are required to seek and secure funding for the organization. Fundraising supports membership and a pipeline of Indigenous talent into media careers, including the Native American Journalism Fellowship and the next generation of storytellers. 

Candidates must be verified NAJA members in good standing in order to be eligible to run for any position within the board. Associate members are not eligible for board candidacy. Read more about nominations and board elections in Article VII of the NAJA bylaws.

After the NAJA Election Committee has determined eligibility, candidates are required to submit a biography, photo, resumé, and outline how they will address membership needs and meet fundraising goals (no more than 500 words) to the election committee. 

All candidacy declaration documents must be submitted to NAJA Election Chair Christine Trudeau at by 5 p.m. CDT on June 29, 2023.

Election Guidelines
The Native American Journalists Association bylaws state, under Article VII, Section 1, that the membership shall determine the election process.

In 1996, the NAJA membership voted to establish an Election Committee to organize and facilitate annual board elections. The following guidelines were adopted on June 22, 1996, in Bangor, Maine. It was later revised and adopted by the board on March 26, 2006, and updated in March 2009.

Declaration of board candidacy:

Candidates must declare their intention to run for the board between Jan. 1 and six weeks before the election (deadline: June 29, 2023).

After their eligibility to run for the board has been determined, candidates shall submit a photo, bio and brief summary of what the candidate hopes to achieve through service on the board, including fundraising goals and ideas.

In addition, the NAJA Board of Directors has adopted the following definition of “media professional” and recommended procedure for the Election Board to follow:

“A media professional is defined as a journalist who works for either tribal media or mainstream media and earns 51 percent of his or her annual income through journalism. A journalist is someone who works in the gathering, writing, editing, photographing, publishing and disseminating of news as through, but not limited to, a newspaper, magazine, radio, television station, or World Wide Web publication owned and operated by a news media outlet.”

“Determining whether a board candidate is eligible to hold office shall be the responsibility of the Election Committee. When the NAJA office receives written notification that a NAJA member has declared his or her candidacy for office, the Election Committee has 21 days to notify the candidate in writing whether he or she is eligible to run for the NAJA board. The written determination of eligibility will be sent to the candidate, with copies to the NAJA President and Executive Director. Any candidate determined ineligible will receive an explanation for the ruling within the notification letter.”

“An election report shall be prepared and distributed during the annual membership meeting. The report shall include the list of board candidates and any explanations why a candidate was determined ineligible to run, along with general procedures followed during that year’s election process.”

(Note: This policy shall be published in every document that NAJA releases concerning board candidates)

Candidates must declare their intention to run for the NAJA Board no later than June 29, 2023 at 5 p.m. CDT.

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