September 5, 2023
Trudeau elected to first term as president; Bennett-Begaye elected as vice-president
WINNIPEG, CANADA— Members of the Indigenous Journalists Association (IJA), elected new board members and their first executive officers during their recent annual conference in Winnipeg, Canada, held last month.
In the board’s first official meeting after changing their name to IJA from Native American Journalists Association (NAJA), the group selected Christine Trudeau (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation), president; Jourdan Bennett-Begaye (Diné), vice president; Angel Ellis (Muscogee Nation), treasurer; and Savannah Maher (Mashpee Wampanoag), secretary. Sunnie Clahchischiligi (Diné) and Joseph Lee (Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head) were newly elected to serve on the board of directors, while Jourdan Bennett-Begaye (Diné) is a returning board member. Angel Moore (Peguis First Nation), Shondiin Silversmith (Diné) and Jodi Rave Spotted Bear (Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation / Lakota) will remain seated for the duration of their terms.
Trudeau, Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, is an independent investigative journalist and editor, whose work can be found in High Country News, National Native News, Alaska Public Media, and NPR.
Bennett-Begaye is the editor and vice president of digital at ICT, formerly Indian Country Today. She is the first woman to be the chief news executive and top editor of the 42-year-old newspaper.
Ellis became Director of Mvskoke Media in 2020 and joined the ranks of Elias Boudinot Free Press award winners that same year. In January 2023, the film “Bad Press” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was selected as the Sundance Special Jury Freedom of Expression Award. She also serves on the Oklahoma Media Center Board (OMC), and SPJ Freedom of Information committee.
Maher is an Albuquerque-based reporter with the national public radio show Marketplace where she covers rural and Indigenous economies. Her work has appeared in ICT, High Country News, the Texas Observer and on NPR.
Clahchischiligi is a multi-award-winning freelance writer whose work has appeared in Rolling Stone magazine, The Guardian, USA Today, The New York Times, the Navajo Times, Arizona Highways magazine, and others.
Lee is a former Senior Indigenous Affairs Fellow at Grist and has reported on Indigenous issues in the U.S. and around the world. He teaches creative writing at Mercy College and has also taught writing at Montclair State University and the Borough of Manhattan Community College.
IJA recognizes Indigenous peoples as distinct groups based on tradition and culture. In this spirit, the group educates and unifies its membership through journalism programs that promote diversity and defends challenges to free press, speech, and expression. The organization is committed to increasing the representation of Indigenous journalists in mainstream media and encourages mainstream and Indigenous media to attain the highest standards of professionalism, ethics, and responsibility.
The group began in 1983 when several Native American journalists met to form the Native American Press Association. In 1990, the group changed its name to NAJA to expand support for Native voices across all media platforms and ensure accurate and contextual reporting about Native communities.
For more information about the IJA, visit www.indigenousjournalists.org.
The Indigenous Journalists Association serves more than 850 members, including media professionals working in Indigenous, freelance, independent, and mainstream news outlets, as well as academia and students covering Indigenous communities and representing Indigenous peoples from across the world.