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Native First Amendment Protectors

FLAGSTAFF, AZ – In the seventh year of the program, over twenty Native American high school students are receiving a crash course in broadcast and media in the Andy Harvey Youth Broadcast Workshop held on the campus of Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Loris Taylor, President and CEO of Native Public Media and one of the founders of the workshop told the students,” Native Americans have the strength, the intellectual capacity, and the will to tell our own stories to fight stereotypes and to share the beauty and richness of our varied Tribal cultures.”

The Andy Harvey workshop is piloting Native Public Media’s First Amendment Protectors curriculum designed to educate and bring greater awareness to youth and Tribal citizens about the First Amendment.

According to Taylor, actions taken against Water Protectors have emboldened a direct assault on the First Amendment rights of all U.S. citizens. As a result, freedom of press, information, and civic engagement are directly threatened.

“In direct response to Standing Rock and other protests throughout the country, various states have proposed legislation to criminalize protest. If passed, these laws will significantly curtail the fundamental right to speak and be heard,” stated Taylor.

On Saturday, graduates of the Andy Harvey workshop will hear from Jenni Monet, an independent Native journalists who was arrested at Standing Rock on a number of charges simply for covering stories about the water protectors.

“The Native experience during these trying times are lessons we can all learn from,” states Taylor. “As resilient peoples, we can take the pen and write our own history.”

The First Amendment Protectors Curriculum is an extension of Native Public Media’s ongoing work in Tribal communities to build local capacity for Native owned radio and television stations, including the Internet. The curriculum will target emerging Tribal youth leaders who are using their voices to bring attention to issues and causes directly impacting Tribal communities and will be published in the fall of 2018.

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