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Reflections and Looking Forward from Native Public Media

A Hopi farmer once said that in order to move forward, we must look back to where we’ve been. 2019 was largely about collaboration, partnerships, and extending the benefits of Native Public Media’s network of 59 radio and 4 television stations. Here are some highlights.

We demonstrated that Native peoples have the agency to tell their own narratives as we chart our collective media destiny. During the Andy Harvey Youth Journalism and Broadcast Workshop we celebrated our youth in media and piloted our First Amendment Curriculum with young minds. We joined conversations about solutions journalism, and convened television broadcasters at the National Association of Broadcasters conference boosting the reach of our network. The National Federation of Community Broadcasters contributed 90 ideas in 90 minutes at our 2019 Native Broadcast Summit as we welcomed our brothers and sisters from Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples Television Network knowing we are all stronger together.

Across our broadcast network, NPM staff provided vital training in station operations, regulatory compliance, emergency communications preparedness, and remained open to provide legal guidance regarding station issues during the federal government shut down. And as the year closes, we reflect on breaking bread with tribal licensees, our radio and television network station managers, administrators, programming directors, engineers, finance staff, production staff, DJs, and other important media makers during our treasured station site visits. Our broadcast community symbolizes our power to speak and to be heard every single day over our airwaves.

Our allies kept us busy, or perhaps we harnessed their positive energy in 2019. NPM and the National Association of Broadcasters kept the public informed about the Television Repack and we joined our nation’s broadcast colleagues in revising Community Service Grant policies for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. We experienced our first winter bomb cyclone that prevented us from participating in the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Summit but we made up for it by contributing to the United Nations report on Indigenous Peoples.

In our philanthropic work, we joined the Arizona Community Foundation in designing and creating a philanthropic partnership that is community based. We joined the Hopi Foundation in celebrating the Barbara Chester Award and worked with the National Congress of Americans on the federal budget request for communications and telecommunications. Our best ideas were contributed to the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation’s focus on poverty just like we intersected our work in media with nutrition during the Native Americans in Journalism conference.

In our service to Indian Country, NPM hosted the Radio and Spectrum Workshop for Tribal leaders in partnership with the Federal Communications Commission and the National Congress of American Indians, and fought hard for Net Neutrality, Lifeline, and the FCC Tribal Spectrum Priority before Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and on social media. And with the same energy, we advocated for Tribal advancements in our international policy work.

Everything is possible with good leadership and talented staff like Melissa, Joseph, Kyle and our Board of Directors and Station Advisory Committee. We end the year on a high note that flows from the pages of our new strategic plan articulating our elevated mission to promote the self-determination of Indigenous peoples around the globe through media access, storytelling, and ownership.

From all of us at Native Public Media, we wish all our relations love, good health, and a Happy New Year!

Loris Taylor, President and CEO, Native Public Media

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