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Andy Harvey Indigenous Youth Media Workshop focuses on First Amendment rights.

Kyler Edsitty, Special to the Navajo-Hopi Observer, July 19, 2022

High school students taught the five freedoms in the First Amendment.

Past Participants of the workshop focus on a photo assignment. (Photo/NAU)

Flagstaff - In 2017, Indian country citizens were shocked when Native journalist Jenni Monet was arrested while covering water protectors opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. Monet, who had been at Standing Rock since 2016, presented law enforcement officers with her press credentials, but she was detained and arrested anyway. Water protectors, young and elderly, were among the mass arrests.

“There was a lot of support for Standing Rock from other Tribes, and we allowed our young people to join the water protectors at Standing Rock. We didn’t think they would be assaulted or killed for voicing their concern about drinking water. It was an awakening that led to the writing of the First Amendment Protectors curriculum for youth,” said Loris Taylor, Native Public Media’s president and CEO.

Today, Arizona high school students are taught about the five freedoms in the First Amendment.

Now in its 10th anniversary, Native Public Media instructor Melissa Begay teaches the curriculum during the annual Andy Harvey Indigenous Youth Media Workshop at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. The workshop was founded as a partnership between Native Public Media, KTNN Navajo radio and the university.

“It is important for Native youth to learn about the five freedoms embedded in the First Amendment and the limitations of these freedoms,” Taylor said. “The power to speak and be heard can become vulnerable and stripped away like it was at Standing Rock. It is an opportunity for Native youth to have a conversation about intellectual freedom through their lens.”

Begay agreed: “What I like about the training is the students’ passion and awareness of First Amendment social issues in their school and communities. A better understanding of the First Amendment will help them educate others about their rights.”

More information about Andy Harvey Indigenous Youth Media Workshop is available at To support the Andy Harvey Workshop, contact


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