Native Public Media's Native Broadcast Summit returns after two-year hiatus
by Kyler Edsitty
Jeff Seifert, KBRW station manager, traveled the furthest from Alaska's north slope to the Native Broadcast Summit in Phoenix, Arizona. After two years of social distancing and no in-person events, Native Public Media’s Summit made a strong comeback with over 60 tribal broadcasters. Nearly sixty radio stations make up Indian Country’s broadcast system. Three television stations, Cheyenne Arapaho Television, First Nations Experience, and the Gila River Broadcasting Corporation, are also members of the NPM broadcast network.
Held April 20-22, the Summit offered training and professional development to Native Public Media’s network of broadcasters. This year’s theme, “Revealing the Past, Recognizing the Present, Resilient for the Future,” brought attention to the struggles and accolades Indigenous people have faced. Indigenous communities have been under constant stress from being on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic to experiencing the consequences of climate change.
“This theme could not be more perfect, given all that stations and our communities have had to endure and survive, particularly these past two years,” NPM Board Vice-Chair Barbara Poley said. “Throughout, our stations continued to provide a vital service and voice to our communities on a range of issues – from COVID-19, climate change and other challenging issues.”
Hosted by NPM’s Station Advisory Committee, Summit sessions covered topics about podcast development, COVID-19 community responses, remote broadcasting, and advice from broadcasting veterans. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting provided a compliance workshop for radio stations participating in the Community Service Grant program. Keynote speaker Celina Garza told participants to “move,” exercise self-care, and seek ways to approach a healthier lifestyle. Cultural Night Entertainer Poet Jordan told his story of overcoming personal struggles through poetry. Both presenters related their talk to the Summit theme of collective resilience.
Daniel Spaulding from KIYE radio - voice of the Nez Perce Nation - summed up the Summit’s success, “I just wanted to say himeeqis qe’ciyew’yew ‘oykalo (huge thank you, everyone) for putting on another awesome summit. I always enjoy this reunion because I learn so much and leave feeling so inspired by you all. Your hard work is appreciated and admirable.”