I am deeply humbled but proud to announce that I was recently honored to receive two Native American Journalist Association awards as a result of this year’s competition, out of a total of three nominations submitted by Indian Country Today Media Network. Both third place awards, they were given in the categories of Best Sports Stories and Best Columns in publications with over 8,000 in circulation.
The Best Column category win was for “The Ugliness of Indian on Indian Racism.” It was based on an intensely personal and painful experience I’d had, one that I thought a lot of Native people would be able to relate to. In it I bared my soul with the hope that it would somehow help give a voice to others who have been hurt in similar ways. Based on the plethora of comments it received, it seems to have accomplished that, as well as having been bitterly criticized. But the criticism didn’t surprise me because nothing is as sensitive in Indian country as identity issues.
In the sports category the story “Surfing as Sovereignty: How Native Hawaiians Resisted Colonialism” was awarded. This was a big surprise to me, as I initially wondered if anyone in Indian country would even care about something so seemingly irrelevant as surfing. I have been pleasantly surprised by the interest generated in the various surfing articles I’ve written for ICT. Surfing is an indigenous sport and when we dig into it, we find that it interacts with Indian country in ways not obvious to many people. I am pursuing deeper work on the topic and more will be revealed in the future.
Thanks to all who read and comment, pro and con, at ICTMN. And thanks to the excellence of all the editors there who make these articles happen. I consider myself an “accidental journalist” as it was never my goal to be a journalist. The most important thing, however, is to raise the consciousness of all things Native. That’s what I hope to do.