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The Indian Leader, Haskell’s student newspaper, selected for prestigious Free Press Award

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Just a week after announcing a haul of 14 National Native Media awards from the Native American Journalists Association, the staff of the Indian Leader has announced that it has won another — this one for its “commitment to upholding freedom of the press, information and transparency in Indian Country.”

The newspaper announced in a news release Friday that it is the 2021 winner of the NAJA Elias Boudinot Free Press Award, for its response to former Haskell Indian Nations University president Ronald Graham’s attempts to silence the publication.

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Graham issued a directive in October 2020 that forbade student journalists from routine newsgathering.

“In response, NAJA joined the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and the Student Press Law Center (SPLC) statement calling for Graham to stop intimidating student journalists and respect press freedom,” the news release said. “Graham later rescinded this directive in Nov. 2020, but notification was not sent until Jan. 2021, due to an ‘administrative error’ according to the Bureau of Indian Education.”

FIRE has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the newspaper. That case is ongoing in federal court.

“​​I want people to see this award, not just for our circumstances, but for the support we received from students, the community, and organizations like NAJA, SPLC, and FIRE, who empowered us to make our voices heard,” Jared Nally (Myaamia-Miami), editor of the Indian Leader, said in the release. “We thank all of those who have lent us their strength to uphold a free press.”

Read more about the award and the whole Indian Leader staff at this link. The staff will be recognized during a virtual awards ceremony at 3 p.m. Oct. 28. Register to attend at this link.

“The Indian Leader is the oldest Native American student newspaper in the country and is extremely grateful for the recognition by NAJA,” the news release said. “Our students understand how important press freedom is and stand committed to continuing to cover issues for students, staff and alumni across the country.”

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The Indian Leader, Haskell’s student newspaper, selected for prestigious Free Press Award

Share this post or save for later

Just a week after announcing a haul of 14 National Native Media awards from the Native American Journalists Association, the staff of the Indian Leader has announced that it has won another — this one for its “commitment to upholding freedom of the press, information and transparency in Indian Country.”

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