Karin Eagle: UNITY media summit draws people to reservation

The following column by Karin Eagle appeared in the Lakota Country Times. For more news, subscribe to the Lakota Country Times. All content © Lakota Country Times.

Cartoonist Ricardo Cate will be a presenter at the Empower Your Lakota Story summit on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota on May 2. Image from Without Reservations / Facebook

Unity Media Summit
By Karin Eagle
Lakota Country Times columnist

Greetings, Readers! This week has brought us a real taste of our summer warmth, but of course we are still in the beginning days of spring so let’s not get to comfortable. Unexpected winter storms can still pop up! Stay prepared.

Following the official announcement of the UNITY media summit set for May 2 in Allen, there has been a huge response from both near and far. Many of our Native journalists are looking not only at Pine Ridge but their own reservations wondering what benefit could be found from empowering our own people to tell our own stories in our ways. I truly believe that it is the mere act of empowering that is the biggest benefit.

We will be bringing in journalists from different areas of Indian Country to share their own knowledge of how to not only incorporate the Native voice in mainstream media, but how to keep our voices from being drowned out by the non-Natives who, with good intentions, come in and speak for us. Normally we would have to pay outrageous registration fees and travel at great expense to different parts of the country several times over in order to access the knowledge that we are going to be given from the people coming to visit. They are all professional people who are taking time out of their jobs and family lives to bring this empowerment to the Oglala.

Unity Journalists for Diversity: Time for Lakota to Speak for Lakota

Okay, so now we have the skills and support coming to us, hand delivered. What are we going to do with it? We are going to learn such things as promoting our own businesses and programs and organizations through social media and mainstream media; we are going to learn how to initiate investigative reporting so we can start to uncover some of the corruption on the various levels we have identified it; we are going to learn how to access vital information that despite anyone’s attempts to keep from us, we are entitled to. The kids are going to benefit from the artistic stylings of not one but two amazing cartoonists who are known for using their art to speak volumes about current issues.

There will be so much more to be won from learning how to talk about our own stories and to share them with whoever we choose to. We can never tell all of the stories because every single person has their own unique perspective of many different situations, and every single person can and usually does have perspectives that vary wildly based on what they have seen or heard. We have an infinite number of stories to tell and now we are going to have the support and encouragement from some of the greatest minds in Indian Country, people willing to lay it all out and support our storytelling; what are will we do with this gift?

Consider these things, Relatives, because there is a new and more hopeful era coming for the Lakota people. We are going to need every single voice, whether in writing or orally, to speak up to help it come.

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