We had our meeting to form the organization on the Choctaw Nation at Durant, Oklahoma. Thanks to the editor of their newspaper, Bishnick, the Choctaw let us used their camp grounds and facilities for our meeting. At the meeting Bill worked with us to draw up a Constitution and By-laws, and we elected our first Board of Directors. I was lucky to be chosen as NAJA’s first ever president, Loren Tapahe of the Navajo Times was our first vice president, and Anita Austin of the Native American Rights Fund Magazine was our first treasurer, and Mary Polanco, editor of the Jicarilla Chieftain was our first Secretary. Bill rubbed his hands together gleefully when he saw how much we accomplished in two short days. It is sad to see what happens in some organizations when there is a change in leadership. When new leadership assumed control of NAJA after I resigned they decided to erase the history of the organization. Professor Dulaney was completely eliminated. Loren Tapahe stayed on board and tried to get the organization pointed in the right direction. My name was removed from all records as was that of Mary Polanco and Anita Austin. When I found out Professor Dulaney was dying of cancer I notified the Board of NAJA and told them about his history with us and that it should be a major objective of NAJA to honor this man who was so instrumental in getting the organization moving and keeping us funded in the early days. My request went unheard. Gerald Garcia, the founder of the National Hispanic Journalists Association said the same thing happened at NHJA when he resigned and we puzzled over it. But even to this day you will find no record of Professor Bill Dulaney at NAJA. And this is so sad because NAJA would never have been formed without his guidance and support. I hope that some of the early members of NAJA read this and help me point out Bill’s early leadership in forming NAJA. In the early days NAJA was called the Native American Press Association simply because all of its members worked for newspapers. Maybe when the name was changed to NAJA it was assumed that all of the people from the early days did not matter. For whatever reason, it was wrong. I butted heads with NAJA’s leaders for years just to get the names of NAJA’s first Board of Directors listed on their history page. And I also tried my best to get Professor Dulaney’s name mentioned as part of NAJA’s history. They haven’t done that yet. In any event, Bill Dulaney’s role in forming NAJA is here for all to read. He has journeyed to the Spirit World now, but he will always be in the memory of those Native American newspaper editors and reporters who knew, loved, and admired him. Let this be our tribute to a true journalist.
The 30 Founding Members of NAJA, all of us "Co-Founders", at Penn State 1983. Ray Cook in middle w hat, me in dark t-shirt w big hair & moustache, Dan Thompson in between. Actual founder Richard LaCourse far right. Tim Giago & Adrian Louis elected first officers at next meeting. pic.twitter.com/ZFyPvzK2Dn— alexjacobs (@alexjacobs) July 20, 2019
Contact Tim Giago at email@example.com. Giago has been a newspaper publisher for 40 years and was the founder of the Native American Journalists Association.
Note: Content © Tim Giago