Three NAJA members win full board terms after 2014 elections in Santa Clara, California

Posted by Mary Hudetz on 07/15/2014

Members of the Native American Journalists Association elected three of their fellow NAJA journalists to serve full three-year terms on the board of directors during the National Native Media Conference this past weekend.

The election took place at the Hyatt Regency in Santa Clara, California, on Saturday, July 12, 2014. Fifty-five total votes were counted. Christina Good Voice (Muscogee/Creek), Jolene Schonchin (Comanche) and Tristan Ahtone (Kiowa) were elected to the board.

Good Voice is the manager of Mvskoke Media and Schonchin is editor-in-chief of the Comanche Nation's newspaper. They each received 30 votes, and both have served previously on the board of directors, with their most recent terms ending in 2013. Each of the candidates' board terms began Sunday, July 13. 

Ahtone, a write-in candidate and freelance journalist, received 22 votes, allowing him to hold onto his seat and serve a second, consecutive term that also began Sunday.

NAJA bylaws require that board members meet to select officers each year. Here are the results of the board's nominations and selections on Sunday, July 13:

-- Mary Hudetz (Crow) remains president for a second consecutive year and the last year of her current board term.

-- Ahtone will serve as vice president after serving three years as NAJA treasurer. Eugene Tapahe and Shannon Shaw Duty each nominated each other for the seat but neither accepted their respective nominations, citing schedules and additional commitments.

-- Jason Begay (Navajo), who is a journalism professor at the University of Montana and also a 2015 MBA candidate at UM, will now serve as treasurer. He was an outstanding vice president for NAJA this past year.

-- Shannon Shaw Duty (Osage), editor of the Osage News, is the 2014-2015 NAJA board secretary, and replaces outgoing board member Tetona Dunlap (Eastern Shoshone) in this role.

Officers were nominated and selected by their fellow board members. Once nominations were made and board members accepted, the board unanimously voted in favor of each candidate serving in their respective roles.

The NAJA outgoing board members are Dunlap and Robert Ortiz (Southern Ute). Dunlap is a reporter at the Times-News in Twin Falls, Idaho. Robert is a journalist at the Southern Ute Drum in Ignacio, Colorado. We thank them for their service.

In addition to the officers, remaining NAJA board members include Dalton Walker (Ojibwe), who is a Web editor and columnist at the Colorado Springs Gazette; Mark Dreadfulwater (Cherokee) of the Cherokee Phoenix; and Eugene Tapahe (Navajo) owner of Tapahe Inventive Designs.

It is an honor for board members to serve our NAJA members -- a group of outstanding journalists and news leaders who are dedicated to respectfully and accurately telling the stories of Indian Country, and committed to both increasing and improving Native representation in the news media.

--Mary Hudetz