The first time I joined the Indian Leader was to receive extra credit points in my News Writing class, little did I know that I would fall in love with being a part of the Indian Leader team let alone editor one day. Joining the college newspaper really helped boost my career path as a journalist. I was able to experience many opportunities provided by the Indian Leader and with the help of it’s sponsor Media Communications Dean, Rhonda LeValdo.
Some of my best experiences at Haskell were because of the Indian Leader and writing for them. An opportunity I can enjoyed that really helped me realize how much I wanted to be a journalist was when I was able to cover the Bernie Sander’s presidential campaign rally held in the Spring of 2016. I received an official Bernie Sander’s press badge, my own camera equipment to use as well as microphones for interviews. It was definitely an experience I could possibly never forget, this was just one of the many opportunities granted by working for the Indian Leader.
Another memory that I shared with other members of the Leader team was when we reported on the events happening at Standing Rock this past fall. Our team interviewed veterans, families, and other Haskell students that took part in fight against The Dakota Access Pipeline. I reported on the events that happened from starting in late summer to ending with the Veteran’s March in December. It was probably the first actual major field experience I got to witness and be a part of.
The minute we mentioned we were student journalist for Haskell’s Indian Leader we were able to get press badges quicker than non-native press. We were just Native Journalist trying to help spread the truth and report back to our students at Haskell. I created so many new memories at Standing Rock and was able to put them into articles that helped share information with the Haskell community.
Being a part of the Indian Leader is like being a part of a small family, the media communications program at Haskell is an amazing program that is unfortunately underrated. With the help of the Media Communication’s program students are able to have that news provided to them with Facebook, Twitter, in print and the online website. I would love to continue my journalism path at Haskell because their Media program is amazing but it’s also limited to an extent. Rhonda LeValdo the Dean of Media Communications inspires me to be a strong journalist, she is not only an amazing professor but an amazing mentor. She helped work with her students that were interested in progressing their future in journalism, introducing them to scholarships such as the Native American Journalism Association (NAJA).
Interning with NAJA was the best experience I got educational and career wise towards my future. I received an internship in New Orleans where I met members, journalist, reporters, editors, and producers from CNN, USA Today, New York Times and so many more news outlets. I was able to put a face to my work at Haskell and also represent myself as a rising Native Journalist. Not only did the Indian Leader team travel for the internship but to receive the many awards for our hard work and commitment with our articles, stories, videos and digital photography.
All these opportunities I were able to experience and a be a part of was because of joining the Indian Leader my second semester. Just by making that decision I helped better my future in so many ways.
My farewell to the Indian Leader is a both happy and sad one because if it was up to me I would stay and continue being Editor, but unfortunately a student can only earn their associates in Media Communications. Soon I will be transferring to a college back home to help focus on finishing my goal as being a Native Journalist, I wish to say that I could continue my education at Haskell but I know in the future that the Media Communications department will grow from just being an associates degree to a bachelors.
So to future students that are interested in having the same opportunities as I did, Haskell’s Indian Leader does not turn down anyone. We encourage writers, poets, comic artist, journalist, sports enthusiasts and more to write for the newspaper, a legacy that has been going on for over 120 years. Overall, my experience with working for and being in charge of the Indian Leader were some of the best memories of college I have and any student should share those same experiences and opportunities.