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"Finding and Investigating Business Stories on Tribal Lands"

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Marley Shebala presents "Finding and Investigating Business Stories on Tribal Lands" at a free business journalism workshop, "Covering Business on Tribal Lands," hosted by the Donald W. Reynolds …

Marley Shebala presents "Finding and Investigating Business Stories on Tribal Lands" at a free business journalism workshop, "Covering Business on Tribal Lands," hosted by the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism and the Native American Journalists Association.

For more information about free training for business journalists, please visit businessjournalism.org.


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  • 1. WHERE TO LOOK FOR STORIES… THEN WHAT?
  • 2. Reservation Economics … Is it different than off- reservation economics?
  • 3. “When I was growing up, my Tlingit mother often told me something her father had told her, ‘Before we were civilized, we wore fur and leather. Then, they (European missionaries) put rags on our backs.”
    - Bambi Kraus, Success and Poverty in Indian Country
  • 4.
  • 5.
  • 6.
  • 7. Asked a few years ago about the impact of development on Choctaw culture and community, Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians Chief Phillip Martin responded, “Well, it used to be that everyone moved away, but now they’re moving back.”
  • 8. In our experience, few Native nations are primarily concerned with making themselves rich.
    - The Nature and Components of Economic Development in Indian Country by Stephen Cornell & Miriam Jorgensen for NCAI Policy Research Center
  • 9. Tribal Business
  • 10. Relocation strikes againBeing evicted from tribal ranch a new kind of homelessness for Navajo-Hopi relocateesBy Marley ShebalaNavajo Times
    (Times photo – Leigh T. Jimmie)
    (Times photo – Leigh T. Jimmie)
    Navajo families load their cattle into trailers at the Tract 1 ranch, near Leupp, Ariz., on Feb. 18, 2011, before the livestock was confiscated by Navajo Rangers.
    Kenneth Jensen, of White Cone, Ariz., is one of six ranchers with an expired ranch lease. His cattle was hauled away Feb. 18, 2011, from the Tract 1 ranch near Leupp, Ariz.
  • 11. NAPI hay a hit with reservation ranchersBy ErnyZahNavajo Times
    DILKON, Ariz. – More than 90 trucks lined Navajo Route 15 Feb. 4, waiting for up to three hours to buy low-cost hay from the Navajo Agricultural Products Industry.
    NAPI had trucked in about 2,300 bales of hay, and was selling three-wire bales for $7 each, according to Vince Cowboy, alfalfa crop manager for NAPI.
  • 12. Food
  • 13. Dreaming of 'ach'íí'Meat market keeps serving the delicacies dearest to Diné hearts - and stomachsBy Marley ShebalaNavajo Times
  • 14. A gourmet touchMoe's Twisted Tamales offers different tastes to mid-morning favoriteBy ErnyZahNavajo Times
    Maurice Gilmore, 39, sat at his dinner table eating a tamale. He carefully untied the knotted straps and smelled the fragrant steam.
    “It’s good,” he pronounced after his first bite.
    Restoring oneself with a tamale at mid-morning isn’t uncommon in these parts – some feel it’s a survival necessity, in fact – but for Gilmors, eating was more about business than pleasure.
    Unlike most home-based tamale vendors, who offer a similar array of beef or pork tamales, Gilmore strives to take the simple mixture of meat and masa cooked in a cornhusk to another level.
    Maurice Gilmore, 39, creator of Moe’s Twisted Tamales wraps some tamales. “I love doing this,” he said of his budding tamale-making business.
  • 15. Sunny day makes for memorable paradeBy Marley ShebalaNavajo Times
    Food vendors, who had constructed temporary booths off the roadway and behind the spectators, were already busy selling breakfast burritos, fry bread and steaming cups of coffee to long lines of people.
    When police closed the parade route to traffic at 7 a.m., food vendors took to the street with their goodies which also included banana bread, Rice Krispie treats, cupcakes, water, soda pop, energy drinks and Navajo tea.
    LeNora Johnson, dressed in a straw hat, flowing blouse and pants, and turquoise and silver jewelry, pushed a small cart with a sign that stated “For Sale Dried Navajo Tea 50 cents.”
    Johnson, a member of the Navajo Board of Election Supervisors, was among a group of vendors selling Native items such as turquoise and silver jewelry, flutes, beaded jewelry, T-shirts and caps, cradleboards, CDs of powwow and con temporary music, and posters.
    (Times photo – Marley Shebala)
  • 16. Sacred Hogan satisfies rez cravingsBy Jan-Mikael PattersonNavajo Times
    If you live in the Valley and you're missing the delicacies of the Navajo Reservation, you can satisfy your taste buds by visiting the Sacred Hogan Restaurant (842 E. Indian School Road) in central Phoenix. "This is the closest that we can be to home," said regular diner Melinda Nakaidinae, 35, who left the cool pines of Lukachukai, Ariz., for the Valley 13 years ago. "I was in here yesterday too. I hardly go home myself."
    (Times photo – Leigh T. Jimmie)
    Sacred Hogan restaurant co-owner Dwayne Lewis serves up a roast mutton sandwich and fry bread to customers Melinda Nakaidinea, left, and Tatiana Warren, right, on Oct. 29 in Phoenix.
  • 17. Lady Duck's - a place to satisfy your sweet toothBy ErnyZahNavajo Times
    Amid the food stands serving mutton and more mutton next to the Window Rock flea market is a newly opened business that offers a distinct contrast.
    It's run by a 25-year-old single mother from Lukachukai, Ariz., although she often feels like she never gets to see her child, what with all the demands of starting a new business.
  • 18. CLOTHING
  • 19. ‘I do everything myself’Diné clothing designer hopes for a store of her ownBy Jan-Mikael PattersonNavajo Times
  • 20. Sew What?’s new in Window RockBy Jan-Mikael PattersonNavajo Times
  • 21. BOOKS
  • 22. Through Diné lensPhotographer goes all out with book project to photograph rez, peopleBy CheeBrossyNavajo Times
    Outside Diné College on a Saturday night, a heavy metal band from the college's annual music fest blasts music for a handful of enthusiastic fans and another handful of more subdued audience members.
    A photographer shoots the scene and its players. A Navajo scene shot by a Navajo photographer.
    Don James of Prewitt, N.M., trained in photography at the University of New Mexico, has set out to spend a year photographing scenes around the reservation that illustrate Navajo life through the lens of someone inside the culture.
  • 23. ART
  • 24. Warriors' shieldBy Cindy YurthTséyi' Bureau
    Symbols are powerful things. The best ones capture people's imaginations and rally them to action. For a Diné‚ artist living in Michigan, the fact that one of his designs is rapidly becoming a national symbol for Native veterans represents a high point in his career - a career that, 25 years ago, was dangerously on the skids.
  • 25. Tribute to the ancestors
    Adversity, accomplishment inspired Indian Market best-of-show winner
    By Marley Shebala
    Navajo Times
    Deschiinii Sani and other survivors of the Navajos’ four-year internment at Fort Sumner, N.M., gave them the theme for their entry, titled “Return From the Long Walk.”
    Altogether, the belt has 15 conchos, each 3 inches high, and the buckle. Twelve of the conchos are human figures, each with a piece of turquoise set in the face. The single set of turquoise is Begay’s artistic signature.
    “And like my grandpa use to say, you’re suppose to have a piece of turquoise with you so the Holy Ones recognize you,” said Darryl.
    Together the conchos tell the story of the Navajos’ return from Hweeldi. The buckle shows a Navajo man walking west and leading a young girl, her mother, grandmother, and two children riding a horse. The grandmother carries a baby in a cradleboard on her back.
  • 26. Hair and ArtHair salon and gallery offer a place in the city for artists to get knownBy Colton ShoneSpecial to the Times
    "My vision of the store is to have a place in the Scottsdale-Phoenix area where Native American people can come and show their work for zero to minimal cost," Newton said.
    He wants Native artists to get fair prices for their art.
    Newton said another major reason he decided to open up his shop was to give those artists the opportunity to take back control of their art.
  • 27. BUSINESS
  • 28. The Hogues emphasize customer service and depth of knowledge about their products to distinguish their store from others in the area. Jeri has bought running shoes in Farmington, she says, and the experience led her to do her shopping in Albuquerque or Durango, Colo.Now, she and her husband want to localize that knowledge and offer some harder-to-find shoe brands such as Mizuno and Brooks to an area that doesn’t have a store specailizing in running shoes.Jeri, who is originally from Cason, N.M., and Eugene are serious runners and it has given them insight into their business. In addition, Jeri coaches track at a local middle school and Eugene, who ran in the Boston Marathon in 1993 and 1994, has been running since a young age.
  • 29. Entrepreneur catches wave of a growing industry
    By Jan-Mikael Patterson
    Navajo Times
    Starting an independent medical billing business has been 10 years in the making for Dorothy Hernandez. But she had plenty of practice to give her the confidence to do a start-up.
    "I've been doing medical billing for 18 years in other's people's practices," Hernandez said.
    Hernandez, 43, is NaakaiiDine'é (Mexican People Clan), born for Tódích'íi'nii (Bitter Water Clan). Her parents are Helen Nez of Tolani Lake, Ariz., and Homer Nez of Chambers, Ariz.
    She grew up in Flagstaff, where she still resides with her husband Lloyd, and earned an associate degree in medical billing from Yavapai Community College.
    Hernandez was long interested in starting her own business but daughters Jennifer and Julia were in high school and she felt it would interfere with her duties as a mother.
    Once her children graduated from high school and began living on their own, Hernandez decided the time had come to put her dream into action. She discovered the Small Business Resource Center at Coconino Community College, where she paid a $95 fee to get expert help in the technicalities of starting a business.
    "I'm working with the county on that right now to where they would be paying the ladies and I would have the office space for them," she said.
    Hernandez Healthcare Billing is located in the basement of the Anderson Building, just south of the railroad tracks in downtown Flagstaff.
  • 30.
  • 31. http://www.meredith.edu/nativeam/zuni.htm