I'm late with a comment but that's better than never, I hope.
Readers got a beautiful photo on this past Sunday's Star-Telegram's metro cover -- A Fort Worth Independent School District Native American student dancing at a powwow, which was held as part of the district's American Indian Education Program. I wish I could post the photo for you, but I don't have permission.
Where was the story????? As usual, a local Native American event deemed worthy of coverage was (1.) a powwow (2.) worth photographing because of the color and exotic nature (3.) but not a story. That was it for the news value -- a great photo with some cutlines but nothing in the paper about FWISD's American Indian Education Program. Hard to believe yet such typical treatment by the MSM.
Except for casino issues, Native American issues are pretty much ignored by the mainstream media. There just aren't enough Indians with enough economic and political clout to justify much media attention, one hears. Tsukanvsdina! "Bull!" in Cherokee.
At the least, consider how much taxpayer money is going into the program and what benefits, in any, are realized. But consider, too, that there are many more Native Americans than those who are certified as Indians by the federal government (American Indians are the only ethnic group in the U.S. forced to prove their ethnicity according to federal guidelines) and who carry the federal-issued Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood card, which creates "real" Indians.
There are millions more of us mixed-bloods descended from Indian ancestors who feared federal census initiatives such as the Dawes Roll and hid from them to avoid the "Indian" label. We who love our heritage and how it is treated by public institutions would welcome news reports that understand and respect those ties. Plus, stir those numbers into the count and the real Indian demographics throw newsworthiness into an entirely different, and brighter, light.
There should have been a story with that picture, dang it. The event was treated instead with stereotypical planning. At least staff writer Eva-Marie Ayala wrote a blog item in the paper's Extra Credit blog. If you don't want to click on that link, here's what she wrote:
"Fort Worth ISD hosts second annual powwow
"Saturday's free event was aimed at getting more students involved in the district's American Indian Education Program, which helps them connect to various educational benefits and other resources. Alice Barrientez, who oversees the program, has helped increase the number of students identified as Native American in the district from about 180 five years ago to 208 in the 2007-08 school year. Barrientez was named the American Indian Community Individual of the Year in 2008 for her work with the students by the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Texas. This weekend's powwow was 1-9 p.m. and was to include dancing, arts, crafts, food and other activities at the Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center, 5201 C.A. Roberson Blvd."
The end. 30. Would you have liked to have known more? Would you like to know more about Native American issues? For that matter, what do you think of Fort Worth's treatment of Native Americans in its history, its public art and history?
Eva-Marie and FWISD: Bless you. Star-Telegram: Shame on you.