Reynolds School Student Receives Columbia Scholarship To Attend Native American Journalist Association Conference

Reynolds School Student Receives Columbia Scholarship To Attend Native American Journalist Association Conference

Reynolds School student Jarrette Werk received the Columbia fellowship to attend the Native American Journalist Association this fall. Werk is a Native American student and after hearing a guest lecture from writer Tristan Ahtone and meeting the active Native American journalist, Werk began to get more involved with NAJA.

Werk says he’s looking forward to the mentorship and connections he’ll be able to make at the conference.

“I just think this is a really great opportunity to surround myself with all theses Native American journalists. I can’t wait to learn how they do everything,” says Werk.

When Werk met Ahtone last fall, he didn’t know there was a vibrant community of journalists who understood his background and story. He says he was drawn to journalism because storytelling is so important in Native American culture.

“Native American history is really big with storytelling. What I want to do with my journalism is focus on telling stories that the Native American communities need to hear, but also people who are not aware can hear as well.”

This summer Werk is doing an internship at First Nation’s Focus, a publication covering issues within the Native American communities in Nevada. He says telling the stories of Native American communities is important because historically Native Americans weren’t allowed to keep records.

“A lot of history that Native American’s have gone through has been lost,” said Werk. “The way the history has been kept alive is through storytelling and I want to use my voice today to continue those types of traditions – to keep the history alive, but also tell current stories.”

The conference takes place in September and Werk can’t wait.

“I can not thank Columbia University enough for allowing me the opportunity to attend the National Native Media Conference in Anaheim, California. Also, a big shout out to Tristan Ahtone for making all of this possible. I am so excited and thankful to partake in this amazing experience, and to surround myself with so many talented Native Reporters and the next generations of storytellers.”

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