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Native American Journalists Association NAJA
A round dance at the Native American Journalists Association’s 2019 National Native Media Conference. Photo by Kevin Abourezk / Indianz.Com
Native American Journalists Association announces leadership changes
Wednesday, March 22, 2023

The Native American Journalists Association announced changes in leadership following the resignation of the board president.

But Francine Compton, who hails from the Sandy Bay Ojibway First Nation, isn’t going far. After she stepped down as president following a board meeting on March 16, NAJA announced she will serving as associate director of the non-profit organization.

Graham Lee Brewer, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, will now serve as president for the remainder of Compton’s term. He had been vice president of the board.

At a special board meeting called by Brewer on March 21, Christine Trudeau, a citizen of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, was named vice president and Angel Ellis, a citizen of the Muscogee Nation, was named treasurer.

According to a news release, NAJA continues to focus on an “international expansion” of its efforts to serve Native journalists, primarily in the United States and Canada. During her term as president, Compton had led an initiative to change the organization’s name to the “Indigenous Journalists Association.”

At the time of the proposal, during the spring of 2021, Indianz.Com asked NAJA about its membership. The organization said fewer than 10 percent of its members were based in places outside of the United States.

“Francine’s leadership and more than 20 years of newsroom experience are necessary to delivering NAJA’s mission of serving and empowering Indigenous journalists,” NAJA executive director Rebecca Landsberry-Baker said in the news release on Wednesday.

“As a full-time staff member, Francine will play a key role in successfully executing a new, ambitious 2023-2026 strategic plan, which will be shared with the membership in the coming months,” Rebecca Landsberry-Baker said. “I know she will wholly dedicate herself to our organization, just as she’s done across three terms as president.”

According to the release, Compton will be leaving her job at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, also known as the CBC. She had been a producer for CBC Indigenous in Winnipeg, the largest city in the province of Manitoba.

Earlier in the month, following the March 16 board meeting, Compton said in a letter to members that NAJA would be holding its conference in Canada for the first time in the organization’s 40-year history. The 2023 National Native Media Conference will take place August 10-23 in Winnipeg.

According to Wednesday’s news release, the “Indigenous Journalists Association” name change will be considered during an election at the upcoming conference.

The March 16 post with the text of the letter was signed “NAJA President Francine Compton.”

The 2023 NAJA board of directors consists of:

Graham Lee Brewer (Cherokee Nation), President
Christine Trudeau (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation), Vice President
Angel Ellis (Muscogee Nation), Treasurer
Pauly Denetclaw (Diné), Secretary
Jourdan Bennett-Begaye (Diné)
Savannah Maher (Mashpee Wampanoag)
Shondiin Silversmith (Diné)
Angel Moore (Peguis First Nation)