San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Awards $100,000 Grant to Fund Native News Coverage

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.— The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians has awarded a grant of $100,000 to the nonprofit Local Media Foundation on behalf of Native News Online, a leading independent news outlet that covers important news across Indian Country.

The one-year grant will be used to hire Indigenous journalists to raise awareness and expand coverage of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) healthcare, education, tribal economic development, tribal sovereignty, and the environment.

The grant will be administered by Local Media Foundation, a charitable trust of the Local Media Association that seeks to ensure a healthy future for local journalism by reinventing business models for news.

“Sustainability for publishers of color is one of our four strategic pillars at LMA. We are extremely proud to support this important work,” said Nancy Lane, CEO, Local Media Association. “We hope more funders will step up to assist Indigenous media outlets on both the journalism and business side. Thanks to the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians for this significant investment.”

“We are pleased to support this project for Native News Online, a news organization that has worked hard to improve the narrative about Indian Country through its daily reporting on important issues,” says Johnny Hernadez Jr., Vice-Chairman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Business Committee.

Founded in 2011, Native News Online provides news to millions of Native and non-Native readers through its website, free daily newsletters, and social media channels, as well as its weekly Livestream interview show, Native Bidaske.

“We are grateful to the San Manuel Band for this grant and its continued support of Native journalism over the years,” Editor and Publisher Levi Rickert (Prairie Band Potawatomi) said. “This funding will allow us to hire more AI/AN journalists as we build our newsroom staff and expand our network of freelance writers and photographers who bring a Native perspective to their reporting.”

For the past decade-plus, Native News Online has covered the important Indigenous stories that are often overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the toppling of colonizer statues during the racial equity protests to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide, and Indian Boarding Schools, Native News has been there to provide a Native perspective and elevate Native voices.

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