As Native people, we need to create our own narrative in the media space. I love that I get to play a small role in how our communities are documented and how our stories are shared journalistically with the world.                  

Jarrette Werk

Jarrette Werk
Jarrette Werk, an award-winning multimedia journalist, is a citizen of the Aaniiih and Nakoda Nations of the Fort Belknap Indian Community in Montana. Inspired to pursue a career in media by the lack of coverage of Standing Rock during the NoDAPL protests, he now works for Underscore News, a news outlet dedicated to covering Indigenous communities in the Pacific Northwest and amplifying Indigenous voices on a mass scale.

Reclaiming an Indigenous Narrative

One of the biggest challenges facing our community is accurate and authentic representation. Native stories are often told through a non-Indigenous perspective, with stereotypes and misconceptions creating most of the narrative. Jarrette, through his media career and developing meaningful relationships with Native communities, is committed to reclaiming the narrative by centering Native voices.

Through the Lens and on the Page: A Love Letter to the Indigenous Pacific Northwest

Jarrette and a team of Indigenous storytellers will produce a yearlong series of stories celebrating Indigenous communities in the Pacific Northwest through compelling written narratives and beautiful photography. The stories and subject matter will be diverse, potentially including subjects such as a world champion jingle dancer, a writer/artist/dragclown, a Two Spirit storyteller, a designer who blends traditional Indigenous culture with modern themes, a multi-media artist who seeks to rectify flawed narratives of Indigenous people, a comedian, painters, wood carvers and more. They will compile these stories in a limited-edition book and distribute it to tribal and non-tribal audiences.

“Nobody knows our communities and stories like we do. I want people to open this book and see themselves, to flip through the pages and see their community. I want it to be a book about Indigenous joy and about the triumphs and challenges we are overcoming for our future generations.”

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