W-peva?e tsexe-ho?ohtse (It’s good you came)
WELCOME TO A CHEYENNEVOICE.COM
Ne-a?ese (Thank You) for visiting A Cheyenne Voice online. Being on the internet – in cyberspace – is a big step for this “Rez” publication. Hopefully, it will open new doors to Cheyenne Country and allow new audiences to find us. We’re sure glad you found this website.
First, let me share a little background about A Cheyenne Voice. It was established in August, 2010, based on hope, prayer and a small economic shot-in-the-arm from an Indian Equity Grant (State of Montana). That grant bought a printer, some software and initial supplies, but otherwise it is a private small Indian-owned business. The grant gave me the confidence to resign my position as Executive Assistant to the President of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe to dive into the uncertain waters of entrepreneurship. Besides, I didn’t want to work 9-5, Monday through Friday anymore. And, I’ve accomplished that – now I work from 9-9, Monday through Sunday! But, that’s enough about me.
For many years, the Northern Cheyenne Reservation was a media dessert without a newspaper or radio station. The cable T.V. station serves only the town of Lame Deer. Unfortunately, the major and non-Indian media coverage of the Reservation focused on the negative and sensational. If you based your impression about Northern Cheyenne people on Billings Gazette coverage, for example, you’d conclude that we are comprised of a few great ball players and a bunch of rascals. Otherwise, folks in our community relied largely by the “moccasin telegraph” for news. As you might image, rumor and gossip were endemic.
I decided that we were sick of “bad” news; weary of “no” news and that it was time for a little “good” news. Most important,it’s time for the Cheyenne story to be told by Cheyennes – few others get it right. Recently, a Cheyenne elder gave the paper a great compliment saying “Only a Cheyenne could write this paper,” he said. “It tells the truth about us.”
Conditions are bleak in Cheyenne Country; unemployment and poverty average 75% and there are many social problems and sometimes the negativity is overwhelming. Yet, many wonderful people live in Cheyenne Country and much good transpires here. We need to be reminded of this and that’s why this publication is dedicated to promoting the positive. A Cheyenne Voice deals in three important commodities: accurate information; education and most important, inspiration.
A recent NPR Talk Show host said that “good news” publications don’t work. I disagree and thus far, the growth of this publication seems to defy those odds-from a humble beginning of 200 weekly copies we now distribute about 1,000 each week locally. After ten months, the paper has secured many sponsors and advertisers and faithful readers, expanded from the Reservation to include neighboring communities of Ashland and Colstrip and has nearly 200 subscribers from all around the country – folks who are interested in the Northern Cheyenne and our neighbors. And now, with the internet, we will reach a greater audience, especially the younger generation -like my son Lance Spotted Elk who tells me about being attuned to on-line information.
There are seven Indian reservations and several urban Indian communities in Montana. All of the Reservations except Northern Cheyenne had a tribal news publication. Four Tribes financially support newspapers, one Reservation is covered by a nearby non-Indian paper and one Reservation is covered by a privately owned newspaper, the Fort Peck Journal, owned by Bonnie Red Elk, a feisty Indian woman.
There have been newspapers on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in the past. Tribally sponsored newspapers have been short-lived because sooner or later some coverage offends the elected officials who pull the financial plug. As a former tribal council member, I am familiar with the “ups and downs” or “ins and outs” of tribal politics and thus decided that A Cheyenne Voice had to be financially independent from the Tribe. This publication is a private small business that depends soley on advertising, sponsors, subscriptions and the occasional charitable contribution. Fortunately, the Tribe under the leadership of current President Leroy Spang is supportive of the paper. Each issue includes regular coverage of tribal government news, including a weekly column by the Tribal President. But, the Tribe does not support or control the paper and as a matter of fact, the paper is produced off-Reservation, from my home (a 5th wheel camp trailer) in Colstrip, located about 20 miles from Lame Deer.
To accomplish the mission of promoting the positive, each issue includes regular features: Traditional Talk (Northern Cheyenne culture, history and the Cheyenne Word of the Week); Cheyenne Spotlight (featuring a community member who is doing something positive and has a story to tell); Health/Wellness Tip (incorporating traditional Cheyenne healing); Community Calendar; Sports Page; the Indian Joke of the Week; the Heritage Center (Cheyenne elders); and Legislative Voices (reports from elected officials). Other coverage includes general news, tribal government agendas, resolutions and projects; student/school news and so forth.
I’m glad you found us partner. Please drop in from time-time-time to see what’s shakin in Cheyenne Country. If you are inclined, drop us a line. Some of our best ideas come from readers. In the meantime, may Maheo’ (the Creator) bless you and yours.
Ne?eva-hose-ho?ehneo?o (Come back again.