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Indianz.Com > Native Sun News: Native Media Summit takes place in New Mexico

Until 1972, Native American radio stations did not exist. With the on-air signing first of KTDB Radio in a remote area of the Navajo, or Diné, reservation in New Mexico, then of KBRW Radio in Barrow, Alaska, just a few months apart in 1972, a new era was slowly but steadily under way.

Forty years after those humble public radio beginnings, there are around 50 tribal stations scattered across the country.

And by the end of 2012, there will be some 60 Native American terrestrial radio stations on the air, according to Native Media Resource Center, representing 55 tribes and Native organizations.

Despite this commendable showing, such particulars are dismally disproportionate when juxtaposed against the ubiquity of non-Native American radio, which runs the gamut from traditional terrestrial to online to satellite stations as well as specially designed, individually programmed station applications for smartphones and other technologically advanced gadgets.

Serving to further lessen the full impact of Native radio is the added – but historically reduced – ubiquity of the number of tribes across the country: there are 568 federally recognized tribes with an additional 400 tribes that have yet to attain federal recognition – though this legally misconstrued condition doesn’t detract from their real-world cultural and historical status as tribal nations.

Working against this deficit in Indian country is Native Public Media, a Native American-run public broadcasting organization based out of Flagstaff, Ariz., that provides media services to Natives including programming and funding for Native-owned radio stations, as well as broadband, or high-speed Internet, and cable television services.

In an effort to redefine America’s airwaves by providing a prominent voice for Natives, the organization focuses heavily on facilitating the cross-country spread of accessible, informative Native radio stations and on increasing listenership for those stations.

Founded in 2004 as a nonprofit by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, initially to serve tribal radio stations, Native Public Media’s compelling stated purpose, as contained on its website, is “to empower Native people … to participate actively in all forms of media and to do it on our own terms.” NPM’s purposeful vision is firmly grounded in the premise that “Media has a vital role to play in supporting tribal economic and community development and is tied directly to the nation-building efforts of sovereign tribes.”

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: Indianz.Com > Native Sun News: Native Media Summit takes place in New Mexico.

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