Author

Shondiin Silversmith

Shondiin Silversmith

Shondiin Silversmith is an award-winning Native journalist based on the Navajo Nation. Silversmith has covered Indigenous communities for more than 10 years, and covers Arizona's 22 federally recognized sovereign tribal nations, as well as national and international Indigenous issues. Her digital, print and audio stories have been published by USA TODAY, The Arizona Republic, Navajo Times, The GroundTruth Project and PRX's "The World." Silversmith earned her master's degree in journalism and mass communication in Boston before moving back to Arizona to continue reporting stories on Indigenous communities. She is a member of the Native American Journalist Association and has made it a priority in her career to advocate, pitch and develop stories surrounding Indigenous communities in the newsrooms she works in.

Native education programs win grants from AZ education department

By: - May 19, 2022

Some people go through life without ever having a mentor, but the Native SOAR program is working to change that for Indigenous students — whether they’re in kindergarten or doctoral students. “It’s a recruitment, mentoring and professional development hub that serves our Indigenous students, all the way from kindergarten to graduate students, as well as […]

Gila River Indian Community awarded a $4.4 million dollar grant to expand broadband

By: - May 17, 2022

The Gila River Indian Community received a $4.4 million dollar grant to help improve access to and use of broadband internet service among tribal citizens. The network expansion will assist in telehealth, distance learning, affordable internet service, economic growth and digital inclusion efforts, according to the grant application.  “This $4.4 million in funding is vital […]

Light Up Navajo III

Light Up Navajo initiative helps Navajo with ‘life-changing’ access to the electrical grid

By: - May 16, 2022

Melisha Beyal grew up on the Navajo Nation and always wanted to put a home on her family’s homesite in Klagetoh. It’s where her family is from and where she grew up — but it’s also in an area that doesn’t have access to electricity or running water.  In fact, her mother moved away from […]

Historic report on Federal Indian Boarding Schools finds 47 in Arizona, 400 nationwide

By: - May 11, 2022

For the first time in history, the Department of Interior investigated the federal Indian boarding school system across the United States, identifying more than 400 schools and over 50 burial sites. Arizona was home to 47 of those schools, which were attended by Indigenous children who were taken away from their families and attempted to […]

Ending the ‘life of violence’: Raising awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

By: - May 4, 2022

May 5 is the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG).  In 2017, the U.S. Senate signed a resolution that designated May 5 as the “National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls.” Sen. Steve Daines, R-Montana, introduced the resolution in response to the disappearance […]

Shadow Wolves Enhancement Act signed into law, expanding program

By: - April 21, 2022

A new federal law aims to improve recruitment and expand operations for the Shadow Wolves, the country’s only Native American tracking unit based on the Tohono O’odham Nation. The Shadow Wolves are an elite unit within U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that operates on the Tohono O’odham Nation, which shares 62-miles of the Mexican border.  […]

Tunnel Fire northeast of Flagstaff 0% contained, Ducey declares state of emergency

By: - April 21, 2022

Gov. Doug Ducey has declared a state of emergency in response to the Tunnel Fire in Coconino County that has currently burned more than 20,000 acres and has 0% containment. “Our team is on the ground working with first responders to monitor the Tunnel Fire in Coconino County,” Ducey said in a press release. “As […]

climate change

Department of Interior announces funding opportunity for tribal communities to address climate change

By: - April 19, 2022

Tribal nations across the country have the opportunity to receive funding to address the unique impacts climate change has within their communities. “As the effects of climate change continue to intensify, Indigenous communities are facing unique climate-related challenges that pose existential threats to Tribal economies, infrastructure, lives, and livelihoods,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in […]

White House report highlights voting barriers for Native American voters

By: - April 12, 2022

Native Americans face recurring and unnecessary barriers when it comes to exercising their right to vote, according to a report released by the White House.  “Many of the voting barriers faced by Native American communities are persistent and longstanding, with deep historical roots,” the report states. The report identified a wide range of barriers that […]

‘Light Up Navajo’ initiative aims to connect 300 families to the electrical grid

By: - April 11, 2022

The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA) is working with utility crews from across the U.S. to extend power lines and bring electricity to families on the Navajo Nation as part of the Light Up Navajo III initiative. Light Up Navajo III (LUN III) is a mutual aid project that extends service to Navajo homes without […]

Large census undercount of Indigenous people on tribal lands means fewer resources, political power

By: - April 7, 2022

Indigenous people living on tribal land were the group most likely to be undercounted in the 2020 Census, according to an analysis released by the U.S. Census Bureau, which means tribal governments will have fewer federal resources and less political power. According to the Post-Enumeration Survey (PES) released by the U.S. Census Bureau in March, […]

covid-19 mrna vaccine

Report shows several Arizona counties with high poverty and COVID death rates

By: - April 5, 2022

Six Arizona counties ended up as part of a report that showcased the top 300 counties nationwide with high poverty and COVID-19 death rates, with Apache County landing at No. 17. The counties were included in a report by the Poor People’s Campaign, which advocates for public policies aimed at helping economically disadvantaged communities — […]