Who speaks for indigenous peoples? Tribal journalists, rhetorical sovereignty, and freedom of expression

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This study asks whether tribal journalists appeal to people hood or nationhood for authority for their exercise of rhetorical sovereignty and freedom of expression. Freedoms of expression and information, in the context of indigenous tribes in the United States, belong to anyone who practices rhetorical sovereignty of those peoples by communicating what is in the best interests of those peoples. Then, to support that thesis, the study uses rhetorical critiques of writings and historical examples about free expression by tribal journalists and communicators to discuss this issue in a way that helps us understand that freedoms of press and information in their varying forms essential for the survival and prosperity of indigenous peoples, that rhetorical sovereignty is a theoretical framework that helps us to understand how freedom of press or expression comes from the hearts of the tribes, and that tribal journalists are examples of some of the best practices of rhetorical sovereignty and freedoms of press and information for the good of their people. Some of the examples include Elias Boudinot (Cherokee) and William Apess (Pequot) from the early nineteenth century, and Mark Trahant (Shoshone-Bannock) and Tom Arviso Jr. (Navajo) from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-58
Number of pages56
JournalJournalism and Communication Monographs
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2010


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication

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