Homer: Put in effort to fairly report news of tribal government By: David Lias
Plain Talk Elizabeth Lohah Homer told young journalists participating in the American Indian Journalism Institute in Vermillion that covering local, state and tribal government will always provide a unique set of challenges. â�?�?There will be a lot of similarities,â�? she said Tuesday, speaking to students at the Al Neuharth Media Center on The University of South Dakota campus. â�?�?With any government, you will be talking about policies and projects and next steps. â�?�?But I think when you talk with a tribal government, there is an issue of credibility and a willingness to share with the journalist if the journalist doesnâ�?�?t get the basics down about tribal sovereignty.â�? Homer, a member of the Osage Nation of Oklahoma, served as vice chair of the National Indian Gaming Commission from 1999 to 2002. She now directs Homer Law, a law firm that practices primarily in the field of federal Indian law. According to Homer, reporters need to be sensitive to the types of information that is requested from tribal governments, and tribesâ�?�? interests in either protecting or disclosing that information. Homer said she understands how some people are against Indian gaming because of the individual problems it may cause. However, the economic benefits gaming has brought to tribes has been phenomenal. â�?�?I look over the course of my career, and I see the difference in communities, and it is absolutely extraordinary,â�? she said. Homer said people initially worried that gaming would bring a host of societal problems to communities. â�?�?Where communities have socio-economically grown (because of gaming), the social problems have commensurately gone down,â�? she said.