National Native Media Awards honor the work of Olympian, News Tribune reporters

Lisa Pemberton
Lisa Pemberton The News Tribune

The Olympian and The News Tribune were awarded two national journalism honors last week.

The National Native Media Awards recognize excellence in reporting by journalists covering Indian Country, according to the program’s sponsor, the Native American Journalists Association.

There were more than 700 entries in the contest, which has categories for radio, TV, print and online media. It is open to Native and non-Native journalists.

Olympian reporter Lisa Pemberton won second place in the largest print division for “Nisqually’s canoe journey reignites Coast Salish culture.”

The story was about huge event that began with the arrival of 100 tribal canoes from Canada, Alaska and the Pacific Northwest at the Port of Olympia on July 30, 2016.

It was followed with a weeklong potlatch at the Nisqually reservation about 15 miles east of Olympia.

“There is no other event that compares to this,” Nisqually tribal elder Cleo Frank said in the Aug. 6, 2016, story. “It is a dream come true. … This is the big show. This is the big dance.”

Pemberton and News Tribune reporter Adam Lynn also won second place in the largest print division for best news story for “HIMARS test booms at JBLM after delay.”

Reporter Kenny Ocker also contributed to the report.

The story covered Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s decision to test fire practice rockets from the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems.

JBLM’s land borders the Nisqually reservation, where tribal leaders were worried about the impact of the rockets’ noise on people and animals.

Pemberton is a member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe (White Earth band), and has close ties to several Northwest tribes.

She covers education, Thurston County government and tribal stories for The Olympian.

“I went into journalism to help tell great stories in Indian Country,” she said. “These awards hold a special place in my heart.”