Hau mitakuyapi. Yá’át’ééh shik’éí dóó shidine’é (Hello my relatives and my people). It is my honor to write this editorial as the new Managing Editor of the West River Eagle. First of all, I would like to express my utmost gratitude and heartfelt thanks to my predecessor, Jody Rust, for her mentorship, guidance and friendship during my time with the WRE. As you know, in March, our newspaper came under new ownership and since that time, there have been changes within our company, including the design and layout of our newspaper.
Three weeks ago, we launched the new look of the WRE with changes to our logo, font, layouts, and more. Just as there were outward and visible changes, so too were changes unseen, with adjustments in our staff.
During this transition in editorship, Jody will remain an important part of our staff, continuing as a contributing writer and photographer.
What will remain the same is our commitment to you, our readers. I realize and appreciate the unique position that the West River Eagle is in — we operate on one of the largest Native American reservations in the nation, and our neighbors are diverse. So too are the range of issues that impact our communities. As editor, it is my goal to continue serving the public by producing truthful and accurate reporting each week.
Every day our staff talks about what is happening within our area, and we are constantly shifting to meet the communication needs of our readers.
Just as the world is constantly evolving, so are we. We are excited about the new ventures, plans and expansion of how we deliver news to you.
We understand the importance of social media and have embraced it. Our Facebook page is constantly updated with breaking news, public service announcements, videos, news stories, photos, and so much more.
This school year, we will also begin livestreaming video footage of sports events from Cheyenne River schools. More detailed information about this will be released soon.
Today, the role of newspapers has never been so crucial, especially in rural America. We live here and are a part of the communities that we report on – who better to write about Little Jet saving geese or the local football star making a game-winning touchdown? Every week, when a new edition is printed, that paper becomes a part of history – the stories, photos, public notices, meeting minutes, are an accurate reflection of that moment in time.
Jody said it best when she wrote, “Newspapers are meant to be a watchdog of government, which means we are supposed to protect the people from abuses of government, business, and other entities.” We take that responsibility seriously and are committed to writing about local government affairs and actions that impact the lives of the public. There is so much happening in daily life, and we know that keeping up with affairs of government can be difficult. That is why we are here.
For instance, two years ago I wrote a story about the disinterment and cremation of a CRST tribal member, events that occurred against the wishes of the family and the church. In the same edition, I also wrote an editorial expressing my frustration about the lack of state laws regarding disinterment on tribal lands.
Senator Ryan Maher read the story, contacted me and asked me to testify before a state congressional hearing. I shared the story and with the help of the good senator and Representative Oren Lesmeister, state laws were changed to protect our buried relatives. That is the power of journalism and why newspapers matter.
West River Eagle, formerly known as West River Progress and Eagle Butte News, has been in existence since 1910, and has consistently produced award-winning news. I am proud of our staff, and the creativity, hard work, and passion they put into producing a newspaper every week. It is our commitment to continue serving our communities and producing the best newspaper for you.