Author

Shondiin Silversmith, AZ Mirror

Shondiin Silversmith, AZ Mirror

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.

A yellow sign with black and turquoise lettering describes COVID mask requirements on the Navajo Nation.

The Navajo Nation has lifted its mask mandate, fully reopening to the public

By: - January 25, 2023

Almost three years after it was instituted to curb the spread of COVID-19, the Navajo Nation has lifted its mask mandate, making mask use optional in public spaces and businesses for the general public. By removing the mask mandate, the Navajo Nation is now considered fully reopened to the general public. “It’s time for the […]

Pershlie Ami, a citizen of the Hopi tribe, shares her experience of attending Phoenix Indian School when she was a kid during the Road to Healing tour hosted by the U.S. Department of Interior at the Gila Crossing Community School on Jan. 20, 2023.

Survivors and descendants of federal Indian boarding schools share experiences

By: - January 21, 2023

Sitting on a chair in the middle of a crowded gym, Hopi woman Pershlie Ami talked softly into the microphone to share her experience about going to Phoenix Indian School when she was a kid. “I don’t speak my language, I don’t know my culture as well as I would like to, and that was […]

Buu Nygren becomes youngest Navajo president, Richelle Montoya becomes the first woman VP

By: - January 11, 2023

New Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren and Vice President Richelle Montoya were sworn into office Tuesday, along with the Council delegates who were elected in November. Throughout the ceremony, incoming and former tribal leaders discussed the importance of moving forward and working for the Navajo people to better the future of the Navajo Nation. “If […]

Hobbs highlights Arizona’s Indigenous people, history during inauguration

By: - January 6, 2023

Seeing Arizona Tribes spotlighted during Governor Katie Hobbs’s inauguration ceremony was refreshing for local tribal advocates, and it affirms Hobbs’s commitment to upholding relationships with tribal nations. “This is exactly the moment that we have been waiting for,” said Indivisible Tohono Co-Founder April Ignacio of Hobbs becoming governor. “It’s not overwhelming. It’s a fresh breath […]

BIA, FBI update criminal investigation guidelines for Indian Country

By: - December 16, 2022

To provide a more unified response for investigating crimes on tribal nations, including the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples crisis, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Federal Bureau of Investigations updated their guidelines on criminal investigations in Indian Country. “Interagency coordination is absolutely critical given the complexities of jurisdiction in Tribal communities,” Assistant Secretary […]

Navajo voters elect Buu Nygren as president, ousting Jonathan Nez

By: - November 9, 2022

Navajo Nation voters have elected a new president, as political newcomer Buu Nygren on Tuesday defeated incumbent Jonathan Nez. All 110 chapters reported unofficial results after 11 p.m. on Nov. 8, showing Nygren with 34,568 votes and Nez just 31,069 votes, according to the Navajo Election Administration. The Navajo Nation is one of the largest […]

Navajo Nation leaders introduce two new initiatives to address missing and murdered Diné relatives

By: - November 2, 2022

Navajo Nation leaders have introduced two new initiatives to address missing and murdered Diné people. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez issued an Executive Order on Oct. 22 to adopt and implement the Navajo Nation Guidelines for Missing Persons or, in Navajo, the Nihí K’éi dóó Béédahoozinígíí Náalkaa Bikégó Naaltsoos. “Many families know the personal heartbreak and […]

Interior Department to introduce ‘Indigenous food hubs’ into schools and detention centers

By: - October 10, 2022

As a way to incorporate healthy lifestyle routines and food choices, the U.S. Department of Interior is launching an initiative to support health and nutrition efforts across Indian Country through Indigenous food hubs. The goal, said Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland, is “to provide healthier food to Indigenous communities and help to repair […]

Tribal tourism grants aim to help businesses hurt during the pandemic

By: - October 3, 2022

Tribal nations looking to improve or develop tribal tourism businesses within their communities have a chance to get some support through the Tribal Tourism Grant Program. The grant is funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Indian Economic Development Program, and it supports the development of new tribal tourism businesses as well as helping […]

Arizona celebrated its first Navajo Code Talker Day on Sunday

By: - August 16, 2022

Navajo Code Talker Thomas H. Begay stood at the podium dressed in his gold button-up shirt adorned with his service medals and a custom bolo tie made out of his congressional silver medal that is surrounded by turquoise. He wore his red U.S. Marine Corps hat that has Navajo Code Talker embroidered in gold thread […]

Final steps to remove derogatory names from federal lands underway

By: - August 1, 2022

Sixty-six of the 67 sites on federal land in Arizona with a name that includes a slur for Native American women are slated to be renamed in September. With the public comment period now over, the U.S. Department of Interior is in the final stages of renaming more than 660 geographic features with the word […]

Two NM tribal leaders appointed to new Interior advisory panel

By: - June 20, 2022

Tribal leaders from Arizona and across the country will have direct access to advising the U.S. Department of the Interior for the first time in history with the creation of a tribal advisory panel. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland this week launched the first-ever Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Committee. “Tribes deserve a seat at the […]