Community

NAJA demands CNN apologize for using 'something else' to describe Native voters

Photo caption: A CNN anchor discusses results from an Exit Poll on Election Night Nov. 3. The graphic lumps Native Americans into the "Something Else" category, angering many within Indian Country. Courtesy Photo

On CNN’s live election night coverage, an on-air graphic used the phrase “something else” to refer to voters who are not white, Latinx, Black or Asian. This type of language continues the efforts to erase Indigenous and other voters who don’t neatly fall into the race categories listed in the graphic. 

Being Native American is a political classification -- not merely a racial background. Native nations have had a government-to-government relationship with the United States since the country’s earliest days. To refer to Indigenous voters as “something else” fails to recognize the sovereignty and political classification of Native voters.

In 2006, CNN supported the development of young Indigenous reporters by donating $50,000 to NAJA’s scholarship program. This type of investment signifies that CNN understands the importance of supporting Indigenous journalists.

NAJA demands CNN issue a public apology and is willing to meet with senior editorial staff to discuss how to improve the network’s coverage of Indian Country. 

In the interim, NAJA encourages CNN’s senior newsroom leadership and staff to utilize its online reporting resource guides moving forward.