Rob Capriccioso covers Native American news in Washington, D.C., for Indian Country Today. That means he’s a very, very busy reporter, logging lots of time in the halls of Congress.
Only one problem: As a writer for a publication owned by a tribe, he’s considered to be working for a foreign government – and that can make it tough for him to get a press pass. As he writes here in Native Pop on True Slant:
The U.S. Senate Periodical Press Gallery says those are the rules. But what the situation really boils down to is a U.S. government bias against tribes. The same U.S. government that strives to protect the 1st Amendment; that holds freedom of the press up as an important symbol of our country’s greatness; that likes to say it has a special relationship with tribes. If special means unfair, then that’s news to me.
It’s the same U.S. government, too, that has previously approved congressional credentials for many foreign news services, including China’s Xinhua News Agency.
Capriccioso says he’s been told that Indian Country Today should ask Congress to request a special hearing on whether Indian publications should get press passes. That seems a like a very complicated solution to a very straightforward issue.
Yes, tribes are sovereign nations. But their members are U.S. citizens, and Capriccioso is reporting on news vital to them.
He lists the number for the Senate Periodical Press Gallery, and we’re happy to include it here, too. It’s (202) 224-0265. Call and let them know what you think.