Indian Country Today adds two national correspondents

Award-winning journalists Joaqlin Estus and Dalton Walker bring years of experience to the news organization

Joaqlin Estus and Dalton Walker will join Indian Country Today as national correspondents. Both journalists will begin in January.

“It’s clear to me that Indian Country has great talent in the field of journalism — and Joaqlin Estus and Dalton Walker reflect our best,” said Mark Trahant, editor of Indian Country Today.

Estus, Tlingit, will report from Indian Country Today’s Alaska bureau located at Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage. She is a veteran reporter who worked in the news industry for more than 27 years before retiring three years ago. Estus is coming out of retirement to accept the job as national correspondent.

“I took it as an enormous accomplishment when Mark asked me to consider the job,” Estus said. “If he looked across the field of Alaska Native reporters and thought I was the best person than that says a lot. I feel a great sense of responsibility.”

Estus’ reporting has covered a range of topics including treaty rights, tribal sovereignty, oil spills and the Indian Child Welfare Act. She produced stories on public radio in Alaska working for organizations such as KTOO, KNBA and Koahnic Broadcast Corporation. She is well-known for her credibility, fair-approach and ethical reporting background.

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Rhonda McBride (left) and Joaqlin Estus (right) pose for a photo on set of Frontiers with Rhonda McBride. Photo by Rhonda McBride / Facebook.

Estus says she is most looking forward to covering Alaska-centric stories. The state is home to 229 tribes who have a unique status in terms of tribal sovereignty, and land ownership. She has visited every region of Alaska which is the nation’s largest state.

One issue that Estus is eager to report is climate change, especially the impact on Alaska and the Arctic.

“It is kind of hard to imagine how enormous the changes are that are happening unless you’ve seen it yourself,” Estus said.

Estus is a familiar byline in Indian Country Today. In October, she covered the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention, the largest representative gathering of Native people in the nation.

"Joaqlin is tenacious when it comes to covering the issues,” said Patty Talahongva, executive producer of Indian Country Today. “She has the background we need for a reporter in Alaska to cover everything from the oil industry, government, climate issues, Alaska Native culture and subsistence living. We are pleased to welcome her to Indian Country Today."

Aside from reporting, Estus has completed fellowships on aging, health, the Arctic and climate change throughout the country. She also worked for ten years as the director of public communications for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium.

In her spare time, Estus enjoys traveling. Most recently she visited the Big Island of Hawai’i with her husband.

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Walker, Red Lake Anishinaabe, will report from Phoenix. Indian Country Today located at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. He has worked in journalism for nearly 20 years with bylines in the Omaha World-Herald, Argus Leader, The Gazette and most recently O’odham Action News.

Walker has been a special correspondent with at The Washington Post and worked at The New York Times. He is an alumni of the Freedom Forum’s American Indian Journalism Institute and Chips Quinn Scholars Program.

“Dalton Walker is a young man with a storied career,” said Trahant. “He’s been a reporter, a social media editor, and most recently served a tribal community in Arizona. Dalton is an innovator. He has been a leader in changing the media landscape and we are fortunate to be able to work with him.”

Walker says his new position as national correspondent “was the perfect next step.” He has been keeping a running list of stories to report when he starts at Indian Country Today. Some topics include the 2020 census and presidential election, technology and various profiles.

“From afar I was a big fan of everything happening at Indian Country Today,” said Walker. “When Mark Trahant offers you a job and opportunity like this, it is a no brainer to accept it.”

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Dalton Walker and his family pose for a photo, Taté, Dalton and Kimimila Walker. (Family photo)

Aside from reporting, Walker has been a board member of the Native American Journalists Association. He has also been a mentor to various journalism students, including Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, Washington editor of Indian Country Today.

“It's so exciting to finally be working with Dalton, who has been a mentor of sorts for me the past several years. He's truly a great addition to the team!” said Bennett-Begaye.

Walker says he enjoys spending time with his family and playing basketball with his 11-year-old daughter Kimimila.

Contact information: 

Joaqlin Estus can be reached on Twitter or at joaqlinestus@indiancountrytoday.com

Dalton Walker can be reached on Twitter or at dwalker@indiancountrytoday.com

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Aliyah Chavez, Kewa Pueblo, is a reporter-producer at Indian Country Today's Phoenix Bureau. Follow her on Twitter: @aliyahjchavez or email her at achavez@indiancountrytoday.com

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