Media fellow’s initial thoughts about the capital

Pauly Denetclaw has been in D.C. for one day and the brick buildings creep her out.

Yá’át’ééh. Shí éí Pauly Denetclaw yinishyé.

[Pauly’s Navajo clans]

Haltsooi nishłį́

Kiyaa'áanii bashishchiin.

Bit'ahnii dashicheii

'Áshįįhi dashinalí

Hi, everyone. My name is Pauly Denetclaw. I am a reporter with the Navajo Times. I cover mostly youth, LGBTQ community, human rights and consumer rights.

Denetclaw will be Indian Country Today’s tribal media fellow for the month of March. We wanted her take on Washington before the city rubs off on her.

Q: Tell us your impressions of Washington.

PAULY: So my first impressions of the DC-Virginia area is how much brick there is everywhere. And that for me is kind of like, I think it's really creepy. But also I come from a reservation where all the old boarding schools, all the old hospitals are made of brick and they're all haunted. So it, so when I came here and everything's made of brick, it's really creepy and I feel like all the buildings are haunted, but I think that's the most, like that's the biggest difference between here and like being in the southwest.

PAULY: That's one of the first things that I noticed. And also I thought it would be more metropolitan-y. Does that make sense? I thought it would be more of a metropolitan area, but it's very like homey. Everything feels really homey here. And there's like, I mean, even this building the Embassy, right, the Embassy of Tribal Nations, it looks like a home. Like I wouldn't if I were just walking by it, I wouldn't expect this to be like an office building and that's how a lot of the buildings are here. So it doesn't feel as metropolitan as like New York or other like bigger cities that have been to, it's very much homey, but also the architecture is different and I'm not used to it. And I also thought that the buildings would be higher, but we just learned this morning that you can't have a building that's higher than nine stories. It's against the building codes.

Q: What stories do you want to work on?

PAULY: So the stories that I really want to work on while I'm here, I'm focused on the Navajo nation, Washington office. And also, um, I really want to look at the relationship between, um, the Navajo nation and NCAI. Because we aren't part of the National Congress of American Indians. So I just wanted to look at like that relationship there. And I also wanted to look at the budget because everyone was expecting there to be cuts right to Indian country. And the Navajo Nation was expecting cuts to IHS to all of these different programs under this new administration, but that didn't happen. And so I'm really curious as to how that happened, why that happened and really like asking those questions. I'm really excited about that and I'm also interested in doing profiles of Navajo people who are here or other like tribes from the southwest. Because I just, people are cool and they do cool things and I really enjoyed doing profiles on people. So I also wanted to do that. And then Navajo activities that are happening here in D.C. Because my friend Jourdan works here and she went to her first shoe game here in D.C. And so those are some things that I also want to cover because like who would expect there to be a shoe game happening in D.C.? And so there's all these like Indigenous spaces that I would like to like profile and do stories on.

Come back for an “after video” when Denetclaw finishes her fellowship. 

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Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, Diné, is a reporter/producer for Indian Country Today in Washington, D.C. Follow her on Twitter: @jourdanbb. Email: jbennett-begaye@indiancountrytoday.com

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