5 Native American Journalists to Start Following This November

On October 31, the White House published a proclamation on National Native American Heritage Month, which runs through the month of November. The proclamation shared the importance of honoring the culture and history of the Indigenous community and heritage. In the same light, the White House noted the unfortunate reality that America has not always delivered on its promise of equality for Native Americans.  

Indigenous communities throughout the United States continue to face inequalities and a lack of representation. Just a few days ago, an ABC reporter referred to Indigenous people as “Indigenous creatures.” This shows the uphill battle that continues for the Indigenous community and their representation in media is extremely important as a result.  

In celebration of Native American Heritage Month, we wanted to spotlight five Native American journalists that are taking the initiative to share the important stories and subject matters that affect the Indigenous community.  

1. Patty Talahongva 

Patty Talahongva is a history-maker. In 2002, she became the first Native American anchor of a national news program in the United States when she was hired on at Village America. During her 30-year career, Patty, a member of the Hopi Tribe, has worked in various forms of media, including television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and web publishing. Patty currently contributes to Indian Country Today. 

2. Frank Vaisvilas

Award-winning journalist Frank Vaisvilas is a Native American Affairs reporter who has written feature stories for the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, and the Daily Southtown. Vaisvilas, who traces his roots to the Yaqui, the Indigenous people of Mexico, hopes to give a voice to the voiceless and provide Native American and Indigenous people the opportunity to share their stories and opinions regarding issues important to their community. Vaisvilas currently covers Native American Affairs for the Green Bay Press-Gazette 

3. Tristan Ahtone  

Formerly of the Texas Observer, award-winning investigative journalist Tristan Ahtone is currently the Editor at Large at Grist. Ahtone, a member of the Kiowa Tribe, has built a reputation for delivering meaningful, high-impact investigative coverage. Prior to his time at the Texas Observer, Ahtone served as editor of the award-winning Indigenous Affairs vertical at High Country News.

4. Mark Trahant

Mark Trahant has worn many hats and claimed many titles, but one of the most impactful was that of a professor. Trahant, a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, has taught at the University of North Dakota, the University of Alaska Anchorage, the University of Idaho, and the University of Colorado.

Trahant is a former editor of Indian Country Today, where under his leadership, ICT launched the first national daily newscast available through PBS network stations. He is currently the editor-at-large at ICT. 


5. Katie Oyan

Like the other exceptional journalists mentioned on this list, Katie Oyan is a trailblazer. She previously served as the first managing editor of Indian Country Today as part of a partnership with the Associated Press, where she has been for more than 15 years. Oyan, Oglala Lakota, was recently named as the Deputy News Director for Local News Success with the AP.

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Darnell Wilson Jr. is a Promotional Communication/Account Management professional with a love of story telling!

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