November is Native American Heritage Month, and to celebrate, Report for America is launching a weekly series highlighting our Indigenous corps members, their reflections and their stories.
This week, we spoke to corps member Sierra Clark, of the Traverse City Record-Eagle. Here is what she had to say:
“The most challenging part of journalism is walking in two worlds, both as an Odawa Anishnaabe and working in a colonial system. It is hard to work through structures that historically have caused harm to Indigenous communities, but I have found true joy in my work by bridging those gaps. I love connecting with people in communities and listening to their truths and stories. They inspire me to be a better journalist and to continue to uplift voices of the Anishinaabek.
“Storytelling is deeply rooted in my Anishinaabek culture. Our histories and traditions were told orally long before Michigan became a state. So I have incorporated a lot of my traditions not only in the way I tell a story, but in the way I approach those I interview. And that means not extracting from what they say, but uplifting it so that they feel their voice is heard.”
Her advice to newsrooms?
“Hire Indigenous journalists to report on their communities!”
Read some of Clark’s stories below, and find her on Twitter here.
- Journalist unearths family history while reporting on boarding school trauma, family, cultural destruction
- Artist mixes street wear and Indigenous design, birch bark plague masks
- Investigation to probe painful history of Native American boarding schools
- Subsistence fishing program helps tribal citizens reclaim fishing traditions
Check back in next week for the next installment in this series. Follow us on Instagram for updates!