Native American Heritage Month: A Conversation with Natasha Brennan

November is Native American Heritage Month, and to celebrate, Report for America launched a weekly series highlighting our Indigenous corps members, their reflections and their stories.  

This week, we spoke to corps member Natasha Brennan, of The News Tribune, in partnership with The Olympian, The Bellingham Herald, and The Tri-City Herald. 

Here is what she had to say:

On changing narratives:
I think I’m met every day by the same challenge that makes my job so worth it: nearly every story I write is a first for our papers. With many of the issues I cover, it’s our non-Tribal readers’  first time learning about what’s facing their local Indigenous communities. And it’s the first time our local Indigenous communities – who have been talking about these issues for a long time – are seeing themselves, their leaders and the things they care about represented in their local paper. It’s a huge responsibility that can be really intimidating, but it’s so exciting to have the opportunity to spark meaningful change.

On Indigenous representation in media:
Local Indigenous communities are wary of me and the media as a whole – rightfully so – due to past misrepresentation or poor coverage. They’re used to sharing their stories with journalists who come in to do a piece about a pressing issue or beautiful cultural event and then leave. And though I believe the intent is to have Indigenous representation, that’s not building a relationship.


Her advice for journalists?
To better serve Indigenous communities and our audiences as a whole, it’s so important that we cover every aspect of Native life accurately and regularly with cultural sensitivity, understanding and the respect it deserves. As journalists, we must consistently put in work to earn and build those lasting relationships.

Read some of Brennan’s stories below, and find her on Twitter here.

Check back in next week for the next installment in this series, and make sure to follow us on Instagram for updates.