For decades, I found myself being disappointed in the Los Angeles Times coverage of Chumash Indian issues. Reporters too often slanted their coverage to dismiss the issues of the non-federally recognized Chumash. Typically, these reporters failed to mention that the Santa Barbara and Tejon Chumash were once federally recognized and deserved to have their issues brought before the public.
I visited Valle Novak the other day who writes for the Daily Bee, a local newspaper in Sandpoint, Idaho. Talking to her reminded me of her role back in 1990 in providing newspaper coverage for the public forums which brought Kalispel speakers to our county to educate about their historical presence in North Idaho. I was having a hard time finding support for these forums in the school system, in local churches (exception being the Presbyterian), and the county and state agencies. It was Valle’s decision to cover all of the forums in a positive light which gave momentum to a slow but persistently growing public awareness of our region’s First Citizens.
Thank you Valle for your resolve. Local newspaper coverage of native issues can often move us forward when the mass media persists in marginalizing.