Literature was my first love, but journalism fulfilled a purpose—the chance to right wrongs. I became aware of the visual power of television and the spoken word. I was influenced by the long-form pieces I saw on “60 Minutes.” A product of the ’60s, I became deeply aware of the plight of Native American people—oppression at the hands of the federal government and repressive policies that resulted in the loss of language, lands, and traditional tribal lifestyles. I turned to history and read the record.
There were no other Native American TV reporters in the country that I was aware of when I was selected for a Nieman fellowship. My year at Harvard gave me the chance to broaden my world view, raise my consciousness, and learn from my colleagues. I took classes in history, politics, and South Africa’s apartheid.
I returned to New Mexico more confident about my work and my profession, still questioning authority and the official word, and very eager to continue the unsettled search for truth. I won an Emmy and a national award from the Investigative Reporters and Editors.
A special projects reporter for a TV station in Los Angeles, I was part of the team that produced “Surviving Columbus: The Story of the Pueblo People.” It was not only my story, but the story of many others who felt a need to tell the complete historic account of what occurred after the first encounter between Europeans and Pueblo People. It was an opportunity to tell the world about Pueblo People and to provide their perspective, and perhaps, even their version of history. A two-hour PBS documentary was rare, but to hear the collective voices of Pueblo People on film was even more rare.