Allison Herrera

Indigenous Affairs reporter

Allison Herrera is a radio and print journalist who's worked as a reporter for PRI's The World, as the climate and environment editor for Colorado Public Radio and as a freelance reporter for High Country News’ Indigenous Affairs desk.

While at The World, she covered gender and equity for a reporting project called Across Women’s Lives, which focused on women’s rights around the globe. This project took her to Ukraine, where Herrera showcased the country’s global surrogacy industry, and reported on families who were desperate to escape the ongoing civil war that they moved to abandoned towns near the Chernobyl nuclear disaster site. In 2019, she received a fellowship from the International Women in Media Fund to report on the issue of reproductive rights in Argentina, a country scarred by the effects of the Dirty War and a legacy of sexual and physical abuse directed towards women.

In 2015 and 2016, Herrera co-created and produced the Localore project Invisible Nations with KOSU. The project included video, radio and live events centered on telling better stories about Native American life in Oklahoma. Invisible Nations received several awards from the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists.

In 2017, she and her colleague Ziva Branstetter received an Emmy award nomination for their Reveal story “Does the Time Fit the Crime?,” which centered on criminal justice in Oklahoma.

In 2019, Herrera’s story for High Country News and Center for Public Integrity titled "When Disaster Strikes, Indigenous Communities Receive Unequal Disaster Aid" received a Scripps Howard nomination for best environmental reporting along with the One Disaster Away series.

Herrera’s Native ties are from her Xolon Salinan tribal heritage; her family’s traditional village was in the Toro Creek area of the Central California coast.

Ways to Connect

Those called to serve God often wrestle with what can be a big decision. Missionary work, and taking on a life of sacrifice can take a huge toll. But for Creek preacher Jimmy Anderson in Holdenville, Oklahoma, there was another dilemma—the choice of being an artist or a man of God.

Producer Allison Herrera tells us more about Anderson’s life as a visual artist and musician when his life took a different turn.

Allison Herrera

It’s one of the most controversial issues in Indian country, the issue of the Freedmen.

Cherokee Freedmen were former slaves adopted into the Cherokee tribe after the Trail of Tears. Today, descendants of the Freedmen say they've been denied citizenship and other rights owed to them. A federal judge is expected to rule on this issue sometime this year.

Allison Herrera

Cherokee basketmaker Shan Goshorn doesn’t head out into the woods gathering white oak or other natural materials for her work like traditional basketmakers would. Instead, the archives of museums like the Gilcrease Museum or the National Museum of the American Indian are her source materials.

Allison Herrera

Soldiers returning from battle face special challenges. Thousands suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and their care can be more involved and long-term. The nation’s VA hospitals, although under recent scrutiny, will care for more than a million of the nation’s soldiers.

 

But, the nation’s Native American veterans face a set of extra challenges after fighting on the front lines.

 

Allison Herrera

Freedom of the press is something most journalists in the United States fiercely protect and demand. It’s seen as crucial to keeping those with power in check. But in Indian Country, it gets more complicated.

There are more than 200 tribal newspapers in the country and only a handful have passed freedom of the press acts. Editors have had stories cut, websites shut down and staff threatened or fired for publishing stories tribal officials don’t approve of.

Rachel Hubbard / KOSU

The Oklahoma Food Security Summit is a place where local community leaders, nutritionists and food producers gather to talk about what is going well in Oklahoma and what needs work.  This year, several tribal leaders and agricultural producers came to Tulsa to participate including the Choctaw Nation with their mobile Aquaponics Unit. 

KOSU is one of 15 stations chosen after a national competition to incubate storytelling experiments and expand public media to more Americans.

The winning teams were selected from more than 200 applications from independent media talent, radio and television stations, educators, and coders.

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