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The University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism’s Center for Health Journalism has selected Native News Online reporter Jenna Kunze, along with 19 other reporters, to participate in a data fellowship.

The highly selective data fellowship is designed for reporters who want to learn how to find and analyze data to produce journalism that can shape decision-making and legislation on health policy, health equity, underserved populations and child and family well-being. 

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Native News Online has committed to publishing Kunze’s self-designed project, which aims to collect data-- through community-participatory research-- on one tribe’s measurable intergenerational health impacts stemming from Indian boarding schools. To date, no study has comprehensively traced the historic trauma of a single community, to connect measurable health outcomes directly to the federal government’s forced assimilation policy.

"Native News Online is excited that Jenna has been selected to a data fellowship by USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism," Levi Rickert, publsher and editor of Native News Online said. "The knowledge she will gain while an Annenberg fellow will prove to be invaluable as our publication continues its important work uncovering the hidden truths of  Indian boarding schools."

“The result of this study will hopefully provide one-of-a-kind insight,” Kunze said. “Not just for tribal youth and members dealing with intergenerational trauma, but for government agencies and other granting organizations to use as a metric to measure resource allocation, and work towards healing.”

Kunze will conduct her data collection on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, with guidance from Sicangu Youth Council members and tribal leaders. Rosebud Sioux tribal president Scott Herman backed Kunze’s project with a letter of support.

The project is a continuation of Kunze’s reporting on Indian Boarding Schools, beginning this past summer with the U.S. Army’s return of nine childrens’ remains-- who died while attending boarding school in Pennsylvania and were never returned home--back to their tribe, the Rosebud Sioux.

The Fellowship is funded by grants from two of California’s leading health foundations, the California Health Care Foundation and The California Endowment, the center’s founding funder, and from the New York-based Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

Kunze’s data reporting is scheduled to be published in Spring of 2022.

To read more about the other fellows and their projects, visit the Center’s news release here. Those interested can also follow the conversation on the Data Fellows on Twitter at #2021USCDATA.

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