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Alyssa London joined Native News Online on this week’s Native Bidaské (Spotlight). London is a previous Miss Alaska USA in 2017, and also was a Top 10 finalist in the Miss USA Pageant that same year. She is a NBC News contributor and is also the founder and chief storyteller at Culture Story. London also wrote a children's book titled “The Journey of the Freckled Indian.”

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During the interview with Editor Levi Rickert, London talked about her projects and the importance of engaging Native youth in culture. She is a Stanford University graduate, though while she was there, she found herself having to reaffirm her identity. 

“Even from elementary school and all the way through Stanford, I would need to qualify myself. I am Tlingit, I am Native, but I am also Czech and Norwegian. I am proud of that as well, but I have also struggled with feeling accepted for my identity, and it seems that other people struggle with that as well,” she explains. 

“Whether you're Native or not, I think everyone wants to be able to feel proud of who they are. So I thought If I just started with Native youth and allowed them to feel more confident with their identity from a young age I thought that confidence would translate into them feeling validated to engage with their culture for their entire life.” 

Watch the whole livestream here or click below. 

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You’re reading the first draft of history. 

November is  Native American Heritage Month in the United States. We feel like every month — and every day — is a reason for celebrating Native Americans and our heritage. That’s what we try to do here at Native News Online, with stories each day that celebrate, inform and uplift American Indian and Alaska Native people. Over the past year or so, we have been especially busy with three important reporting projects that are having an impact across Indian Country:

  • Indian Boarding Schools. We’ve reported and published more than 150 stories and special live stream video events to help shine a light on the dark era of boarding schools — and help create momentum for change.
  • Native Health Desk. Launched in January, this reporting initiative was created to heighten awareness of Native American health inequities and spotlight pockets of progress in Indian Country. So far we’ve reported and published nearly 120 stories and launched a monthly health newsletter that reaches more than 23,000 readers.  
  • Native Bidaske. In March, we launched this live stream interview program to highlight the work of Native Americans who are making news and leading change in Indian Country.  We have hosted guests from the federal government and Native rights advocates as well as Indigenous actors, comedians, journalists and models.   

We hope you will join us in celebrating Native American heritage and history this November and invite you to consider the old adage that “Journalism is the first draft of history.” If you appreciate the voice Native News Online gives to Native American people, we hope you will support our work with a donation so we can build our newsroom and continue to amplify Native voices and Native perspectives.

Any contribution — big or small — helps us remain a force for change in Indian Country and continue telling the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked.  Most often, our donors make a one-time gift of $20 or more, while many choose to make a recurring monthly donation of $5 or $10.  Whatever you can do, it helps fund our Indigenous-led newsroom and our ability to cover Native news. 

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