THE FIGHT FOR FEDERAL RECOGNITION - THE FEDERAL PROCESS THAT HAS SPARKED CONTROVERSY OVER NATIVE AMERICAN IDENTITY

In the Fall of 2018, my partner Caroline Watkins and I embarked on a reporting-driven journey unlike anything either of us had ever done before. After being assigned to create a long-form multimedia package for our Convergence Producing and Editing Class, we decided to explore a topic that we both wanted to learn more about: Native American Identity. 

Why Native American Identity?:

The topic of Native American identity has been a longstanding, controversial point of discussion. But in the state of Missouri, where there are no federally recognized Native American tribes, we wanted to explore how the lack of federal recognition plays a role in the shaping of the identities of Native Americans.

We approached this story in two ways: the first story explores the emotional ties that tribe members have with their non-federally recognized tribe, and the second story discusses the hurdles, benefits and controversies surrounding the Bureau of Indian Affairs' federal recognition process. 

We travelled across the state of Missouri and called experts from across the nation, from tribe members to historians to sociologists and more. We asked them to share their stories and experiences related to how they are affected—or how little they are affected—by the federal recognition process.  

 

To view our interactive website, please click the photo below. 

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Photo by Caroline Watkins

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