I am a professor in the Department of Life Science Communication and affiliated with American Indian Studies, the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, and the Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies program. I am also a documentary film producer.
My research interests lie in television documentary production, diversity and Native American media. I am particularly interested in how indigenous people use the media to form identity, reconstruct the past, and assert their sovereignty and treaty rights. I have authored two books: Indian Nations of Wisconsin: Histories of Endurance and Renewal and Native People of Wisconsin, a social studies text for elementary school children. I’m currently writing 7th Generation Earth Ethics, a collection of biographies of Native American environmental leaders. I have authored dozens of scholarly and general interest articles on Native topics and produced dozens of Native-themed documentaries, including Way of the Warrior, No Word for Goodbye, Spring of Discontent, and Nation within a Nation, which have appeared on commercial and public television stations throughout the country. My current documentary, Sacred Stick, co-produced with Michelle Danforth (Oneida), examines the indigenous origins of lacrosse. I am an enrolled member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe.
Formerly I was a producer for WHA-TV (PBS) and co-host of In Wisconsin, a weekly news and public affairs program that aired statewide on Wisconsin Public Television. Prior to joining the UW-Madison faculty, from 1985-1997, I co-anchored weekday newscasts for WKOW TV (ABC) in Madison. Other television experience includes reporting, anchoring, writing, and producing for KATU TV in Portland, Oregon; KHQ TV in Spokane, Washington; and WXOW TV in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
My outreach efforts focus on Native youth and digital storytelling. My colleagues and I teach media skills to youth on American Indian reservations and help them explore science within a cultural context. We hope to help grow the next generation of land stewards and storytellers. As national secretary of UNITY Journalists and a member of the Native American Journalists Association, I am also active in promoting diversity in television newsrooms. From time to time, I dabble in print journalism as a freelance writer. My articles and guest columns have appeared in Wisconsin State Journal, The Capital Times, Madison Magazine, and News From the Sloughs (Bad River Band’s tribal newspaper).