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What works for Native kids

Updated: Jun 5, 2022

Release date: March 28, 2022

In this episode, I talk with Patty Talahongva - documentary filmmaker and senior correspondent for Indian Country Today - about what does and does not work for Native kids. Native students have some of the worst education outcomes of any segment of the U.S. population, and Patty and I use her experience and the history of Indian boarding schools to give context to this issue. During our conversation, Patty mentions several resources for teachers, parents, and direct service providers, and links to those are listed below. We also answer a listener's question about honoring the land.

Biography of Patty Talahongva

Patty Talahongva, Hopi, is a senior correspondent for Indian Country Today.

Talahongva is a journalist who has worked in all platforms of media: Television, radio, newspaper, magazine and websites. She has covered everything from Native arts to education, health, crime and politics in her 30-year career. She has interviewed such newsmakers as Hillary Clinton, John Herrington, Notah Begay, Deb Haaland, Richard Simmons and Phil Collins as well as “everyday people.”

She is from Sichomovi village located on First Mesa in northeastern Arizona. Her Hopi name is White Spider Girl and her clan is Corn.

Talahongva is particularly proud of the documentary she directed and produced for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the America Indian on American Indian Code Talkers in WWII. For the documentary she interviewed 10 men from four tribes who all used their Native language as a code to transmit secret military orders. None of the codes were ever broken. This exhibit was the NMAI’s most requested traveling exhibition.

“Lady Warriors,” is a documentary she co-produced which featured a girl’s cross-country team at a high school on the border of the Hopi and Navajo reservations. The story explored the traditional meaning of running in both cultures and how school teams introduce the idea of competition. This program “Lady Warriors” aired on the HBO Family Channel for one year.

In addition to working behind the camera, Patty has also worked in front of the camera as a host for a PBS program, "Village America," and behind the microphone hosting a live one-hour, call-in, talk radio show.

Her work can be seen in three museums, The Heard Museum in Phoenix, AZ, the Penn Museum in Philadelphia, PA and the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

She was on the advisory panel for the Heard Museum's exhibit: Away From Home: American Indian Boarding School Stories

Patty is an active volunteer on both the local and national level. Currently she serves on the advisory panel for the Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation. Past board service includes being a founding member and a former vice president of the Hopi Education Endowment Fund, being a founding member of the advisory board for the Center for Native American Youth. She is also a past president of the Native American Journalists Association and she has served as an ex-officio on the board of the Radio and Television News Directors Association, now known as the RTDNA.


Heard Museum's exhibit on Indian boarding schools

National Museum of the American Indian

American Indian Center of Chicago

Baltimore American Indian Center

Denver Indian Center

Minneapolis American Indian Center

Native American Cultural Center of California

Phoenix Indian Center

Southern California Indian Center


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