Bio

Me in Canyon

First and foremost, I am a proud tribal member of the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians. I am also a one-time resident of a dozen different California municipalities and I have used this versatile experience to carry on the tradition of storytelling.

Since becoming affiliated with the Native American Journalist Association in 2005, the biggest joy I have had in my field has been traveling across the country, meeting native people from a number of tribes, and sharing their stories.

I received my undergraduate degrees from College of the Desert and Humboldt State University. I am a 2008 Chips Quinn Scholar who interned with the Ventura County Star newspaper under the direction of the health and science editor. I spent close to two years working as a reporter for The Desert Sun newspaper covering the community of Palm Springs.

I earned my master’s degree from the University of California Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism where I focused on radio and multimedia reporting. While at the J-School, I produced radio news stories for KALW-FM and KALX-FM. I also interned on the national desk for NPR West in Culver City during the summer of 2011. My master’s thesis was a multimedia project focusing on the lack of Internet access in my reservation community called “The Digitally Deserted.”

Aside from my reporting career, I enjoy guiding students who are interested in media. I was a participant in the University Graduate Mentor Program. I served as a mentor during the 2009 Native American Journalists Association Student Project in Albuquerque. I have spoken to several youth and college groups about pursuing higher education. I also serve my community as an advocate against domestic violence against women.

For more than three years I worked as a social media specialist/editor/producer/interim tribal liaison for First Nations Experience (FNX), the first public television station in the United States to focus its programming on Native American and Indigenous peoples. In 2013, I was chosen as a USC California Endowment Health Journalism Fellow and co-produced a report for the on-air series “FNX NOW” about water contamination in my reservation community.

Through out my career I have seen the need for public education concerning contemporary Native issues, especially in California. Thus, I regularly present to professional, educational, and community organizations about tribal peoples. Further since 2015, I have spent time traveling abroad to expand my professional experience by working independently to explore international perspectives on American Indians through social engagement. The long-term objective is to compile my learnings into a published work.

Today, I work full time as the Berkeley Roundhouse Director for Heyday Books. Among my responsibilities is being the editor for News From Native California magazine – a quarterly publication “devoted to the vibrant cultures, arts, languages, histories, social justice movements, and stories of California’s diverse Indian peoples” and serving as the Director of California Indian Publishing.

 

Bio photo by Elka Medina

terriasmith.net header photo by Terria Smith

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