Tribal leaders oppose online consultations with the U.S. during the pandemic

‘It is not possible to meaningfully convene and internally develop comments at this time when we are at capacity, focused on critical and life-threatening measures.’

Western states lead the way in vote-by-mail elections

As COVID-19 closes most in-person polling locations, will states be able to scale up in time?

When public lands become tribal lands again

A story of fire, stolen lands, and how hard it is to get the U.S. to follow its own laws.

How do tribal nations’ treaties figure into climate change?

U.S. courts rarely favor environmental protections as a right — except when it comes to tribes expressing their treaty rights.

5 obstacles for Native voters in the November election

Native Americans have low participation rates in federal and state elections, but the problem doesn’t lay with political passivism.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh's impact on Indian Country

The recently confirmed justice was heavily opposed by Indigenous leaders.

The next Supreme Court pick could shape Indian law for decades

The highest court in the land holds legal power over tribal nations, but it lacks knowledge of tribal law.

How the Yurok Tribe is reclaiming the Klamath River

For the first time, the largest tribe in California has one of its own to lead its legal battles.

Harassment pervades the Bureau of Indian Affairs

One of the oldest agencies in the Department of Interior appears to have some of its worst harassment problems.

In a burning West, wildfire smoke threatens public health

Montana hospitals handled an increase of respiratory-related problems this year.

What Trump's Supreme Court pick could mean for Indian Country

Neil Gorsuch’s background in Indian law and Western issues could be useful to tribal litigants.

Park Service ended a wolf study in Alaska, since so many have been killed

The state culled wolves that had been collared, and it’s no longer feasible to continue research.

Casino closures in Indian Country hit core tribal services

Tribal government gaming is at a standstill, amounting to $4.4 billion in lost economic activity.

‘This system cannot be sustained’

This year, tribal nations enter negotiations over Colorado River water.

Tribal nations demand response to climate relocation

Five Indigenous communities asked the U.N. to investigate the United States’ failure to live up to legal obligations.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs steps up its harassment policy 

Timeframes for responding to allegations and more show improvements from ‘zero tolerance’ rhetoric.

Former Bureau of Indian Affairs director engaged in abusive behavior, no action taken

Bryan Rice’s behavior at the BIA highlights a culture of harassment and inaction.

Denver cop with tattoo resembling militia group logo killed tribal citizen in 2015

Officer Michael Truadt says he is not a member of the Three Percenters.

Senate hears stories of Indian Country’s missing and murdered 

Data gaps, understaffing and lax investigations have deepened the crisis.

How the American's with Disabilities Act could affect Native voters

The relocation of polling sites near the Navajo Nation months before midterm elections raises concerns of future voter suppression.

Bureau of Indian Affairs director resigns

As the agency navigates turbulent times, its leadership changes hands.

A Northwest tribal sovereignty battle, centered on culverts

21 tribal nations wait to see if the Supreme Court will hear a decades-old case about salmon.

Under Trump, tribal land ownership is not a priority

Hearings and Interior statements signal a step back for tribes trying to acquire lands.

Republicans push to split the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

Bills to break up the big Western court have reappeared in Congress.

Revisiting Malheur, one year after the occupation

The wildlife refuge system is more vulnerable than ever.


Photo by Sam Gehrke

Anna V. Smith writes and edits from the Pacific Northwest. She currently works for High Country News, where she is an assistant editor for HCN’s Indigenous affairs desk. She has received multiple awards for her work, including from the Native American Journalists Association, receiving Best Coverage of Native America in 2018 and in 2019, as well as Best Environmental Coverage in 2019 in Associate Division III.

In 2019 she was a fellow in the City University of New York's Resilience program, as well as the Institute of Journalism and Natural Resource's Bristol Bay Institute in southeast Alaska. Anna has spoken on multiple journalism conference panels, and is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists, Native American Journalists Association, and Investigative Reporters and Editors. She is an alum of the University of Oregon, with concurrent Bachelor of Arts degrees in journalism and environmental studies.

Anna is available as a sensitivity reader, freelance writer and editor, panelist and speaker. For inquiries and rates please email

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Copyright 2019 Anna V. Smith