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Journalist Mark Truant speaks about Native Americans at CSUB “Walter Presents” series

Diana Coronado, Reporter

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On Feb. 13, California State University Bakersfield’s “Walter Presents” series welcomed their students, faculty, and community members with guest speaker Mark Trahant. He touched base on his thoughts and knowledge about the state of health care for Native Americans.

Trahant is an independent journalist who is a member of the University of North Dakota as the Charles R. Johnson Endowed Professor of Journalism. He is also a member of Idaho’s Shoshone-Bannock Tribe as well as former president of the Native American Journalists Association.

With his former experiences and observations, he shared with the audience members his outlook on the way Native Americans have faced the concept of health and illness throughout the years and in recent times.  He expressed his thoughts on how people are treated unfairly because of where they come from or how they look.

“For years, Indians have been seen as less important than Americans, they feel Indian lives are less valuable than Americans,” he said.

An audience member asked about the benefits that native casinos have to offer their communities. Trahant answers that where he comes from, they provide job opportunities along with health care benefits for them and their families.

He also shared how even though death happens globally each and every day, news breaks worldwide mostly for a situation happening in America. He brought up how congress is in charge of where and what money is used for and sometimes it is done unfairly.

He also mentioned a positive outcome of how the number of deaths has gone down over the past few years in India.

He explained that in order to keep that number as low as it has been recently and for years to come is to educate native people about health budgets and affordable health care.

Toward the end of his speech he takes a turn into talking about how journalists are changing as technology changes.

“It was hard and expensive back in the day. 20 years later, stories were written through people’s phone, yes it was faster and, in a way, a good thing, but people didn’t realize old fashion papers were going out of business,” he said. He wishes to open up his own business one day to educate and help build up young journalists in their careers.

He expressed his thoughts of how happy he was with the outcome of the lecture and how he hoped to educate more people about the topic of Native American healthcare and wellness in future discussions.

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Journalist Mark Truant speaks about Native Americans at CSUB “Walter Presents” series