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Women breaking barriers

On the Monday edition of the ICT Newscast, interviews with Native women making a difference on the stage, in the kitchen and in the board room
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Sheri Foster Blake shares some special moments over her career working in Hollywood. She is an actress with a long list of credits to her name, including the funny series, "The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" on Netflix — and TNT's “Crazy Horse,” where she starred opposite of Michael Greyeyes.

Pyet DeSpain won “Next Level Chef” –the cooking competition from award-winning chef Gordon Ramsay. She is from the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation — and she’s Mexican. Both cultures inspire her recipes. DeSpain shares part of her journey.

In college, Susan Masten was elected president of the Native American Student Association. It sparked a lifelong career as an advocate for women and tribal rights. She was president of the National Congress of American Indians — and chair and vice-chairperson of the Yurok Tribe.

The National Endowment for the Humanities was created in 1965, and since then has had just 11 leaders. Navajo citizen Shelly Lowe is the first Native person to lead the NEH. She led Harvard University’s Native American Program, and served as a member of the National Council on the Humanities.

Native Voices at the Autry has new leadership, but she’s not new to the stage. DeLanna Studi chairs the SAG-AFTRA’s National Native Americans Committee. She’s a 2022 United States Artists Fellow. Studi reflects on her personal project about the Trail of Tears.

Cherrah Giles is the chairwoman of the National Indigenous Women's Resource Center. She talks about how her career of service to her community began through social work.

An all-Indigenous 16-piece big band is making its premiere performance in May in Olympia, Washington. It’s co-directed by Delbert Anderson, Diné, on trumpet, who we’ve featured on the ICT Newscast. It is the brainchild of Julia Keefe. She’s from the Nez Perce Nation and a jazz vocalist, actor, activist, and educator.

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Today’s newscast was created with work from:

Shirley Sneve, Ponca/Sicangu Lakota, is vice president of broadcasting for Indian Country Today. Follow her on Twitter @rosebudshirley She’s based in Nebraska and Minnesota.

Aliyah Chavez, Kewa Pueblo, is the anchor of the ICT newscast. On Twitter: @aliyahjchavez.

R. Vincent Moniz, Jr., NuÉta, is the senior producer of the ICT newscast. Have a great story? Pitch it to

McKenzie Allen-Charmley, Dena’ina Athabaskan, is a producer of the ICT newscast. On Twitter: @mallencharmley

Drea Yazzie, Diné, is a producer/editor for the ICT newscast. On Twitter: @quindreayazzie Yazzie is based in Phoenix.

Maxwell Montour, Pottawatomi, is a newscast editor for Indian Country Today. On Instagram: max.montour Montour is based in Phoenix.

Kaitlin Onawa Boysel, Cherokee, is a producer/reporter for Indian Country Today. On Instagram: @KaitlinBoysel Boysel is based in Springfield, Illinois.

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