Allison Herrera

Allison Herrera was the co-creator of Invisible Nations, a project exploring modern Native culture in Oklahoma, from November 2015 to July 2016.

Herrera previously served as the editor of the award-winning online publication the Twin Cities Daily Planet. Since earning a B.A. from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, she has worked as a radio and video producer for Twin Cities Public Television, AmpersKFAI, KSMQ, and several others.

She also has worked with KBFT radio on the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa reservation in northern Minnesota to produce a series of shows about art, culture, history and the environment.

Allison is working on a documentary about Ojibwe painter Jim Denomie and lives in Minneapolis with her daughter, Anna.

Ways to Connect

Allison Herrera / PRI

Jason Reeves knows what a good cut of steak looks like before it hits your dinner plate. Standing in the middle of a 50-foot-wide cooler, he points out different parts of a freshly slaughtered cow hanging from the hooks while a fan roars in the background.

"That's the kidney heart. Fat on the inside. You're probably looking at a 2.0 [on a meat-grading scale between 1 and 5, with 1 being the best]. ... You can tell it’s good cattle."

I grew up in San Luis Obispo, a small town about 20 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean in central California. I was raised primarily by my grandmother, Anna Herrera. She was a very affectionate woman who liked to tell jokes and stories and take walks along the river behind her small house.

Jeremy Charles / Fire Thief Productions

“So much of its original identity is gone because of the Christianization that has happened. If you look around my house, every book that says Choctaw on it, anything about songs … it’s just Christian hymns being sung in the Choctaw language. There were definitely songs my great-grandpa was singing before they started singing whatever Christian hymns were being [sung].”

Reveal: Does The Time Fit The Crime?

Oct 2, 2017
Allison Herrera / KOSU

The number of women in U.S. prisons has increased more than 700 percent since 1980. And for nearly all of that time, Oklahoma has led the nation in locking up women. Reveal Senior Editor Ziva Branstetter teams up with Allison Herrera and The Frontier, an Oklahoma-based investigative news website, to find out why.

Hear more from Reveal's recent episode on prisons at revealnews.org.

Let Down And Locked Up: Why Oklahoma's Female Incarceration Is So High

Sep 20, 2017
Allison Herrera / KOSU

Robyn Allen saw her daughter for the first time in two years from across the yard of Oklahoma’s largest women’s prison, the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center.

Because the two were serving time for the same 2013 methamphetamine case, they weren’t supposed to communicate. But as Allen’s daughter, Cherise Greer, was being loaded into a van on her way to another prison this summer, the guard turned away.

Greer, in an orange prison uniform, called out: “I love you.”

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Allison Herrera/PRI 

Marilyn Vann always knew her background and where her family came from. She knew she was a Cherokee Freedman, a descendant of former slaves, and that she deserved to have full tribal citizenship, just like other native Cherokees.

That's why she was surprised to get a rejection letter when she tried to enroll more than a decade ago. After all, her father was an original enrollee on the Dawes Roll, a historical US government record of tribal members. That meant, she said, she was eligible for citizenship into the tribe.

Allison Herrera

A case that helps determine whether or not the descendants of Cherokee slaves have the full citizenship rights of native Cherokees was decided in United States Federal District Court Wednesday.

After nearly three years, Senior U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan in his ruling said the paramount question to be considered is whether an 1866 treaty between the Cherokee Nation and the United States granted the Cherokee Freedmen, or the descendants of slaves, "all the rights of native Cherokees."

When Donald Trump won the presidential election, he made a pledge to every citizen: that he would be president for all Americans. In the weeks before Trump's inauguration, we're going to hear about some of the communities that make up this nation, from the people who know them best, in our series Finding America.

Holdenville, Okla., is home to about 5,800 people. It has a small downtown with banks, restaurants and a few shops, though some are closed down.

Eli Grayson has always been fascinated with Creek history. His research led him to some surprising information about the Creek Nation, and his own family tree.

"I wish we had something in our DNA or in our brains that would allow us to go to sleep and call these people forth, and...actually hear their stories."

Watch his video below.

Allison Herrera

Long before the gushers of Glenpool, before any oil mansions dotted the tree-lined Arkansas River and before the automobile-ruled the streets of Tulsa, there were the Locv Pokv people, or as some know them- the Muscogee Creek. Locv Pokv was the daughter of the old town in the deep south of Georgia and Alabama, the Turtle Meeting Place.

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