Prairie Talks welcomed Bill Thomas, director of radio at Prairie Public, and Lorraine Davis, founder of the Native American Development Center, to share their insights on how stories shape our lives as individuals, communities, and a society overall. Thomas and Davis are currently collaborating on a project to record interviews with some 50 Native Americans in the Bismarck area, which will be aired on Prairie Public during the summer of 2015.
Bill Thomas started at Prairie Public in 1999 as the first manager for the new public radio network formed with NDSU and UND. He came to North Dakota from working in Lincoln at Nebraska’s Public Radio Network. Before that, like many people in media work, he moved around as his jobs changed. He has worked in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois; Los Angeles; Washington, DC; and St. Louis. He started small community stations, managed national program distribution, has been a program director, a station manager and a network manager.
Lorraine Davis is the founder and executive director of the Native American Development Center (NADC) in Bismarck, North Dakota. A Native American woman, professional, and mother of four, she has overcome alcoholism, poverty, homelessness, oppression, and violence. Her experiences directly informed the formation of the Native American Development Center in September 2012. She is an enrolled member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota Oyate with descent at the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation (MHA) and her father is Mexican American. Lorraine has served the community as part of the homeless and poverty coalition, a Mandan Public School Board Member, and advisor to the Mayor of Bismarck to recruit Native American career talent. She is married to the North Dakota Indian Affairs Commissioner, Scott Davis. She believes the NADC will be a supportive and culturally relevant foundation for Native Americans to turn to when they are seeking a better life.