About Maisie MacKinnon
In 1998, after nearly twenty years as a journalist, photographer and graphic designer, Maisie MacKinnon became the managing editor for the northwest bureau of Indian Country Today. When the national newspaper sold to the Oneida Nation, she went to work for another Native American agency as the communications officer at South Puget Intertribal Planning Agency.
Since then, she's worked as a freelance writer, photographer and graphic designer for many Native organizations. Her assignments include developing culturally relevant health brochures, booklets, posters, video, websites, presentations, magazines, training manuals and curricula. She has traveled to reservations and urban settings and interviewed people unaccustomed to talking about their medical histories, particularly to a non-native woman. In every instance she was able to respectfully convince them that publishing their information would benefit the lives of their aunties, uncles, grandparents, and in fact, would benefit all of their neighbors across Indian Country.
She accomplishes one program or project expectation after another because she has come to understand numerous spoken and unspoken cultural protocols, even those specific to certain tribes. That, and she is sincerely grateful for being allowed to enter one’s private home.
Maisie has navigated federal cancer program policies, (Center for Disease Control and Prevention's BCCDEP), IHS health boards and committees, (NPAIHB, TSGAC), local and tribal non-profits (NIWHRC, SPIPA, etc.) and even local tribal medical clinics (Skokomish Tribe and Nisqually Tribe, etc.). Her work required that she interview health professionals and community members, write articles, reports, grants, and develop snapshot monographs, often from stacks of documents covering as many as 5-years.
Most importantly, she has a knack for interpreting complex medical policies and grant guidelines, and making them comprehensible to eighth to tenth grade literacy levels without compromising intelligence.
“I am very fortunate to have my work,” Maisie says. “I travel to tribes from Alaska to Arizona and meet with Elders and others who want to share their good health habits with others. My life has been enriched with many cultural values for the experience.” Many friendships have developed.
Maisie is not of American Indian descent. In fact, she is a American-Scottish lass who traces her roots back to the MacKinnon Highlander Clan on the Isle of Skye in Scotland.
Other organizations that Maisie contracts with include the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, ONABEN, the American Indian Health Commission of Washington State and others.