With Showtime’s ‘Murder in Big Horn’ detailing a series of disappearances and deaths of Indigenous women in rural Montana, we get a true insight into the dangers they face on a daily basis. After all, it is an epidemic that needs to be under a constant spotlight to really help Native Americans lead a good quality of life without having to look over their shoulders at every possible turn. Amongst the individuals to thus feature in this production to move the narrative along is none other than journalist Luella Brien — so if you wish to learn more about her, here’s what we know.
Who is Luella Brien?
As a descendant of brilliant educators, strong healers, influential leaders, and exceptional storytellers, Luella is not only a proud member of the Apsáalooke tribe but also an effective journalist. The truth is she first developed an interest in this profession while she was still in high school, just for it to grow multifold once she won an essay contest that made her realize its overall scope. She hence decided to gain a few years of experience as an intern, writer, reporter, as well as editor, all the while earning a Bachelor’s in the same field from the University of Montana (2000-06).
However, Luella chose to return to the area of her roots upon graduation by pursuing reporting jobs at Ravalli Republic and Billings Gazette, only to let go of the career in its entirety around 2008. “When I graduated from high school, the thing I wanted to do was leave,” she admitted in the Showtime original. “But then, when I went off to college, the thing I wanted to do was come back. I decided that this is definitely where I wanted to be. I wanted my kids to be connected to the family, to the community because despite all of the bad things that happen here…this is our home.”
Luella actually spent the ensuing decade serving as a full-time mother, media consultant, freelance writer, community outreach coordinator, interpretive guide, and art/literature/film educator. Yet in 2019, partly inspired by the 1977 disappearance turned demise of her own aunt Beverly “Deedee” Brien, she returned to Native American-focused journalism by joining Big Horn County News. She worked as an editor for the first six months of the job but then evolved into a General Manager, meaning she essentially supervised a portion of the newspaper’s operations for a while.
Where is Luella Brien Now?
It was in October 2021 that Luella genuinely spread her wings and began prioritizing stories affecting the Indigenous community by launching her own online media platform, Four Points Press. “I always wanted my own website,” she has since revealed. “It’s something I’d been toying with for years. I resigned [from Big Horn County News in October 2021], and by the end of the week, I had my domain name. Two weeks later I was publishing.” In her own words, this independent firm currently covers the Crow Indian Reservation as well as the immediate surrounding area, but she does have plans to expand.
We should mention that Luella is presently even living her initial childhood dream of being a school educator by holding the title of part-time Journalism Teacher at Lodge Grass High School. Coming to her personal standing, from what we can tell, the Benteen, Montana, resident is still a kind, caring, devoted, proud, and protective mother of two college-age sons and one early teenage, middle-school-going daughter.