Native American Issues

Living in the liminal space between cultures has been both a blessing and a challenge in my life. I have often wondered “who am I – really?” I would prefer to answer that by saying that I am my Ojibwe mother’s daughter, “the one bright star in her life” as she once told me during my fortieth decade. I am a mother and grandmother to a wonderful group of mixed ancestry family. But identity is never that simple. Should we ever define ourselves solely by others’ expectations or the socially constructed roles and statuses we inherit based on the positions into which we were born?


Photo: My Granddaughter and Me – June 12, 2015

Yet, on some levels, those characteristics take on a life of their own – they are real to most of the people in our lives, and hence, have a profound influence on our lives. Perhaps we carry the responsibilities they represent for reasons we may not know. All I do know is that I carry both the beauty of what I inherited and learned through my mother’s presence in my life and a deep sense of sadness for what my Ojibwe ancestor’s experienced and the confusing array of her other ancestries – French adventurers and voyageurs, one of the first English settlers in Ojibwe country (Willard Leroy Ackley), and either a mysterious Norwegian “Count” (Lugwig Motzfeldt) or a Danish writer (Wilhelm Dinesen, father of famous writer, Isak Dinesen).  But this is not all I have inherited. My father’s fragile, angry brilliance and the cruelty and displacement of his ancestors from their small island of birth (Great Britain), are part of my heritage as well.

How does one learn to live with an eclectic mix of empathetic tender-heartedness, intellectual curiosity, and anger about injustice? Following are some of the posts I have written that describe the challenges I have experienced as a human being of mixed ancestry who has learned to see the world from a different perspective.

“We’re Honoring Indians!” (August, 25, 2013)

Reflections on River Teeth (October 26, 2013)

Why Are You So Different? (November 6, 2013)

The Dance of Illusions (November 29, 2013)

Aadi and the Epeaturstrich (January 1, 2014)

Honoring “The Strength of Indian Women” (January 22, 2014)

Circle the Wagons – The Natives Are Restless (January 24, 2014)

Go FISH! (January 31, 2014)

Living in the Space Between Cultures – Part 2 (February 23, 2014)

Indian Child Removal and the Ga-Ga (March 8, 2014)

Rescuing Children or Homogenizing America? – Part 1 (April 5, 2014)

Rescuing Children of Homogenizing American? – Part 2 (April 6, 2014)

A Life Lived as a Song for Her People – An Ojibwe Woman’s Story – Part One (May 11, 2014)

A Life Lived As a Song for Her People – An Ojibwe Woman’s Story – Part Two (May 14, 2014)

Worlds Apart: The Enduring Significance of Ojibwe Culture (June 7, 2014)

Spirituality and Rationality – The Liminal Space Between Cultures (July 7, 2014)

Who I Am and Why I’m Here: Blogging 101 (September 15, 2014)

History Matters (October 13, 2014)

Reflections on Winters Past (January 1, 2015)

Privilege Comes with Such a Heavy Cost (February 12, 2015)

Restorative Justice – A Practice that Was Outlawed in the Past (February 24, 2015)

Restorative Justice – Part Two – “Somebody Care About Us” (March 4, 2015)

When you think of “health” what comes to mind? (March 6, 2015)

Reflections – Respecting Diversity Matters (March 16, 2015)

The Year My Mother Was Born (April 5, 2015)

The Challenge of Reweaving Communities (April 13, 2015)

“You Need to Tell Them How I Was with the Children” (April 14, 2015)

Differential Power and Indian Child Welfare: Part One (May 11, 2015)

Differential Power and Indian Child Welfare Part Two (May 16, 2015)

Differential Power and Indian Child Welfare Part Three (May 18, 2015)

Differential Power and Indian Child Welfare Part Four (May 25, 2015)

Differential Power and Indian Child Welfare Part Five (May 28, 2015)

Whose Perspective Matters Most? (June 6, 2015)

Social Security and Nationalism (July 3, 2015)

Guest Posts on Other Sites:

Deconstructing Myths – Mic Check series

Living in the Space Between Cultures (January 11, 2014)

Lara – Interviews

Part One: Interview with … Carol A. Hand (December 6, 2014)

Part Two: Interview … River Teeth (December 12, 2014)

Part Three: Interview … Personal Experiences: Walking in Two Worlds (December 18, 2014)

Part Four: Interview … Historical Context: Walking in Two Worlds (December 20, 2014)

Part Five: Interview … Conclusion (December 25, 2014)

Four Winds Literary Magazine, Issue 1

Spirituality and Rationality – The Liminal Space between Cultures (Carol A. Hand)

Desde el espacio umbral entre culturas (Living in the space between cultures)

Combatir la injusticia desde el espacio umbral entre culturas (March 2, 2014, Fighting injustice in the liminal space between cultures)



22 Responses to Native American Issues

  1. hsampson says:

    Hello Carol!
    I just mentioned you in this article, please go and take a look:
    You don´t need to do anything, this is just a way for me to thank you for the inspiration I have from your blog and to thank you for your support.
    Thank YOU sincerely.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. A very thoughtful and thought-provoking post, Carol. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Gator Woman says:

    Yet another tender look at the blend that so many of us are~

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautifully written. I hear in this piece a desire to both honor and embrace. Perhaps that’s the key.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is such a thoughtful and lovely comment, D. Wallace. Thank you. “Honoring and embracing” are appropriate descriptions of what I was feeling when I decided to create and post this new page.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I hope to go back and read more of you posts. I’m glad I found your blog.

        Liked by 1 person

      • A writer from the East says:

        This is truly wonderful, the more I come to your blog, the more I want to stay here and educate myself on Native American issues, thanks so much for your writing and this blog. A great and valuable resource for readers and people interested in learning the real voices and actual representations of the Native American people.
        Personally, I believe strongly in preserving the indigenous heritage of Mother Earth and I sincerely appreciate how your work is helping my personal process and growth.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m deeply grateful for your kind words, Writer from the East. I think we share many values – recognizing the divisiveness of colonialism, acknowledging the power of women, and raising awareness about the importance of honoring heritage while healing socially-constructed divisions among people.

          Thank you for your ever-thoughtful comments.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Lara/Trace says:

    I am so honored to know you Carol. This post is wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Celebrating the blogs I follow #2 | Maria Holm

  7. Carol, Thank you for signing up to follow me, and know I will come visit your blog as often as I am able. (Working full time, pursuing my dream of writing/illustrating children’s books, trying to blog, and occasionally to clean. :o) You are writing about many things that touch my mind and heart – thank you for that, too. Jeanne

    Liked by 1 person

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