I’m a tall, left-handed person and back in 2001 I received a Ph.D. in American Studies with a thesis that examined the role of trickster figures in the works of contemporary Native novelists. Since then I’ve published articles, stories, and poems in journals and books like Studies in American Indian Literatures, Yellow Medicine Review, Seeing Red: Hollywood’s Pixeled Skins, and Sudden Storm: A Wendigo Reader. After twenty years of teaching in American Indian Studies at the University’s Twin Cities campus, I moved north in the COVID fall of 2020 to join the faculty in American Indian Studies at UMD. While at the Twin Cities campus, I specialized in teaching American Indian literature and film courses, a focus I will continue to maintain at UMD.
As a scholar, I am no longer very scholarly. As you might guess from my focus on American Indian literature and film, I enjoy the creative process and participating in it, whether by reading books, viewing films, or producing my own creative work. By reflecting on and engaging with the values and spirits embedded in Anishinaabe teachings, my fiction and creative nonfiction explores what it means to be an Anishinaabe descendant.
In both my teaching and writing, I wonder what the world would look like if the ethical and ecological values found in the knowledges of Indigenous peoples were moved to the center of our discussions of what we want our society to become. My novel, Stories for a Lost Child, explores these themes and ideas through a coming-of-age story about a teenaged girl seeking to understand what it means to be Anishinaabe. I am currently working on a book of creative nonfiction called Strange Spirits: A Memoir in Monsters that examines Native stories about cannibal spirits and the forest beings (Sasquatch!) while narrating the historical and personal fractures that resulted in my family losing touch with its Anishinaabe roots.
“Thinking with Bigfoot about a Jackpine Savage: Cryptogenealogical Reflections,” in Unpapered: Writers Consider Native American Identity and Cultural Belonging. BkMk Press, forthcoming.
“Crossing Cuyahoga,” in Massachusetts Review. Fall 2020.
“The Fallen God of Sun Worshiping Victorians,” in Enduring Critical Poses: The Legacy and Life of Anishinaabe Literature and Letters, edited by Gordon Henry, Jr., Margaret Noodin, and David Stirrup. Albany, NY: SUNY Press. February 2021.