Introducing Myself

Let me introduce myself, briefly, since I’m joining the blog at Carol’s invitation and y’all should know what you’re in for.

You may already have read one of the two pieces I wrote as a guest author here – Tiger Lily and Redface: The Indian Who Can’t Grow Up and Belief, Spirituality, Materialism, and Colonialism: Starting a Conversation. When I wrote those, I was a professor of Native American literature; thanks to health issues as well as departmental issues, I’m no longer in academia, but I’m still interested in the way it functions, and in particular its Eurowestern bias. What I think and write about a lot involves colonialism, appropriation, hegemony, accessibility, racism… and much more, all with a focus on Indigenous issues.

And, of course, as you can see from the Tiger Lily article, I rather love pop culture. I’m probably the only person who consistently brought up Battlestar Galactica in just about every Native Studies class I taught. Not the original, of course, but the re-imagined 2004 series, which I still think is one of the best series ever to hit television and the only one I know that took on torture and waterboarding in a serious and nuanced way, and presented an Iraq-analogue occupation from the perspective of the occupied. (Not for nothing did it win a Peabody Award). It also really does connect to Indigenous issues, because one of the BSG actors is First Nations, and has never ever played a Native-identified character in anything he’s been in.

Tahmoh Penikett, pictured here with Grace Park, is a member of the White River First Nation. He’s never played a character who’s defined as Native, probably because he doesn’t “look Indian” like all the Italians who played Indians in westerns. 


So, yeah, I’ve just introduced myself in yet another venue by immediately bringing up Battlestar Galactica. That seems about right, because one of the reasons I love speculative fiction like BSG is that, at its best, it can make us think about ourselves and the world in ways we don’t expect, and can serve as a vehicle for radical re-imagination and change. And since we’re at introductions, I’ll add that I am writing a fantasy novel at the moment that I hope will be able to do some of that work too (while, of course, never seeming like “work”).

I also have four (!!) cats–I didn’t set out to become a cat lady, but a breakup some years ago took the human-to-cat ratio in my household from a reasonable 2:3 to a cat-lady-territory 1:3. Then I fostered cats for our wonderful local humane society, a no-kill shelter that deserves all the support in the world; after successfully returning about 20 cats and kittens, they gave me a foster kitten who seemed to be dying and who needed a good home to live out his last days. (Which is just a really sweet thing for the humane society to want for him.) He wanted to live, though, and he and I pulled together and got him through, and he’s been with me ever since. So, that leaves me with a human-to-cat ratio of 1:4, meaning, yeah, I’m a cat lady.

Little Joe is on the left, with his best buddy Gramsci (yeah, that’s right, Gramsci)

I also love gardening, which is another thing I share with Carol; I have seeds from her garden to plant in my garden next spring, which is a wonderful thing. Spending time digging and planting and weeding and replanting is incredibly therapeutic, plus it gives me time to catch up on all the podcasts I listen to like I’m an aural addict. It also really helps in dealing with depression, which is something I’ve struggled with for a long time.

Tomato plant coming up between rocks that surround a small garden pond.
This volunteer tomato plant, which pushed its way up between the rocks, always makes me so happy

So, there you are. That’s a longer introduction than I intended, but us white folks always do like to take up space and talk about our own selves. I kid, I kid! some of my best friends are white people!

…and I should probably mention that having a sense of humor is something I find essential to surviving in this world.

7 thoughts on “Introducing Myself

  1. Some of my best friends are white as well, including my deceased mother and father!;-)

    Will look forward to your postings!

    And by the way, my x wife is a cat ladt. We used to foster for a local store like the one you described. I’m a sucker for animals, especially kitties and puppies!

    Liked by 2 people

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