On the Same Page: Bad Indians

Bad Indians

“If we allow the pieces of our culture to lie scattered in the dust of history, trampled on by racism and grief, then yes, we are irreparably damaged. But if we pick up the pieces and use them in new ways that honor their integrity, their colors, textures, stories—then we do those pieces justice, no matter how sharp they are, no matter how much handling them slices our fingers and makes us bleed.”

November/December 2021 Selection

Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir

Deborah A. Miranda

This beautiful and devastating book—part tribal history, part lyric and intimate memoir—should be required reading for anyone seeking to learn about California Indian history, past and present. Deborah A. Miranda tells stories of her Ohlone-Costanoan Esselen family, as well as the experience of California Indians as a whole, through oral histories, newspaper clippings, anthropological recordings, personal reflections and poems. The result is a work of literary art that is wise, angry and playful all at once, a compilation that will break your heart and teach you to see the world anew.

  • Author Talk: Deborah A. Miranda in Conversation – Dec. 17, 2 p.m.
    Zoom registration 
  • Book Club: Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir by Deborah A. Miranda – Dec. 20, 7 p.m.
    Zoom registration

About the Author


Deborah A. Miranda is an enrolled member of the Ohlone-Costanoan Esselen Nation of the Greater Monterey Bay Area in California. Her mixed-genre book Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir (Heyday 2013) received the 2015 PEN-Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award, a Gold Medal from the Independent Publishers Association and was shortlisted for the William Saroyan Literary Award. She is also the author of four poetry collections: Indian Cartography, The Zen of La Llorona, Raised by Humans and the forthcoming Altar for Broken Things. She is coeditor of Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two-Spirit Literature. Miranda lives in Lexington, Virginia with her wife and a variety of rescue dogs. She is the Thomas H. Broadus, Jr. Professor of English at Washington and Lee University, where she teaches literature of the margins and creative writing.