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Author: Ursula Pike and Michelle LaPena in Conversation

An Indian among los Indígenas: A Native Travel Memoir
Wednesday, 7/27/2022
7:00 - 8:00

Pike and LaPena discuss An Indian among los Indígenas: A Native Travel Memoir.  Pike’s memoir upends the white writer canon of travel memoirs with a sharp, honest and unnerving examination of the shadows that colonial history cast over even the most well-intentioned attempts at cross-cultural solidarity. It is also the debut of an exceptionally astute writer with a mastery of deadpan wit.

 

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When she was twenty-five, Ursula Pike boarded a plane to Bolivia and began her two years of service in the Peace Corps. A member of the Karuk Tribe, Pike sought to make meaningful connections with Indigenous people halfway around the world. But she arrived in La Paz with trepidation as well as excitement, “knowing I followed in the footsteps of Western colonizers and missionaries who had also claimed they were there to help.” In the following two years, as a series of dramatic episodes brought that tension to boiling point, she began to ask: what does it mean to have experienced the effects of colonialism firsthand, and yet to risk becoming a colonizing force in turn?

Ursula Pike is the author of An Indian among los Indígenas: A Native Travel Memoir (2021) from Heyday Books. Ursula lives in Austin, Texas, and writes about identity, Native American issues, economics, travel, and powwows. She has an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the Institute of American Indian Arts and a master’s degree in Economics from Western Illinois University. She is a member of the Karuk Tribe. Her work has appeared in LitHub, Yellow Medicine Review, Ligeia Magazine, World Literature Today and O’Dark 30.

Michelle L. LaPena is a member of the Pit River Tribe and a mother of three. She is an Indian law attorney who has represented Indian Tribes since 1999. She has published several law review articles, essays and creative non-fiction articles on topics relative to her work with California Indian tribes. Her poetry has recently been published in Wards Literary Review, Yellow Medicine Review, Red Ink and News from Native California. Her first short story was published in Waxwing in 2018. She received her B.A. in 1993 and her J.D. in 1998, both from the University of California, Davis. She was a recipient of the 2015 Truman Capote Creative Writing Fellowship and earned her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts in 2017. Her novel manuscript, The Fantasy Spring, is nearly completed, and she is currently working on a poetry chapbook.

Connect

Ursula Pike - Website | Ursula Pike - Twitter | Ursula Pike - Instagram


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