My father is a citizen of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians. My grandmother grew up in North Dakota and then in Tacoma, Washington. As was the case for many Native families in the 1940s and 1950s, most of our family moved to an urban center (in our case, Tacoma) during and after World War II for work. My grandmother married into the army, and my step-grandfather’s army service took my dad and his siblings around the world, eventually finding a home in Georgia.
My parents met at the University of Georgia and, in the 1980s, moved to North Carolina for school and work. They decided Chapel Hill was a pretty great place to live, and so my sister and I were raised in the Southern Part of Heaven. I am tremendously grateful for the welcome my family received here and for the opportunity to find a home within the North Carolina Native community.
You can read more about my family’s story in my post for The 90%: Stories of Diaspora in Indian Country.
I have the privilege of being part of the American Indian community at UNC-Chapel Hill. Currently, I serve as the co-president for the First Nations Graduate Circle. FNGC supports American Indian graduate/professional students across campus as well as graduate/professional students studying topics related to American Indian communities. Among other activities, we seek to educate the campus community and promote the work of Native artists and activists. Through FNGC, I sit on the advisory board for the UNC American Indian Center — please check out their amazing work!
The Atlanta Indigenous Peoples Association (AIPA)
When I moved to Atlanta in early 2016, I realized that there was no central organization for Indigenous people living in the area. I reached out to Sheena Roetman, a Lakota journalist for Indian Country Today who also lived in Atlanta. We decided to co-found an urban Indian association, and the Atlanta Indigenous Peoples Association was born. If you are local to Atlanta, please join us at one of our upcoming events!