Living on the Borderlines: Stories
Both on and off the rez, characters contend with identity as contemporary Haudenosaunee peoples; the stories "cross bloodlines, heart lines, and cultural lines, powerfully charting whta it is to be human in a world that works to divide us" (Susan Power, author of Sacred Wilderness).
In Living on the Borderlines, intergenerational memory and trauma slip into everyday life: a teenager struggles to understand her grandmother's silences, a man contemplates what it means to preserve tradition in the wake of the "disappearing Indian" myth, and an older woman challenges her town's prejudice while uniting an unlikely family.
With these stories, debut writer Melissa Michal weaves together an understated and contemplative collection exploring what it means to be Indigenous.
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About the Author
Melissa Michal is of Seneca descent. She teaches creative writing and literature and loves helping students find that they too can write. She is a fiction writer, essayist, photographer, and a professor. She has her MFA from Chatham University, MA from The Pennsylvania State University, and her PhD in literature from Arizona State University where she focused on education and representation of Indigenous histories and literatures in curriculum. She has been grateful to read at the National American Indian Museum in DC and Amerind Museum in Dragoon. Melissa has work appearing in The Florida Review, Yellow Medicine Review, and other places. She was a finalist for the Louise Meriwether first book prize. She has a novel completed and is working on her nonfiction essay collection.
"The stories in Living on the Borderlines cross bloodlines, heart lines, and cultural lines, powerfully charting what it is to be human in a world that works to divide us." --Susan Power, author of Sacred Wilderness
"Living on the Borderlines is a beautiful window into understanding Indigenous worldviews. Indigenous cultures think primarily in terms of space, and Western Europeans think in terms of time. Yet, Indigenous stories sharing original wisdom is how the first peoples of this land survived despite countless attempts to eradicate our race, culture, and way of life. This book is an unapologetic contemporary perspective of the truth of healing through Indigenous storytelling." --Sarah Eagle Heart, CEO of Native Americans in Philanthropy
"Enlightening and thought-provoking, Michal's stories are a pleasure to read and absorb." --Booklist"Deftly crafted, inherently interesting, thoughtful and thought-provoking, but above all entertaining." --Midwest Book Review "Melissa Michal writes . . . with a power that will make you want to read and reread these stories." --Brooklyn Rail
"Living on the Borderlines is a hauntingly beautiful collection of stories of contemporary women and girls who live in the spaces between the reservations and traditional Indigenous territories and rural and urban communities stretching across western New York to the Blue Ridge Mountains, and beyond, to the island of Haida Gwaii off the coast of British Columbia. Despite the family choices, personal losses, intergenerational and historical traumas that separate Melissa Michal's characters across time and space, both they and their stories are woven together by their ancestral bloodlines, spirits and voices that dance and dream, spelunk and sing them from the past, through the present, and into a resurgent future. Michal's debut is a stunning achievement." --Nikki Dragone, visiting assistant professor of Native American studies, Dickinson College