Living on the Borderlines
Living on the Borderlines
Both on and off the rez, characters contend with identity as contemporary Haudenosaunee peoples.
Publication Date: 02-12-2019
Available as an ebook on:
Cover art by Natasha Smoke Santiago
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.
“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
“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
“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
Interested in reading this book with a group? Download group discussion questions for Living on the Borderlines here!