Special Issue of The Educational Forum

I am pleased to announce a special issue of The Educational Forum, which I guest edited. Several years ago, I was at a conference attended by teacher educators and several teacher candidates. Toward the end of a session focused on student-centered teaching, a teacher candidate, looking clearly flustered, spoke. She pointed out that the older teacher […]

Critical Family History Book Review: Bella’s Legacy

Who was Bella, and what might be her legacy? In her debut novel, Luanna Meyer fictionalizes four generations of her family history, with a focus on the women and their life choices. Journalist Bella Colquhoun emerges as the novel’s fictionalized writer. Young widowhood, lost babies, triumph and regret, conflict and reconciliation, dreams taken up and […]

Immigration and White People’s History

Today in response to immigration issues, we often hear white people say something like, “My ancestors came here legally, why can’t ‘they’?” This kind of wondering leads many to support deportations of anyone who is undocumented.  It can be very eye-opening, however, for white people to look critically at immigration within our own family histories. […]

Repatriation of Land to Tribes

My second novel, The Inheritance, deals with repatriation of land that was stolen from Indigenous peoples. The novel traces my own experience of uncovering the history of an inheritance, finding that it originated in my great-grandparents homesteading land from which the Utes had been expelled. My great-grandparents sold the homestead and bought land in Steamboat […]

Butler, a white man taking a stand against slavery

Who was Benjamin Franklin Butler, and why would anyone care? I am in the process of exploring ideas for my third novel, and am considering Butler as a historical character. My two previous novels – White Bread and The Inheritance – have featured present-day educators wrestling with social justice issues that link the present with […]

Critical Family History Book Review: Before we were Yours

Adoption presents challenges to family historians. Perhaps the greatest challenge is figuring out how important it is to trace biological ancestors, especially if they have had little or no role in actually raising a person. Lisa Wingate, in Before we were Yours (Ballantine, 2017), grapples with this question, although her purpose is mainly to critique […]

Returning What was Stolen

On September 24, 2017, I returned to the Ute Nation money I had inherited derived from the sale of a homestead on the Utes’ homeland in the Yampa Valley of Colorado immediately after the Utes had been expelled. How did I trace my inheritance to the Utes’ loss of land? Why did I frame the […]

Critical Family History Book Review: Homegoing

What might a family history look and feel like that, while not based strictly on genealogy, portrays in exquisite detail who one’s ancestors could have been? This is the project debut novelist Yaa Gyasi undertook in her breathtaking debut novel Homegoing (Knopf, 2016). Perhaps her greatest impulse in creating Homegoing was articulated by one of […]

Impact of Ethnic Studies on Attitudes

The Arizona state legislature is at it again, now considering legislation to ban specific ethnic studies teaching practices (such as the privilege walk) at the university as well as K-12 levels. This proposed legislation is based on the belief that such courses and activities promote resentment based on race, gender, religious affiliation, social class, and/or political affiliation. […]

White people in Ethnic Studies

Ethnic Studies is experiencing a vibrant growth at the K-12 level. I am sometimes asked what place there should be, if any, for white people in Ethnic Studies. This is an important question. Simply leaving white people out of Ethnic studies will alienate them. In addition, Ethnic Studies is invaluable for helping white people see […]