I aim to contribute to the current understanding of what it means to be alive in the New World, a continent of united states incongruously named after one Amerigo Vespucci.
Like many bleeding-heart educators, I studied art and writing and chose to teach for the very idealistic purpose of becoming a catcher in the rye -- sharing love for my subjects and "saving" those uncertain young people, all those children marginalized and 'othered' by the educational system, and mentoring them through the difficult process of self-affirmation. I began integrating my personal findings and sensed, over time, a small paradigm shift. The students who left my classroom subscribed to a Mary Poppins "work is play" approach and understood that learning has no boundaries, language remains unfixed, and art cleans the soul.
Celluloid Anthropology reveals the billion chips on my shoulder. This study explains, defends, and defines a multitude of Indian experiences to those eager to hear of holy cows from a Midwestern Plains Indian-American. Raised during those Benneton decades of multiculturalism, I embrace the responsibility of representation while combining my cultural lenses to create a dense soda-bottle perspective from which to embark. I continue to work simultaneously as a writer, a visual artist, and an educator, fueled by an impulse to share my view with transparency and generosity.
A sense of difference eventually helped the artists of And Others to establish a firm sense of individuality, bolstering their determination to write stories that challenge stereotypical images so that readers can learn that there are many ways to be American. By recognizing the artists' individual voices as opposed to a distant, indistinct marginal yell, audiences may appreciate their contribution to what it means to be alive in our shared time and place.