Black Indian: A Memoir by Shonda Buchanan

Posted in Anthropology, Autobiography, Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2019-08-20 20:07Z by Steven

Black Indian: A Memoir by Shonda Buchanan

Wayne State University Press
2019-08-26
352 pages
7 black-and-white photos
Size: 6×9
Paperback ISBN: 9780814345801
Ebook ISBN: 9780814345818

Shonda Buchanan, Literary Editor
Harriet Tubman Press

Black Indian, searing and raw, is Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club and Alice Walker’s The Color Purple meets Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony—only, this isn’t fiction. Beautifully rendered and rippling with family dysfunction, secrets, deaths, alcoholism, and old resentments, Shonda Buchanan’s memoir is an inspiring story that explores her family’s legacy of being African Americans with American Indian roots and how they dealt with not just society’s ostracization but the consequences of this dual inheritance.

Buchanan was raised as a Black woman, who grew up hearing cherished stories of her multi-racial heritage, while simultaneously suffering from everything she (and the rest of her family) didn’t know. Tracing the arduous migration of Mixed Bloods, or Free People of Color, from the Southeast to the Midwest, Buchanan tells the story of her Michigan tribe—a comedic yet manically depressed family of fierce women, who were everything from caretakers and cornbread makers to poets and witches, and men who were either ignored, protected, imprisoned, or maimed—and how their lives collided over love, failure, fights, and prayer despite a stacked deck of challenges, including addiction and abuse. Ultimately, Buchanan’s nomadic people endured a collective identity crisis after years of constantly straddling two, then three, races. The physical, spiritual, and emotional displacement of American Indians who met and married Mixed or Black slaves and indentured servants at America’s early crossroads is where this powerful journey begins.

Black Indian doesn’t have answers, nor does it aim to represent every American’s multi-ethnic experience. Instead, it digs as far down into this one family’s history as it can go—sometimes, with a bit of discomfort. But every family has its own truth, and Buchanan’s search for hers will resonate with anyone who has wondered “maybe there’s more than what I’m being told.”

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After Years of Searching, I Finally Found My Black Indian Community

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Autobiography, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2019-08-20 19:36Z by Steven

After Years of Searching, I Finally Found My Black Indian Community

Zora
2019-08-19

Shonda Buchanan, Literary Editor
Harriet Tubman Press

The blood of two peoples runs in us, and we want everyone to know we are still here

Dropping off a book at the Hampton Public Library, I glance at the counter and see a licorice-red flyer that says, “Come Join the Weyanoke Association: African Americans Honoring Our American Indian Heritage.” I look around. Is someone playing a joke on me?

In August 2004, my daughter and I moved to Hampton, Virginia, for my job at a Historically Black College. Our first year was hard and lonely, and we desperately missed our communities back in Los Angeles and in the Los Padres National Forest.

“I hate it here,” Afiya said at least once a week as she tried to make friends in the ninth grade. I tried to placate her with the proverbial “give it time” talks, but I had moved her away from her friends at 14, just as she was about to start high school. We had many “I hate it here” fights, but the truth was I was having a hard time finding my people, too. I missed the African American, African-centered communities, and the American Indian groups that had become my family over the years. This flyer seemed to be a sign: Little did I know I was about to find a space where both sides of my heritage combined…

Read the entire article here.

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