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Living on the Borderlines: Stories

Both on and off the rez, characters contend with identity as contemporary Haudenosaunee peoples.

For the loosely connected Seneca community members living in Upstate New York, intergenerational memory slips into everyday life: a teenager struggles to understand her grandmother's silences, a family seeks to reconnect with a lost sibling, and a young woman searches for a cave that's called to her family for generations. With these stories, debut writer Melissa Michal weaves together an understated and contemplative collection exploring what it means to be Native.

Melissa Michal's work has appeared in The Florida Review, Yellow Medicine Review, and others. She currently teaches Native American/Indigenous literatures at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Reviews
“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

Additional Information
250 pages | 5.25" x 7.50" | Cover art by Natasha Smoke Santiago