How We Go Home

Voices from Indigenous North America

edited by Sara Sinclair  

How We Go Home shares contemporary Indigenous stories in the long and ongoing fight to protect Indigenous land and life.

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  • September 2020
  • ISBN: 9781773633381
  • 330 pages
  • $26.00
  • For sale in Canada
  • EPUB September 2020
  • ISBN: 9781773633398
  • $25.99
  • For sale in Canada
  • PDF September 2020
  • ISBN: 9781773634296
  • $25.99
  • For sale in Canada
  • Kindle September 2020
  • ISBN: 9781773633404
  • $25.99
  • For sale in Canada

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About the book

Teaching Guide Available Here

In myriad ways, each narrator’s life has been shaped by loss, injustice, and resilience—and by the struggle of how to share space with settler nations whose essential aim is to take all that is Indigenous.

Hear from Jasilyn Charger, one of the first five people to set up camp at Standing Rock, which kickstarted a movement of Water Protectors that roused the world; Gladys Radek, a survivor of sexual violence whose niece disappeared along Canada’s Highway of Tears, who became a family advocate for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls; and Marian Naranjo, herself the subject of a secret radiation test while in high school, who went on to drive Santa Clara Pueblo toward compiling an environmental impact statement on the consequences of living next to Los Alamos National Laboratory. Theirs are stories among many of the ongoing contemporary struggles to preserve Indigenous lands and lives—and of how we go home.

Indigenous Resistance & Decolonization

What people are saying

— Niigaan Sinclair, associate professor, Department of Native Studies at the University of Manitoba and columnist, Winnipeg Free Press

“How We Go Home is a testament to modern-day Indigenous revitalization, often in the face of the direst of circumstances. Told as firsthand accounts on the frontlines of resistance and resurgence, these life stories inspire and remind that Indigenous life is all about building a community through the gifts we offer and the stories we tell.”

—Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, author of As We Have Always Done

“The voices of How We Go Home are singing a chorus of love and belonging alongside the heat of resistance, and the sound of Indigenous life joyfully dances off these pages.”

—Honourable Senator Murray Sinclair

“How We Go Home confirms that we all have stories. These stories teach us history, morality, identity, connection, empathy, understanding, and self-awareness. We hear the stories of our ancestors and they tell us who we are. We hear the stories of our heroes and they tell us what we can be.”


Sara Sinclair

Sara Sinclair is an oral historian, writer, and educator of Cree-Ojibwe and mixed settler descent. Sara teaches in the Oral History Masters Program at Columbia University. She has contributed to the Columbia Center for Oral History Research’s Covid-19 Oral History, Narrative and Memory Archive, Obama Presidency Oral History, and Robert Rauschenberg Oral History Project. She has conducted oral histories for the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and the International Labor Organization, among others. Sara is co-editor of Robert Rauschenberg: An Oral History, published with Columbia University Press in 2019.


  • Editor’s Notes
  • Introduction (Sara Sinclair)
  • Executive Director’s Note (Mimi Lok)
  • Map
  • Gladys Radek, Terrace, Gitxsan / Wet’suwet’en First Nations—“When Tamara went missing, it took the breath out of me.”
  • Jasilyn Charger, Cheyenne River Sioux—“My son’s buried by the river. . . . I vowed to him that he’s gonna be safe, that no oil was gonna touch him.”
  • Wizipan Little Elk, Rosebud Lakota Tribe—“On the reservation, you have the beauty of the culture and our traditional knowledge contrasted with the reality of poverty.”
  • Geraldine Manson, Snuneymuxw First Nation—The nurse was trying to get me to sign a paper to put our baby, Derrick, up for adoption.”
  • Robert Ornelas, New York City, Lipan Apache / Ysleta del Sur Pueblo—“A part of the soul sickness for me was being ashamed . . . what we were being taught about Indians was so minimal and so negative.”
  • Ashley Hemmers, Fort Mojave Indian Tribe—“I didn’t work my ass off to get to Yale to be called a squaw.”
  • Ervin Chartrand, Selkirk, Métís/Salteaux—“They said I fit the description because I looked like six other kids with leather vests and long hair who looked Indian.”
  • James Favel, Winnipeg, Peguis First Nation “You’re a stakeholder because you’ve got to walk these streets every day.”
  • Marian Naranjo, Santa Clara Pueblo—“Indigenous peoples’ reason for being is to be the caretakers of Creator’s gifts—of the air, the water, the land.”
  • Blaine Wilson, Tsartlip First Nation “When I was twenty-five, thirty, there was more salmon and I was fishing every other day. Now I’m lucky to go once a week.”
  • Althea Guiboche, Winnipeg, Métis/Ojibwe/Salteaux “I had three babies under three years old and I was homeless.”
  • Vera Styres, Six Nations of the Grand River, Mohawk/Tuscarora“I was a ‘scabby, dirty little Indian.’”
  • Glossary
  • Historical Timeline of Indigenous North America
  • Essay: 1. The Trail of Broken Promises: US and Canadian Treaties with First Nations
  • Essay 2:  “Indigenous Perspectives on Intergenerational Trauma”: An Interview with Johnna James
  • Essay 3: Indigenous Resurgence
  • Ten Things You Can Do
  • Further Reading
  • Acknowledgements


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