I was born in Montana, left as a toddler, returning in my fifth decade for a second act career as a writer. It was then I first met and worked with Native Americans. Previously, I hadn’t known anyone who didn’t have an arriving-to-America story in their family history.
While many of us have relatives, perhaps generations ago, who made a conscious decision to come to this country, that’s not true for everyone, of course. A few people were already here, some tagged along as children, and others were brought against their will.
Along my life’s way, growing up in California, attending graduate school in Michigan, raising a family in Pennsylvania, living in the Rocky Mountain states of Montana and Colorado, I’ve heard hundreds of why-we-came stories from people I knew personally.
Some stories are fresh with tears and struggles, others generations old where details have been lost or blurred. But the why seems to remain. On my mother’s side, they came for religious freedom; on my father’s a chance for (continue reading →)