Ursula Pike, in conversation with Carolann Duro, discusses "An Indian Among Los Indígenas: A Native Travel Memoir"
Join us on Thursday, May 13th, at 6:30 pm for a virtual event with Ursula Pike, in conversation with Carolann Duro, as they discuss An Indian Among Los Indígenas: A Native Travel Memoir.
This event is free to attend and will be held on Crowdcast. Register here!
When she was twenty-five, Ursula Pike boarded a plane to Bolivia and began her term of service in the Peace Corps. A member of the Karuk Tribe, Pike expected to make meaningful connections with Indigenous people halfway around the world. After all, she was not just another privileged volunteer, she was “one of the good ones” — a fellow Native who wanted to help lift a community out of poverty through economic development. But her hopefulness quickly turned to something different. She was there to help Bolivians, but instead they helped her: cooking her food, washing her clothes, and teaching her to navigate the geography and language. Even her plans for “economic development” seemed questionable, as if they meant expecting a community to choose between its culture and its future. Over the next two years, she began to ask: What does it mean to have experienced the effects of colonialism firsthand, and yet to risk becoming a colonizing force in turn? An Indian Among Los Indígenas: A native Travel Memoir, Pike’s memoir of this experience, upends a canon of travel memoirs that has historically been dominated by white writers. It is a sharp, honest, and unnerving examination of the shadows that colonial history casts over even the most well-intentioned attempts at cross-cultural solidarity.
Ursula Pike is a graduate of the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Her work won the 2019 Writers’ League of Texas Manuscript Contest in the memoir category. Her writing has appeared in "Yellow Medicine Review," "World Literature Today," and "Ligeia Magazine." She has an MA in economics, with a focus on community economic development, and was a Peace Corps fellow at Western Illinois University. She served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Bolivia from 1994 to 1996. An enrolled member of the Karuk Tribe, she was born in California and grew up in California and Oregon. She currently lives in Austin, Texas.
Carolann Duro is a recent graduate of Scripps College. She is the founder of Indigenous Book Club, which is an online collective that reads and discusses books by Indigenous authors. She is also a linguist and her passion is revitalizing and speaking her Indigenous language and promoting other Indigenous languages and language activists
around the globe. Hakup a'ai!