The Landscape Will Teach You Who You Are

Terra Trevor is a writer who draws from her Native roots and the natural world. Her stories illuminate our humanity, remind us to be open, to connect, to hope, to question, or bring change. She writes from a mixed race perspective and is the author of a diverse body of work and a contributor to 10 books, including The People Who Stayed: Southeastern Indian Writing After Removal (University of Oklahoma Press), and Children of the Dragonfly: Native American Voices On Child Custody and Education (The University of Arizona Press). She is the author of Pushing up the Sky, a mother's story, a memoir widely anthologized and is at work on a collection of stories tracing her journey as a young mixed blood Native woman into elder hood. 

Her work and portrait is featured in Tending the Fire: Native Voices and Portraits (University of New Mexico Press). Her work also has appeared in News From Native California (Heyday Books), Voices Confronting Pediatric Brain Tumors (Johns Hopkins University Press), and in numerous other books, anthologies and literary journals online. 

Walking this good earth for more than six decades, getting closer to seven, I’ve found home. The girl, the woman, the grandmother I’ve searched for, questioned, challenged and shaped, comes into view. —Terra Trevor 

The landscape will teach you who you are. —Pikuni Elder Joe Crowshoe Sr.

Earth and The Great Sea

Dancing on the Rim of the World
I am gathered with friends and family under a bead blue sky. Powwow weekend. My shawl is folded over my arm. I listen to the wind, spilling through the tree leaves. Time merges with timelessness. Memories circle and carry me to a day thirty years ago, when I stood on this good land, near the oak tree for the first time, with my young children gathered about. The same tree I am standing under today. I lean my back against this oak. 

This tree, giver of life. She has raised a community with song, dance and prayer. We return to this land, to this tree, in October every year. Laughter, flirting and romance in lives young and old take place all around her. She stands sentry. Her autumn softened leaves, swept up from a cool mountain breeze, fall gently on American Indian fathers holding sleeping babies. Mothers trading stories, their shiny cut beads reflecting light while braiding their children’s hair, with feathers in the colors of the earth, trailing... read more

Love and Frybread

New Mexico. Early Autumn. My friendship with Luke was nearly lifelong. We became friends when I was 16 and he was 18. Now we were in our 40s. When I arrived at Luke’s I had expected this time to be like all of the other times when I visited. Instead he announced it would be good for me to spend a few days in silence. 

The muscles at the base of my neck tightened. “Why?” I gasped. Luke smiled at me. Laugh lines danced around his eyes. “Just agree to do it, and then you’ll understand,” he said. 

At sunrise Luke gathered a few things and said he was going to cross the river, camp and spend some time alone too. For the rest of the week I entered a silent world where the thoughts inside my head never sounded louder... read more

Writing, Reading and Living

For me, writing is a way of reaching out to others, to people I don't know. I sit alone, in silence, but all that time I’m out there, connecting with whoever reads my words. My stories illuminate our humanity, remind us to be open, to connect, hope, to questionor bring change. Every step of the journey I’m always reaching, asking myself, how can I get closer to my story? What can I do to achieve greater intimacy with my readers? 

I write the first draft to find the meaning. In the second  draft I add everything I forgot to include. Then in the final draft I take out everything that doesn’t fit in order to make it sound like I just thought it up. 

All those wonderful writing years, with my dogs sleeping at my feet, while a pot of pinto beans simmered on the back of the stove, and afternoon sun poured through the window, with tiny dust particles floating in the sunlight. Years of indigo hours of early morning rewriting and revising, while my three sweet teenagers slept and the cat walked across my keyboard. 

I value the collective experience collaborating with other writers across genres and in addition to my solo work I'm a contributing author of 10 books.

Books by Terra Trevor, or containing my work

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In other writings featured Online and within my collection of  Insights I turn to my favored literary terrains exploring themes of community, ethnicity and race, activism, transracial adoption, spirituality, Native literature, Native issues, the natural world, simple life, simplicity and sharing my thoughts on the urgent business of being alive. 

Some of my posts have been published previously, excerpts from my books, anthologies and guest essays published in other online places. A number of posts are serious/substantial, balanced with lighter topics. Most of all, my writing is timeless (vs. timely).