Terra Trevor is an essayist, memoirist and nonfiction writer of a diverse body of work. 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 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 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), The Huffington PostNarrative Inquiry In Bioethics and Voices Confronting Pediatric Brain Tumors (Johns Hopkins University Press), and in numerous other books, anthologies and literary journals online. 

Born in California in 1953, with roots in Colorado and Oklahoma, she is the granddaughter of mixed-blood Cherokee, Lenape, Seneca sharecroppers, and a banjo player and she grew up in a verbal tradition rich with storytelling.

Author photos (left) by Lawrence K. Ho. Author photo (right) by Chris Felver


Growing up in a family of storytellers and music makers, I developed a listening habit. I also understand that the ancestors are grooming me to perform work while I’m on this earth. Writing is one of the ways I do it. I value the collective experience. It gives depth to the single story, and I'm often happiest when collaborating with other writers. 

I’ve been writing and publishing for 30-plus years. 
Along the way I have also worked with American Indian Health with a program offering spiritual connection and Indian doctoring for Native Americans living with AIDS. As a director with Hospice and We Can Pediatric Brain Tumor Network. As a coordinator in South Korea with a family exchange program. At a Youth Crisis Shelter for homeless teens. As a volunteer with CASA as a Court Appointed Special Advocate with at-risk and foster youth in transition. In schools and within Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers mentoring core. 

I have the lived experience as the mother of Korean adoptees, as the mother of a child with a brain tumor, and as a mixed-blood woman and grandmother with light skin privilege.

In my life a host of teachers have crossed my path, always showing up at the right time. 
For every success we have I believe it is important to remember how we got there. I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish all that I have without the steadfast guidance from teams of good people who gave their time to me, mentoring, shepherding, guiding and veering me along. 

I owe an extraordinary debt to all of my teachers who have taught me many wise things about writing and publishing and life. 

"I'm not a German person, I'm not a white person, I'm not a totally Native person. But somehow I can move between these worlds very easily." Louise Erdrich

For me, with my Cherokee, Lenape, Seneca, German ancestry, Erdrich’s words are a metaphor for my life. I’m traveling incognito, and at times my mixed heritage allows me to remain an outsider in my writing.

As a person of the world I wear the face of a woman with light skin privilege. My gray hair and wrinkled neck speak for me, show that I have lived many years. The placement of my eyes, small, deep-set above broad-boned cheeks, and my wherewithal attest that I’m a rough around the edges mixed-blood.

But what you cannot see is how the language of adoption gives me deep roots into Korean lifeways. While two of my children, Korean-born, explored what it meant to be Korean American, I sank in roots. My soul is connected and thirty years in the Korean community shaped and changed me.

Those thinking they know what to expect when they see my face will not identify me as mixed race, as Native, or as a member of an Asian blended family, or understand that my heart is also connected to Korean ethnicity. 

© 2018 Terra Trevor. All rights reserved.

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 question, or 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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Within my blog I turn to my favored literary terrains exploring themes of community, race, activism, transracial adoption, Native literature, and notions as commonplace as the natural world, simple life, simplicity and sharing my thoughts on the urgent business of being alive. Some of my blog 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).

Blog Archives

My Online Journal is my heart's home on the page, where I write with abandon and explore this wilderness in my mind.

Other Writings Online

Links to my blog posts published in other online places