For me, with my Cherokee, 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 my son, 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 connected to Korean ethnicity.