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A bold and profound meditation on trauma, legacy, oppression and racism in North America from an award-winning Haudenosaunee writer
The Mohawk phrase for depression can be roughly translated to "a mind spread out on the ground." In this urgent and visceral work, Alicia Elliott explores how apt a description that is for the ongoing effects of personal, intergenerational, and colonial traumas she and so many Native people have experienced.
Elliott's deeply personal writing details a life spent between Indigenous and white communities, a divide reflected in her own family, and engages with such wide-ranging topics as race, parenthood, love, art, mental illness, poverty, sexual assault, gentrification, and representation. Throughout, she makes thrilling connections both large and small between the past and present, the personal and political.
A national bestseller in Canada, this updated and expanded American edition helps us better understand legacy, oppression, and racism throughout North America, and offers us a profound new way to decolonize our minds.
"Elliott perfectly captures the modern indigenous experience ... a gripping read."—Christian Allaire, Vogue
"A tour de force. . . . Alicia Elliott takes her place among essayists such as [Roxane] Gay and [Samantha] Irby, infusing intimate details of her own life with sociopolitical analysis and biting wit. . . . " —The Globe and Mail
"A new lens on North American Indigenous literature." —Terese Marie Mailhot, author of Heart Berries
"An astonishing book of insightful and affecting essays that will stay with you long after the final page."—Zoe Whittall, author of The Best Kind of People
“A beautiful, incisive, and punk rock tour of Mohawk brilliance.” —Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, author of This Accident of Being Lost
"An instant must-read... Elliott’s prose is beautiful, and her insight into the deeply personal and its interconnectedness with the wider world makes this book readable, infuriating, and essential."—LitHub
"An impressive debut from a welcome new voice in Native letters."—Kirkus
"Elliott is fierce and unapologetic." —Toronto Star
"Wildly brave and wholly original, Alicia Elliot is the voice that rouses us from the mundane, speaks political poetry and brings us to the ceremony of every day survival. Her words remind us to carry both our weapons and our medicines, to hold both our strength and our open, weeping hearts. A Mind Spread Out on the Ground is what happens when you come in a good way to offer prayer, and instead, end up telling the entire damn truth of it all." —Cherie Dimaline, author of The Marrow Thieves
Alicia Elliott's writing has been published in The Washington Post, The Globe and Mail, Vice, and The Best American Short Stories 2018, among others. She has been shortlisted for the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction. Born in Buffalo, NY and raised between there and Ohio, she now lives in Brantford, Ontario with her husband and child.
Terese Marie Mailhot is from Seabird Island Band. She graduated with an MFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts. She served as Saturday Editor at The Rumpus and was a columnist at Indian Country Today. Her work appears in West Branch, Guernica, Pacific Standard, Elle, Medium, Buzzfeed, and the LA Times. She is the author of the New York Times bestselling Heart Berries: A Memoir. She serves as faculty at the Institute of American Indian Arts and she's a Tecumseh Postdoctoral Fellow at Purdue University.