Why I Write Native American and Southern Fiction

I’m often asked why I write Southern and/or Native American fiction.

The truthful answer is—I don’t know. I’ve just always (we’re talking my earliest memories as a preschooler) had this interest in Native American cultures.

Perhaps it began with the arrowhead collection my tobacco farming grandfather amassed from plowing the fields in Eastern NC. Or, that unfortunate incident at Tweetsie Railroad (a Wild West NC mountain amusement park) that involved a train robbery and Indian attack on my highly impressionable mind when I was three year’s old. But that’s a story for another day.

I’m lucky to live in North Carolina because North Carolina is home to the largest population of Native Americans east of the Mississippi. I’ve known various members of the Cherokee, Lumbee, Haliwa-Saponi and Coharie tribes throughout my life—childhood, teen years, college and as an adult in professional and personal capacities. I’ve always been fascinated by their culture. Admired their persistence and perserverance against overwhelming odds to survive and thrive. Television has reduced Americans to a mind-numbing blandness. Southerners—and Native Americans—do not fit into that cookie cutter mold. And I love that. We are unique and proud of it.

So when my in-laws retired to Colorado, not far from the Four Corners region, guess where I wanted to go? Yep. The Navajo Reservation; the Ute History Museum, etc . . . You get the picture. And yes, my family (read teenaged children) make fun of me early and often.

Here is a map of the North Carolina tribes—future story ideas? Well, you never know . . .

tribes

 

For more photos from Vines of Entanglement and on the Lumbee, visit http://www.pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/vines-of-entanglement/.

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