Cora McElwain

“My mom is an inspiration. She loves us freely, gives generously, and teaches us endlessly. She and my dad have raised three strong, slightly (very) stubborn, independent daughters and a son, who is brave and out-of-this-world intelligent.

Growing up, mom had a strong interest in gender and racial equality. This was always interesting to us because she definitely did not come from a background that would promote such social justice. Even though she did not come from this, she- by god- made sure to teach us about the injustices in our world and what we could do to help in our small ways. And, in her mind, the first step was education, which was and continues to be of the utmost importance to my parents after our happiness and safety.

From an early age, she talked, taught, and assigned us extra readings about slavery, the Civil War, reconstruction, and civil rights. She encouraged us to read about different cultures and from authors who did not look like us. If given the chance back then and to this day, she will talk to you for hours about the racial injustices in our country.

So, with all of that being said, I think my interest in the American Indian world begins with my mother’s teachings- the love of reading, the conversations we have about race and equality, and the encouragement to question how history is taught to us. Without this foundation, I don’t think I would have become interested in this amazingly complex and beautiful population years ago or reached out to the Buder Center to become more involved last semester.

So, for many, many things besides this but for today, this especially: thanks, mom (and dad, you too, but this is mom’s moment here).”