This image is the cover for the book Living on the Borderlines

Living on the Borderlines

“Michal’s debut is thoughtful and generous, capturing the fraught experience of being Native American in the modern U.S.” —Publishers Weekly

Both on and off the rez, characters contend with identity as contemporary Haudenosaunee peoples; the stories “cross bloodlines, heart lines, and cultural lines, powerfully charting what it is to be human in a world that works to divide us” (Susan Power, author of Sacred Wilderness).

In Living on the Borderlines, intergenerational memory and trauma slip into everyday life: a teenager struggles to understand her grandmother’s silences, a man contemplates what it means to preserve tradition in the wake of the “disappearing Indian” myth, and an older woman challenges her town’s prejudice while uniting an unlikely family.

With these stories, debut writer Melissa Michal weaves together an understated and contemplative collection exploring what it means to be Indigenous.

“A beautiful window into understanding Indigenous worldviews . . . This book is an unapologetic contemporary perspective of the truth of healing through Indigenous storytelling.” —Sarah Eagle Heart, CEO of Native Americans in Philanthropy

“Enlightening and thought-provoking, Michal’s stories are a pleasure to read and absorb.” —Booklist

“Melissa Michal writes . . . with a power that will make you want to read and reread these stories.” —Brooklyn Rail

“A hauntingly beautiful collection of stories of contemporary women and girls who live in the spaces between the reservations and traditional Indigenous territories and rural and urban communities . . . a stunning achievement.” —Nikki Dragone, visiting assistant professor of Native American studies, Dickinson College

Melissa Michal

Melissa Michal is of Seneca decent. She teaches creative writing and literature and loves helping students find that they too can write. She is a fiction writer, essayist, photographer, and a professor. She has her MFA from Chatham University, MA from The Pennsylvania State University, and her PhD in literature from Arizona State University where she focuses on education and representation of Indigenous histories and literatures in curriculum. She has been grateful to read at the National American Indian Museum in DC and Amerind Museum in Dragoon. Melissa has work appearing in The Florida ReviewYellow Medicine Review, and other places. She was a finalist for the Louise Meriwether first book prize. She has a novel completed and is working on her nonfiction essay collection.

the Feminist Press at CUNY