What Kind of Ancestor Do You Want to Be?
As we face an ever-more-fragmented world, What Kind of Ancestor Do You Want to Be? demands a return to the force of lineage—to spiritual, social, and ecological connections across time. It sparks a myriad of ageless-yet-urgent questions: How will I be remembered? What traditions do I want to continue? What cycles do I want to break? What new systems do I want to initiate for those yet-to-be-born? How do we endure?
Co-published by the Center for Humans and Nature and University of Chicago Press, this book interweaves essays, interviews, and poetry to bring together a thoughtful community of Indigenous and other voices—including Linda Hogan, Wendell Berry, Winona LaDuke, Vandana Shiva, Robin Kimmerer, and Wes Jackson—to explore what we want to give to our descendants. It is an offering to teachers who have come before and to those who will follow, a tool for healing our relationships with ourselves, with each other, and with our most powerful ancestors—the lands and waters that give and sustain all life.
Book cover art by Christ Belcourt, Prayers and Offerings for Genebek Ziibiing (Serpent River), 2014, acrylic on canvas. Christi Belcourt is a Michif (Métis) visual artist with a deep respect for Mother Earth. She is also known as a community based artist, environmentalist and advocate for the lands, waters and Indigenous peoples.
Contributors include: Aaron A. Abeyta, Leah Bayens, Kaylena Bray, Brian Calvert, Taiyon Coleman, Katherine Kassouf Cummings, Camille T. Dungy, Peter Forbes, Leora Gansworth, Shannon Gibney, Oscar Guttierez, John Hausdoerffer, Brooke Parry Hecht, Elizabeth Carothers Herron, Linda Hogan, Wes Jackson, Princess Daazhraii Johnson, Lyla June Johnston, Frances H. Kakugawa, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Winona LaDuke, Jack Loeffler, Lindsay Lunsford, Jamaal May, Toby McLeod, Curt Meine, Ilarion Merculieff, Kathleen Dean Moore, Melissa K. Nelson, Sean Prentiss, Enrique Salmón, Catroina Sandilands, Vandana Shiva, Caleen Sisk, Chellie Spiller, Aubrey Streit-Krug, Manea Sweeney, Gavin Van Horn, Nicola Wagenberg, Julianne Lutz Warren, Rowen White, Brooke Williams, Crystal Williams, Eryn Wise, and Rachel Wolfgramm
John Hausdoerffer is dean of the School of Environment & Sustainability at Western Colorado University. Most recently, he is coeditor of Wildness: Relations of People and Place. He lives in living in Gunnison, CO. Brooke Parry Hecht is president of the Center for Humans and Nature. Melissa K. Nelson (Anishinaabe/Métis [Turtle Mountain Chippewa]) is professor of Indigenous sustainability at Arizona State University and president of the Cultural Conservancy, a Native-led Indigenous rights organization. Most recently, she is coeditor of Traditional Ecological Knowledge: Learning from Indigenous Practices for Environmental Sustainability. Katherine Kassouf Cummings serves as managing editor at the Center for Humans and Nature and leads Questions for a Resilient Future.