Ursula Pike, "An Indian Among Los Indígenas" (Heyday Books, 2021)

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The western travel narrative genre has a history long tied to voyeurism and conquest. A way to see the world—and its many unique people and places—through the eyes of mostly white and male travelers. In an increasingly globalized world, many writers are beginning to raise questions about the ethics of travel writing and its tropes, especially the way western travelers tend to characterize cultures that are unfamiliar to them. These new books challenge the conventional approach, instead asking readers to consider perspectives other than their own.

As a young native woman and member of the Karuk tribe, Ursula Pike joined the Peace Corps because she’d always dreamed of helping others. She was ecstatic to learn she would be assigned to serve in small town Kantuta, Bolivia. While at first Pike looked forward to helping the native people of Kantuta, she quickly realized they had less need for her help—and more to teach her—than she had imagined. In this thoughtful debut, An Indian Among Los Indígenas: A Native Travel Memoir, Pike examines the complicated ways we help one another, asking timely questions about how one can become of service to a community as an outsider.

Today on the New Books Network, join us as we sit down with Ursula Pike to learn more about her memoir, An Indian Among Los Indígenas, available now from Heyday Books (2021).

Zoë Bossiere is a doctoral candidate at Ohio University, where she studies and teaches creative writing and rhetoric & composition. She is the managing editor of Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction, and the co-editor of its anthology, The Best of Brevity (Rose Metal Press, 2020).

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