Illustration from my tio Elicura Chihuailaf's book, Kallfv Pewma Mew, Sueño Azul/Blue Dream. The Blue house of tia Maria, the Machi (medicine woman), the home of my family in Patagonia.
With love lamngen, (sister/brother)
What’s your background?
I am bi-racial. My mother is Indigenous from the Mapuche Nation in Patagonia (born and raised) and a descendant of the Southwest (“USA”) territory, Yucatán Maya, and the Amazon. My father is Swedish/German. I was raised in Sweden by my Indigenous side of the family who are living there exiled. Half of the family is still in Patagonia and other half are living exiled all over the world. Because Indigenous families are very close-knit, my grandmother's home was my second home, she helped raise me. I was always surrounded by my aunts, uncles, and my Elders. And my father cut out most of my Swedish relatives because of the racism against my mother and me.
When did you come to the United States and why?
When I was 19 years old in 2007. It was just me and two suitcases. Because my grandmother was Southwest Native American and Mayan, I always felt like I was just coming back home. I'd been talking about this move since I was very little. Even when I didn’t understand the home of my ancestors and their story. I just knew or felt a connection to the land.
Where do you live?
Los Angeles was my home for almost 13 years but I left during the pandemic and I’m currently in Southwest Florida.
What happened to you?
It’s a long story of many traumatic events but the one that really changed everything for me was surviving domestic violence. I won’t get into it here, but I’ll say that I wake up every morning grateful to see another day. I might share this story in a podcast episode once I get it up and going.