A podcast and blog that collects the stories of people of mixed identity
I am a Tsimshian woman. I am a mom. I am so many other identities but those are what resonate with my right now. I love listening to other people stories. I like sharing those stories and that is what I am doing with my podcast and blog Mixed Identity.
Mel A., who identifies as a female Latina who is loud and a Slytherin, talks to us about experience growing up and living in the Southwest of the United States of America. My favorite part of our wonderful conversation is when she talks about being a doorstop for other people of color. A great listen.
A New Yorker first, Marisol Rosa-Shapiro is Jewish Puerto Rican woman. Her city and multiple layers of identity have shaped her; she discussed her experience with us. She shares her story of her recent visit to the Island (Puerto Rico); a visit accelerated due to to fear that the culture and essence will be lost due to climate change and a shameful response from the United States government. Great listen!
This is the last episode of 2019! I talk with Casey Wong, an Asian – Irish – German – American., who identifies as Asian American. Casey share the stories that made him, about his family, himself and the world. He discusses his name, mama (嫲嫲) paternal grandmother on his father’s side and more. He is thoughtful, eloquent and a joy to speak with.
Video of my Grandmother, Dorthy Hayward Mckinnie
This is short and not complete. I do not know where the full video has gone but you can hear her speak Sm’algyax. A great instagram account to hear more of this beautiful language is smalgyax_learners. Follow them today!
In this episode we discuss how Emma Braun has navigated being Native and White from San Diego to St. Louis. She tells us about her family planning activism and how she is actively inviting people to the table.
Extra special guest – Rihaan Puri (my 4 year old son) – talks with me about being Punjabi, Tsimshian and American. He also serenades us with one of his recordings (future rock star on our hands). I also talk about things I love – swearing – and things I hate – Thanksgiving.
This is the article I refer to in the segment on why I hate Thanksgiving. If you want to feel better about your turkey, cranberry sauce and all the fixing read the whole article. If you just want to wallow in your white guilt (we are all complicit in the system of white supremacy unless we are actively fighting against it) just listen to my podcast.
This is the author of the article’s cook book. It won the 2018 James Beard Award for Best Cookbook. It was named Best cookbook in 2017 by a lot of big news organizations (NYTs, NPR, and more). I am putting a link here to hope who ever has my name for Christmas this year see this.
Just putting this out there. I spend a lot of time talking about how I enjoy swearing. And science is with me I have it on hold at the library. I am looking forward to reading it. Maybe I will talk about it in another episode.
Trucks: Rihaan’s favorite thing about being American
Good thing we live in Seattle as there is so much construction and so many trucks.
With, “music ranging from Broadway musicals to renowned band literature, including Eliot Del Borgo’s moving setting of Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night. This will be a musical exploration of the depths of darkness with music such as Washington composer Alex Shapiro’s Lights Out and the exuberant joy of light with Frank Ticheli’s Sun Dance. This evening will also debut the RCPA Singers with a performance of John Rutter’s The Gift of Each Day.”
Every fifth episode of No Small Thing is an Enneagram episode. Above is their first one, where they talk about Type 5s. Co-host Scott Gronholz is a 5. Check it out.
I started listening to this podcast because Macie is one of the teachers at my son’s school and she seems super interesting and cool. She is. I was just chatting with her that listening to her podcast gives me this strange sense of intimacy with her, since I get to learn more about her with every episode I listen to. But I don’t know her at all. Scott took some getting use to for me but he has grown on me. I love listening to this while I am gardening, cooking or cleaning.
By the way, I now think I am a Type 8. Do not take a test. I read you should listen to other’s stories and research on your own to find your number. What this has done for me more than anything else is open my mind that not everyone thinks like me. In a lot of ways it has saved my marriage. I can communicate what I am feeling better and being more understanding of choices i would not make.
Tim just started as a teaching artist for this amazing audience program at Seattle Rep. He is finding his joy in his roots of musical theater and as a teacher. As he says on the podcast, He is a teacher first.
My mom is my fourth guest. She shares the story of how her parents – a FBI (Full Blooded Indian) Tsimshian woman from Alaska and an Iowa farmer from no-where Iowa – met. She discusses her experience as a math teacher, meeting my father (in the 6th grade), living in South Korea and more.
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Episode number 3 features my youngest brother, Aaron Biehl. He is the youngest of us all by far – about 10 years younger than the rest of the larger group. His experience as white-passing Alaska Native man is very interesting (aren’t they all). He discusses his first experience of being identified as not white, his desire for a motorcycle trip through BC to commune with our land. And much more!
I talk a little too much blood quantum (a.k.a. genocide) and how I found out that I was the wrong kind of Indian (dot versus feather – or totem pole?). In fact, I think I talk a little too much. So you get to learn more about me.
Oh man … so, I watched the Power Rangers Bootleg, as research for this post. Now all I want to do is finish this blog post and watch everything else that Adi Shankar has done, ever. If the rest of this blog seems phoned in … you know why.
I used to introduce Aaron too cool things from Metric to The Aquabats, so he could be that pretentious kid who said, “Yeah, I’ve been into that since I was 5 year old,” but it was true. I stopped being cool about 10 years ago, thank goodness I have a lit Millennial brother to keep me in the know.
This it the opposite. This is the example of a white man who struggles to write a realistic character, who is not a white man.
As Aaron mentioned, everyone of us kids read these books growing up. I stopped at book 6 or 5. They were thousands and thousands of pages and I just started getting bored waiting for the next book to come out.
These stories were Aaron’s bedtime stories. They are now my children’s.
In the 80’s my great Uncle Russel and other from the Metlakatla Indian Community went to Columbia University to record and reprint many of the stories originally recorded by William Beynon. I have had the opportunity to hold his papers in my hands, my mother and I visited the special papers collection at Columbia University. It was an amazing experience.
Beynon was an anthropologist who recorded many of the traditional ceremonies, practices and beliefs, as well as the stories and histories of the Tsimshian Nation. He was mixed too. Tsimshian (Luxgibuu of the Gitlaan and Nisga’a tribes) and Welsh.
Maybe I’ll do a research episode on him. What do you think of episodes where I report about historical mixed race people?
Villains are only villains depending on your perspective. A villain does not wake up saying, “I am looking forward to being a villain today.” Villains believe that they are doing good (maybe only for themselves, others truly believe they are making the world a better place). This book tackles this concept in a page-turner.
I read this book in 3 days. I have two small children and not a ton of time. I lost a lot of sleep while reading this book. It is so well written and engaging. I could not put it down.
Based on the Marvel comic character from X-men universe. David Haller was diagnosed with schizophrenia at a young age and has been a patient in various psychiatric hospitals. After Haller has an encounter with a fellow psychiatric patient, he is confronted with the possibility that there may be more to him than mental illness.
Paul Biehl, my younger brother, is our second guest. He identifies as Paul, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints, Native and White. Listen to his grappling with his religion and his understanding of the Tsimshian oral history and more. Paul is an avid (some might say rabid) college football fan, insurance adjuster, father and husband.
Image: My father, brother (Paul) in I on my first day of kindergarten.
David Boxely is our uncle, in the Tsimshian sense; his grandparents were cousins with my mom’s grandparents, or something like similar. My mother and Boxely grew up together on Metlakata, AK. He is an international recognized artist with Totem Poles across the country; including the American Indian Museum in DC, Disneyworld and the Microsoft campus.
Paul loves college football. LOVES football. I was really happy to share with him that football plays a big role in the recent past of Native people. This Radio Lab episode is about the history of Football at the Carlisle Indian School, which is the beginning history of football in America.
If you choose one other podcast – after MI – Radio Lab is a good choice.
Carlisle Indian School Football Team 1907, entire squad. Image from Radio Lab
Paul talked about how he balances his understanding of Tsimshian oral history and his religion. We wanted to make sure that we put the actual scripture here.
Nephiprophesied that in the last days the Lamanites would accept the gospel and become a “pure and delightsome people” (2 Ne. 30:6). Likewise, it was revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith that the Lamanites will at some future time “blossom as the rose” (D&C 49:24).
I talk about a book that discusses resources and how it affects war, hierarchy and more. I forget the name of the book. It is this book! It’s a great read. It is a look at why different cultures developed at different rates.
A lot has to do with the cultivation of food sources; the point that stuck with me was about the domestication of animals. Certain animals are more inclined to domestication, it is not that one culture was better at domestication than others – or those cultures would have domesticated some zebras by now.
FYI – image and corresponding linked are affiliated links. So if you purchase anything, I could get paid. This goes for all books.
My 4 year old son and I are reading this book. It is funny and a little beyond his grasp. We do not call farts Silent But Deadly – SBD which plays a huge role in this book. It is about a 8-9 year old that gets blamed for some SBDs at school. He decides to do his science project on making farts sweet.
Read this book. It is painful. It is sad. It is horrible that this shit is happening TODAY! Right now, not in 1760, 1860 or 1960. 2019, today! Native children are dying and no one is doing anything to protect them. Please note that this is about Canada but things are worse here in the US.
Mixed Identity’s first guest is my sister, Ruth Hallows – K’sm Lxskulgan, Women of the Cedar Mat. Ruth is a white-passing Tsimshian woman, with 4 amazing children and who is working hard on completing her degree. She has a passion for nutrition and how food can make us better and happier people. Join us as we discuss how we have juggled our own perceptions of self and the identities given to us by society.
If you do not have a toddler, or recently had one, you probably do not know Daniel Tiger – or at least his reincarnation on PBS Kids, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. But they name might be familiar to those who grew up with Mr. Rogers. Daniel Tiger is based on the puppet in Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. He like Mr. Roger’s helps kids learn to process their emotions. To be truthful, Daniel has helped me to learn to process my emotions better. Ruth and I talk about song “Having Mixed Feelings”.
Some people call it a cult. I call it, the amazing product/service that gets me to exercise on a regular basis. Some days I can dedicate two hours to myself; 45 minute bike ride (with great music), 10 minute cool down ride, 5 minute stretch and 5 minutes of meditation, followed by a shower. Other days I can only squeeze in a 15 minute ride and quick shower. But I can make time almost every day of the week! It also has a community and digital aspect that helps to keep you engaged; getting/giving high-fives from other riders in the on demand classes, getting shout-outs from instructors during live rides, monthly challenges, achievements for days or weeks in a row. All of these things make me want to get on that bike. I am at a 10 week stretch! I am almost to 75 rides!
It is an investment but at my age my health and my children are my top two investments. Plus, I figured my partner and I were paying for gym memberships. After 1 year of no gym memberships is equivalent to the price of the bike. The monthly membership fee is half the cost of one gym membership. We now exercise 4-7 times a week, with the gym memberships we were lucky to get there once a week.
PS I do not make a commission on this post. I truly dig this bike. BUT if you want to buy one mention my name and rider name #skookumjam and I will get some $$ for the overpriced peloton gear!