The Journey of the Freckled Indian book seeks to help children be proud of who they are and increase their confidence in their identity. The book helps to spread a message of belief and pride in yourself and your culture.
A young girl is growing up in two worlds; suburban western culture, and Native American culture. Even though her family tells her to be confident in who she is and not let anyone challenge it, she struggles to be confident in her identity. The book follows her journey as she comes to understand and make sense of her heritage and be confident in who she is.
The story is about a mixed-race Tlingit girl who grows up outside of her community but gets made fun of after a classroom show-and-tell about her culture by her classmates because she doesn’t look like their idea of an Indian. So, her parents fly her to spend the summer with her Tlingit grandfather to learn about her culture and where her family comes from. Through her adventures fishing and exploring with her grandfather, as well as some interactions with Tlingit mythological characters, she develops a connection with the land and her heritage and gains a strong sense of who she is and where she comes from.
The Journey of the Freckled Indian children’s book pushes boundaries because it engages in the conversation of what it means to be Tlingit, Alaska Native and Native American in today’s world. The concept of identity is very multi-faceted and is not necessarily defined by skin color or blood quantum, but more through family heritage and a person’s involvement in their community. This first Freckled Indian children’s book helps introduce children to the topic of identity as it pertains to who they are and where they come from, which is very important in constructing a sense of self-confidence. The book will also provide parents an opportunity to start a conversation with their children about how the outside world may not always see people for who they are, nevertheless, they must stand proud and draw that strength from inside themselves.
Alyssa London is an Alaska Native Tlingit, which is a tribe from Southeast Alaska. She also has Czech and Norwegian heritage from her mother’s side. Her mixed ancestry is why she is fascinated with cultures and the concept of identity. Journey of the Freckled Indian is Alyssa’s first published children’s book.
Monica Rickert-Bolter is a Chicago-based visual artist of Potawatomi, African American, and German descent. Monica brought the Journey of the Freckled Indian book to life as the illustrator, graphic designer, page layout designer, and copy editor. Through her talent, and dedication to the project, and ability to work collaboratively with Preston and Alyssa, the book took form.
The art of Preston Singletary, Tlingit, has become synonymous with the relationship between European glass blowing traditions and Northwest Native art. Preston contributed the Northwest Coast Formline artwork to Journey of the Freckled Indian. The imagery in the background, as well as several of the characters, came to life because of his contributions to the project. The book would not be as grounded in Tlingit culture if it were not for Preston’s willingness to contribute.
Alyssa would be more than happy to speak at your event, school, library or other venue and share the positive message of inclusion of the Journey of the Freckled Indian Book.
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