A Mind Spread Out on the Ground

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Melville House, Aug 4, 2020 - Biography & Autobiography - 256 pages
"In her raw, unflinching memoir . . . she tells the impassioned, wrenching story of the mental health crisis within her own family and community . . . A searing cry." —New York Times Book Review

The Mohawk phrase for depression can be roughly translated to "a mind spread out on the ground." In this urgent and visceral work, Alicia Elliott explores how apt a description that is for the ongoing effects of personal, intergenerational, and colonial traumas she and so many Native people have experienced.

Elliott's deeply personal writing details a life spent between Indigenous and white communities, a divide reflected in her own family, and engages with such wide-ranging topics as race, parenthood, love, art, mental illness, poverty, sexual assault, gentrification, and representation. Throughout, she makes thrilling connections both large and small between the past and present, the personal and political.

A national bestseller in Canada, this updated and expanded American edition helps us better understand legacy, oppression, and racism throughout North America, and offers us a profound new way to decolonize our minds.

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User Review  - SamSattler - LibraryThing

Maybe I expected too much from Alicia Elliott’s memoir A Mind Spread Out on the Ground. Maybe it’s my fault that I found the book so frustrating and, in the end, more confusing than enlightening. I ... Read full review

Selected pages


A Mind Spread Out on the Ground
A Racial Biography in Five Parts
On Seeing and Being Seen
The Same Space
Grams per Dose
Boundaries like Bruises
Reflecting on In Platos Cave in 2018

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About the author (2020)

Alicia Elliott's writing has been published in The Washington Post, The Globe and Mail, Vice, and The Best American Short Stories 2018, among others. She has been shortlisted for the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction. Born in Buffalo, NY and raised between there and Ohio, she now lives in Brantford, Ontario with her husband and child.

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