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NPR: Author learned his father wasn't convicted Indian activist

Filed Under: Arts & Entertainment
More on: books, brando skyhorse, race

Author Brando Skyhorse was told his father was Paul Skyhorse Johnson, an imprisoned Indian activist. He discovers that isn't the truth and writes about it in Take This Man: A Memoir:
On why his mother felt the need to abandon her Mexican identity

I wish I could have gotten around to asking her. She probably would have given two completely different answers and meant them both. I think a part of her would have said, "Well, you know, I relate more with American Indian Culture." ... Everything about it really appealed to her on a basic and primal level.

And [second,] I think that the idea that she'd been abandoned by a Mexican man really wounded her, and really wounded her pride. I think it confirmed a lot of the negative stereotypes she probably had about what it means to be Mexican in a place like Echo Park, Los Angeles. I think she felt that maybe being Mexican was limiting for her, that no one would be interested in her or her stories if she simply said, "Oh, I'm just a simple Mexican girl from Echo Park, California." ...

And that's another one of those sad ironies, because my mother was so mesmerizing, such a wonderful and charming personality, that she didn't need to invent anything. People would have gravitated toward her regardless.

Get the Story:
'Take This Man': Uncovering A Mother's Reinventions (NPR 6/7)

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