Portrait by Christopher Felver
Terra Trevor is an essayist, memoirist and nonfiction writer of a diverse body of work. She values the collective experience and collaborates with other writers and is a contributing author of 10 books, including The People Who Stayed: Southeastern Indian Writing After Removal (University of Oklahoma Press) and Children of the Dragonfly: Native American Voices On Child Custody and Education (The University of Arizona Press). 

Her work and portrait is included in Tending the Fire: Native Voices and Portraits (University of New Mexico Press). Her work also has appeared in Huffington Post, Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics and Voices Confronting Pediatric Brain Tumors (Johns Hopkins University Press) and in numerous other books, magazines, anthologies, literary journals and online. 

She is the author of the memoir Pushing up the Sky, A Mother's Story and is working on a collection of stories about love and friendship within a circle of elder Native women. 

Born in 1953 to a mixed blood family of Cherokee, Delaware, Seneca and German descent, raised in California, with roots in Colorado and Oklahoma, her life was divided into two seasons; winter and camping. The home she carries within is mountains and pine trees. She is the granddaughter of sharecroppers and a banjo player and grew up in a tradition of storytelling.

Terra Trevor: The Writer on Her Work

Growing up in a family of storytellers I developed a listening habit. I also understand that the ancestors are grooming me to perform work while I’m on this earth. Writing is one of the ways I do it. 

I’ve been writing and publishing for 30-plus years. Along the way I have also worked with American Indian Health with a program offering spiritual connection and Indian doctoring for Native Americans living with AIDS. As a director with Hospice and We Can Pediatric Brain Tumor Network. As a coordinator in South Korea with a family exchange program. At a Youth Crisis Shelter for homeless teens. As a volunteer with CASA as a Court Appointed Special Advocate with at-risk and foster youth in transition. In schools and within Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers mentoring core. I have the lived experience as the mother of Korean adoptees, as the mother of a child with a brain tumor, and as a mixed blood woman and grandmother with light skin privilege. 

In my life a host of teachers have crossed my path, always showing up at the right time. For every success we have I believe it is important to remember how we got there. I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish all that I have without the steadfast guidance from teams of good people who gave their time to me, mentoring, shepherding, guiding and veering me along. I owe an extraordinary debt to all of my teachers who have taught me many wise things about writing and publishing and life. Writing is one of the ways I show respect and give thanks to my mentors. 

It’s a privilege to have readers. Thank you for being one.

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