Terra is the granddaughter of sharecroppers, with roots in Oklahoma and Colorado. She grew up in a large extended family in a banjo and fiddle tradition, rich with storytelling and music. Her essays and memoirs are infused and shaped by her Cherokee, Lenape, Seneca roots, her identity as a mixedblood, and her connection to the landscape. She came of age in Compton, California, but calls the mountains home. 
In addition to writing, she has worked as a director with American Indian Health. As a coordinator with a pediatric brain tumor organization, as a director with hospice. 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 for at-risk and foster youth in transition. In schools, and with writers and storytellers mentoring cores. 

When she’s not writing, Terra gives readings, and visits book clubs to talk about her books with the people who read them.