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An Indian Among los Indígenas: A Native Travel Memoir

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When she was twenty-five, Ursula Pike boarded a plane to Bolivia and began her two years of service in the Peace Corps. A member of the Karuk Tribe, Pike sought to make meaningful connections with Indigenous people halfway around the world. But she arrived in La Paz with trepidation as well as excitement, “knowing I followed in the footsteps of Western colonizers and missi When she was twenty-five, Ursula Pike boarded a plane to Bolivia and began her two years of service in the Peace Corps. A member of the Karuk Tribe, Pike sought to make meaningful connections with Indigenous people halfway around the world. But she arrived in La Paz with trepidation as well as excitement, “knowing I followed in the footsteps of Western colonizers and missionaries who had also claimed they were there to help.” In the following two years, as a series of dramatic episodes brought that tension to boiling point, she began to ask: what does it mean to have experienced the effects of colonialism firsthand, and yet to risk becoming a colonizing force in turn? An Indian among los Indígenas: A Native Travel Memoir, upends a canon of travel memoirs that has historically been dominated by white writers. It is a sharp, honest, and unnerving examination of the shadows that colonial history casts over even the most well-intentioned attempts at cross-cultural aid. It is also the debut of an exceptionally astute writer with a mastery of deadpan wit. It signals a shift in travel writing that is long overdue.


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When she was twenty-five, Ursula Pike boarded a plane to Bolivia and began her two years of service in the Peace Corps. A member of the Karuk Tribe, Pike sought to make meaningful connections with Indigenous people halfway around the world. But she arrived in La Paz with trepidation as well as excitement, “knowing I followed in the footsteps of Western colonizers and missi When she was twenty-five, Ursula Pike boarded a plane to Bolivia and began her two years of service in the Peace Corps. A member of the Karuk Tribe, Pike sought to make meaningful connections with Indigenous people halfway around the world. But she arrived in La Paz with trepidation as well as excitement, “knowing I followed in the footsteps of Western colonizers and missionaries who had also claimed they were there to help.” In the following two years, as a series of dramatic episodes brought that tension to boiling point, she began to ask: what does it mean to have experienced the effects of colonialism firsthand, and yet to risk becoming a colonizing force in turn? An Indian among los Indígenas: A Native Travel Memoir, upends a canon of travel memoirs that has historically been dominated by white writers. It is a sharp, honest, and unnerving examination of the shadows that colonial history casts over even the most well-intentioned attempts at cross-cultural aid. It is also the debut of an exceptionally astute writer with a mastery of deadpan wit. It signals a shift in travel writing that is long overdue.

30 review for An Indian Among los Indígenas: A Native Travel Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Danika at The Lesbrary

    I discuss this on April 6th's All the Books episode! Here are two quotations that stuck out to me: "My identity was a tailless donkey they had to pin the right kind of brown." "I was ashamed of everything that I did and said. I wished I had stayed in my room tonight and every night so as not to embarrass myself. I hated feeling that way. Yet I also loved the world and people. I didn’t know how to be in the world and not feel ashamed." I discuss this on April 6th's All the Books episode! Here are two quotations that stuck out to me: "My identity was a tailless donkey they had to pin the right kind of brown." "I was ashamed of everything that I did and said. I wished I had stayed in my room tonight and every night so as not to embarrass myself. I hated feeling that way. Yet I also loved the world and people. I didn’t know how to be in the world and not feel ashamed."

  2. 5 out of 5

    gwayle

    As far as perspectives go, this one is unique: A middle-aged Native American woman looks back on her trip to Bolivia in her mid-twenties as part of the Peace Corps. Her experience was always going to be different from those of her white peers: she goes into it eyes wide open, already weighing her criticisms of the Peace Corps' colonialist cultural condescension against her very American desire to empower third-world communities. She is surprised to learn, however, that in Bolivians' eyes her bro As far as perspectives go, this one is unique: A middle-aged Native American woman looks back on her trip to Bolivia in her mid-twenties as part of the Peace Corps. Her experience was always going to be different from those of her white peers: she goes into it eyes wide open, already weighing her criticisms of the Peace Corps' colonialist cultural condescension against her very American desire to empower third-world communities. She is surprised to learn, however, that in Bolivians' eyes her brown skin and Native roots are invisible in the face of her privileged Americanness. Herself a bit lost—depressed, insecure—she comes to realize that she is perhaps more helped by than helpful to the Bolivian people, indigenous woman in particular, she meets. I loved learning more about Bolivia through such a self-aware and sensitive cultural lens. This memoir is subtle and earnest and honest—to the point of unflattering in places when the author shares a few questionable decisions that might have been cut from the story by a less honest chronicler. For me, however, they underscored the author's vulnerability and, perhaps ironically, increased her credibility. I honor her courage in laying bare the details of this confusing, lonely, complicated, and life-changing experience. And as a reader I found this story and perspective thought-provoking and valuable.

  3. 4 out of 5

    KKEC Reads

    Published: April 6, 2021 Heyday I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Ursula Pike is a graduate of the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Her work won the 2019 Writers’ League of Texas Manuscript Contest in the memoir category, and her writing has appeared in Yellow Medicine Review, World Literature Today, and Ligeia Magazine. She has an MA in economics with a focus on community economic development and was a Peace Corps fellow at Western Illinois Univ Published: April 6, 2021 Heyday I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Ursula Pike is a graduate of the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Her work won the 2019 Writers’ League of Texas Manuscript Contest in the memoir category, and her writing has appeared in Yellow Medicine Review, World Literature Today, and Ligeia Magazine. She has an MA in economics with a focus on community economic development and was a Peace Corps fellow at Western Illinois University. She served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Bolivia from 1994 to 1996. An enrolled member of the Karuk Tribe, she was born in California and grew up in Daly City, California, and Portland, Oregon. She currently lives in Austin, Texas. “But I didn’t realize that helping people is difficult.” Ursula Pike joined the Peace Corps wanting to make a difference. She wanted to find a way to do some good in the world. She wanted to find value in being a Native woman, and she wanted to connect with other Native people. This memoir is about the journey Ursula had while in Bolivia. It is beautiful, heartbreaking, life-changing, and raw. The absolute vulnerable truths Ursula shares are so beautifully written. Her time in Bolivia is filled with many adventures. The lessons learned were so incredibly vast and deep. And her time there changed her. It changed how she thought, how she saw things, how she felt about things. And mostly, it changed how she saw and felt about herself. This is such a beautiful story about a young Native woman discovering the absolute beauty in her skin. Her culture. Her people. And her place in the world. I love that Ursula has kept in touch with some of the friends she made while in Bolivia. And I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to share this journey with her. Everything about this book is worthwhile. Prepare yourself; you’re about to take an emotional journey. The growth, the lessons, and the absolute love contained in these pages is pure magic.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Boucher

    This book was a gift from a friend who visited me during my three years of living and teaching in Bolivia. I was excited to read it since I had written a novel based on my friendship with three Peace Corps volunteers while we all served there. An Indian among los Indigenas is beautifully packaged. I love the photo on the cover. I love the endpaper photos. But sadly, I didn't love the book. A memoir, it follows the two-year stint of the author in a small town in central Bolivia. Like many PCVs sh This book was a gift from a friend who visited me during my three years of living and teaching in Bolivia. I was excited to read it since I had written a novel based on my friendship with three Peace Corps volunteers while we all served there. An Indian among los Indigenas is beautifully packaged. I love the photo on the cover. I love the endpaper photos. But sadly, I didn't love the book. A memoir, it follows the two-year stint of the author in a small town in central Bolivia. Like many PCVs she struggles with what her project will be. The added layer of interest should be that the author is Native American, and yet that gets lost as she blunders into an affair with an indigenous married man whose wife is pregnant. I like stories that have an arc, preferably one of redemption, and this one doesn't. I like stories told by people whose voices haven't been heard. I doubt many Native Americans have served in the Peace Corps, so I was interested in the author's experiences. Unfortunately, this story focuses on her affair, drinking, loneliness, and feelings of low self-worth. That is why I gave this memoir a low rating and will not be passing it on to my PCV friends who served in Bolivia.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Henry

    I happened to come across this book's cover with a Bolivian woman in traditional dress. This was very familiar to me because of living in the Andes for nearly eight years. This is a memoir, alright, and Ms. Pike tells of her struggle to feel adequate to the task of serving other native people in their culture. She is an American native and somehow expects to be welcomed by the indigenas folks as one of their own. That premise is even in the book's title. I remember people from wealthy countries w I happened to come across this book's cover with a Bolivian woman in traditional dress. This was very familiar to me because of living in the Andes for nearly eight years. This is a memoir, alright, and Ms. Pike tells of her struggle to feel adequate to the task of serving other native people in their culture. She is an American native and somehow expects to be welcomed by the indigenas folks as one of their own. That premise is even in the book's title. I remember people from wealthy countries who came to Bolivia wearing dirty and torn clothing. The Bolivians saw right through the fake inculturation with comments like, "I wish I had the dollars that were stuffed in those pockets of those ripped jeans". What was Ms. Pike thinking? She was a protected citizen of the USA gifted with the abundance of American life. The Peace Corps sufficiently supported her with health care and a monthly stipend that surpasses anything a working Bolivian family would ever know. She could never be accepted as "one of them". I was impressed how the author detailed her self doubt and even the purpose of her assignment. She told of living in another culture where customs, history and language are so "foreign". For others like her, they find how this leads to soul-searching; it is a natural progression. One often asks, "Why am I here?" "Couldn't they have sent someone better at this?" The sending agency is the Peace Corps. The author brings up how "her people" in the American West continue to be oppressed by government agencies in the US. She doesn't acknowledge that she herself was then part of the US Government working with native people. And at this, Ms. Pike fails miserably. Maybe the Peace Corps didn't explain the mission well. Ms. obsessed over whether her economic project at the orphanage was really significant. Whatever small contribution Ms Pike would make to the economy of this very poor country was not the purpose of a brief 2-year stay. On the contrary, the point is to live among Bolivian people to witness the best of our north american country, to bond with Bolivian families and to ingest the enduring values rooted in another culture. The most disturbing part of her revealing memoir was Ms. Pike's affair with a married man. She recognized how she was betraying her neighbor. She was willing to carry on even if it meant she would be content to be a home wrecker at the end of her two-year stay. Frankly, I was dismayed at the accounts she gave of the other volunteers' sexual coupling with Bolivians. Weren't they aware that they would be lonely and have to deal with it? Wasn't that part of being overseas and away from home? Were they not dedicating themselves to living honorably among those they were serving? In some instances, the story read like Animal House. Ursula Pike gets high marks for candor. She also details the inner questioning that makes a volunteer so vulnerable in a place so away from life in the States. Best to have dropped the Indian to Indian mystique that never happened. As years have passed, I hope she can see the betrayal of her ideals. Maybe she won't be so critical the failures government serving native populations in the US because her own human failures that so stained when she was called to serve.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Geoffrey

    There was so much to be enjoyed in this memoir that I enthusiastically consumed within the span of two days. I greatly admired the complete raw honesty with which Pike recounts her two years in Bolivia, and her willingness to share the lowest of low moments and deepest embarrassments along with all her other memories. I was also thankful for being made aware of just how little I knew about Bolivia and its majority indigenous population while simultaneously having that knowledge gap be rapidly fi There was so much to be enjoyed in this memoir that I enthusiastically consumed within the span of two days. I greatly admired the complete raw honesty with which Pike recounts her two years in Bolivia, and her willingness to share the lowest of low moments and deepest embarrassments along with all her other memories. I was also thankful for being made aware of just how little I knew about Bolivia and its majority indigenous population while simultaneously having that knowledge gap be rapidly filled by a decent abundance of information that provided a newfound base of understanding. However, what I think I appreciated most of all was just how as someone who likewise lived and worked two years abroad in another country, I was able to identify with Pike a surprising amount. Of course, there are many differences between the two of us and our respectively experiences that differ immensely, including and not at all limited to 1.) the specific land and culture that I was immersed in, 2.) the kind of program that placed me there, 3.) the kind of work performed thousands of miles from my home, and of course 4.) my own lifelong personal context that I inhabited before transplanting myself abroad (middle class white kid from New England to make a long story short). But even with these dissimilarities, I still found myself spoken to while reading about the author's time abroad. I was reminded of my own embarrassments and clumsy adjustments that were absolutely unavoidable despite my best efforts. I also was able to recall how I needed to repeatedly learn and re-learn need for humility and local connections. Also, last but not least I remember the plenty of times spent painfully trying to figure out what "success" from my then-ongoing experiences were even supposed to look like, and very frequently wrestling on an existential level what I was even doing on the other side of the planet in the very first place - whether I was there for good reasons, entirely selfish reasons, or a more complex answer that I hadn't figured out yet. This is a definite recommend - especially if you did any kind of "service"(a word I am defining a bit broadly here) abroad for any amount of time. For as Pike has showed me in these pages, it seems there are quite a few core aspects of these experiences that are a lot more widely shared than many of us may realize.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nikmaack

    Remember when you were in your 20s and did stupid things and were naive and lost and confused? But you were also overly confident and wild and drank too much and made bad choices? This book perfectly captures those feelings and that time of life. It also describes what it means to join the Peace Corps and travel to another country, with all the baggage of thinking you're going to "save" people with what you know. And what you know, really, isn't much. I am obsessed with Bolivia. For this reason, Remember when you were in your 20s and did stupid things and were naive and lost and confused? But you were also overly confident and wild and drank too much and made bad choices? This book perfectly captures those feelings and that time of life. It also describes what it means to join the Peace Corps and travel to another country, with all the baggage of thinking you're going to "save" people with what you know. And what you know, really, isn't much. I am obsessed with Bolivia. For this reason, I follow a lot of Bolivian people and news sources on Twitter. As soon as this book came up in a tweet, I knew I had to read it. What a fascinating take on Bolivia and Bolivian culture. A native American (the author) joins the Peace Corps and travels to Bolivia to work with the indigenous people there in the 90s. Her perspective is sincere, brutally honest, and clearly written. It was a pleasure to read it. I found the author on Twitter and followed her. I look forward to telling her how much I loved her book. Obviously, I highly eecommend this book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Michael Frost

    Really enjoyed this, & think others will too. I think what stood out the most to me was the humbleness & self-awareness-- I found I really enjoyed & could relate to somebody just trying to figure out what the hell they were doing in a foreign place, as opposed to, say, someone jaunting over, building a bunch of new schools... & ending up being full of poop in the end. There are enough Avatar-like books about white people saving the "3rd World" & pretending to learn something from it. This is not Really enjoyed this, & think others will too. I think what stood out the most to me was the humbleness & self-awareness-- I found I really enjoyed & could relate to somebody just trying to figure out what the hell they were doing in a foreign place, as opposed to, say, someone jaunting over, building a bunch of new schools... & ending up being full of poop in the end. There are enough Avatar-like books about white people saving the "3rd World" & pretending to learn something from it. This is not that, and that is a good thing. I also enjoyed/appreciated the insight into the complexity of Pike's "Native Americanness"... similar to the characters in "There There," it paints a picture of an American & an Indian "off the reservation" that some (non-native) people are unable or unwilling to see. This will help open your eyes, as it did mine

  9. 4 out of 5

    Charlott

    3,5

  10. 5 out of 5

    Randa Larsen

    a valuable book about an Indigenous woman’s experience in the peace corps. important for me on a personal level, and also important as it opens up opportunities for BIPOC to write and publish their experiences with the organization (this is Pike’s hope as she says in the final pages of the book).

  11. 5 out of 5

    Pai Siri Pal

    I’m giving 4 stars because I thought her writing was good and it was a decent story. Having been a PCV myself, I identified with many things, but what I didn’t like was that she hadn’t a clue how to mobilize a community. She thought she had to save them vs strengthen any skills. She didn’t reach to even think of small projects that could’ve been very successful. And selfishly, she shamed herself by having an affair with a married man, drank way to much, and really, didn’t show a great example li I’m giving 4 stars because I thought her writing was good and it was a decent story. Having been a PCV myself, I identified with many things, but what I didn’t like was that she hadn’t a clue how to mobilize a community. She thought she had to save them vs strengthen any skills. She didn’t reach to even think of small projects that could’ve been very successful. And selfishly, she shamed herself by having an affair with a married man, drank way to much, and really, didn’t show a great example like a PCV should in many ways. If you give a little, most in a small community will love you, which is what she did.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Emile

    I grabbed this because I was interested in the author's more complicated & critical take on the peace corps experience, especially since I grew up in the same general area as them (Northern California and Oregon), as did my dad who also joined the peace corp in roughly the same time period. Fascinating read. I grabbed this because I was interested in the author's more complicated & critical take on the peace corps experience, especially since I grew up in the same general area as them (Northern California and Oregon), as did my dad who also joined the peace corp in roughly the same time period. Fascinating read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    (i don't usually try to list trigger / content warnings for books because i don't try to remember a comprehensive list while reading, but i would like to note that this one includes a detailed depiction of a suicide attempt!) The whole experience of an American going abroad, expecting one thing but finding another, is familiar ground - but this book feels very different in terms of what the expectation and the things found are. I really appreciate Pike's decision to include a lot of bad decisions (i don't usually try to list trigger / content warnings for books because i don't try to remember a comprehensive list while reading, but i would like to note that this one includes a detailed depiction of a suicide attempt!) The whole experience of an American going abroad, expecting one thing but finding another, is familiar ground - but this book feels very different in terms of what the expectation and the things found are. I really appreciate Pike's decision to include a lot of bad decisions and despairing feelings and not edit them out; you really feel the isolation and low self worth of being far from your people and thinking you should be Making A Difference even though you're really just trying to keep your clothes clean and get through the exhaustion of speaking your second or third language all day. Her observations of cultural similarities and differences in how indigenous people navigate a colonized world are interspersed with stories of getting drunk and crushing on the wrong guy, and she turns as much anthropological scrutiny on the other peace corps volunteers as on the locals. It's not exactly a critique of the Peace Corps, or a straight travelogue, but a story about humans living and working together that falls somewhere in the middle.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    After reading the first chapter, I wasn’t going to finish this book. The author seemed irredeemably naïve and self-absorbed. The following chapters were hardly any better. Pike agonized over her insecurities and simple interactions with locals. A lot of time was spent in the author’s head and little time was spent chronicling her required volunteer duties. I was disappointed. Wasn’t she there to serve the people? Around halfway through, I softened to this woman’s story. Pike is unabashedly candid After reading the first chapter, I wasn’t going to finish this book. The author seemed irredeemably naïve and self-absorbed. The following chapters were hardly any better. Pike agonized over her insecurities and simple interactions with locals. A lot of time was spent in the author’s head and little time was spent chronicling her required volunteer duties. I was disappointed. Wasn’t she there to serve the people? Around halfway through, I softened to this woman’s story. Pike is unabashedly candid here. She is in fact not naïve, but very self-aware. Even though she executes some incredibly bad choices, she is not ignorant of her motivations, and she never rationalizes or minimizes the impact of her actions. It turns out that An Indian among Los Indigenas isn’t a physical journey, but an emotional one. Throughout, Pike examines the issues of exploitation, cultural appropriation, cultural and racial bias/fetishization, economic privilege, and acculturation. Additionally, Pike acknowledges her role in perpetuating some of these indignities onto her Bolivian friends. This admission took a great deal of courage and insight. In the end, I am pleased to have read this memoir. Although the stories revealed about the volunteers don’t inspire much confidence in Peace Corps!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Punkelevenn

    Finished this book in a couple of days. I hadn't heard of this book before stumbling on it in a bookstore; the bright cover drew me in, as well as the description. This perspective is rare, and I was interested in the nuances of identity and experience the author promised to present. Like the author says, I'm interested in seeing other reports by POC in the Peace Corps; I'm sure many come to similar conclusions (i.e. the 'giver' gains much more than the 'receiver'). Another review I skirted over Finished this book in a couple of days. I hadn't heard of this book before stumbling on it in a bookstore; the bright cover drew me in, as well as the description. This perspective is rare, and I was interested in the nuances of identity and experience the author promised to present. Like the author says, I'm interested in seeing other reports by POC in the Peace Corps; I'm sure many come to similar conclusions (i.e. the 'giver' gains much more than the 'receiver'). Another review I skirted over before finishing the book complained the narrative dove too much into the author's affair. I agree; toward the second half, if began to read more like a romance novel, and I lost some interest. But this is a memoir, and clearly the author wanted to sort some things out through writing it. I think this should be required reading for anyone looking to join the Peace Corps. As a general read, it was interesting and engaging, and short enough to read quickly.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sean Rose

    I lived and worked for 8 years in developing nations, including two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Africa. In her autobiography, Pike illustrates well the emotional and professional challenges presented by the unique Peace Corps experience, which is typified by maximum cultural exchange with limited funding - compared to other development agencies with salaried professionals that have far less cultural exchange, such as experienced in long-term housing, daily shopping, etc. Pike's challenges I lived and worked for 8 years in developing nations, including two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Africa. In her autobiography, Pike illustrates well the emotional and professional challenges presented by the unique Peace Corps experience, which is typified by maximum cultural exchange with limited funding - compared to other development agencies with salaried professionals that have far less cultural exchange, such as experienced in long-term housing, daily shopping, etc. Pike's challenges are made more unique as she struggles to connect with the Indigenous people of Bolivia through her own experience as a Native American. I'd recommend this book not only to any aspiring or returned Peace Corps volunteer, but also to adventure travelers, development workers, and minorities who wonder what it might be like to live and work in a land where you are no longer a minority

  17. 4 out of 5

    CB

    Even though the title of this book hinted that the story would revolve around race issues, I felt the main topic of the book was rather an honest account of the universal struggle to find a purpose in life, the need to fit in and be useful. I could relate to that, I assume everyone does. I cringed, of course, on the poor choices Ursula made (heavy drinking, an affaire with a married man with two children and another one on the way), but I like the fact that she could look at herself objectively Even though the title of this book hinted that the story would revolve around race issues, I felt the main topic of the book was rather an honest account of the universal struggle to find a purpose in life, the need to fit in and be useful. I could relate to that, I assume everyone does. I cringed, of course, on the poor choices Ursula made (heavy drinking, an affaire with a married man with two children and another one on the way), but I like the fact that she could look at herself objectively and honestly.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Janilyn Kocher

    An interesting look at the author's stint in the Peace Corps in Bolivia. Pike was searching for herself more than anything. She believed she could bring something to the indigenous people, but instead found they gave her so much more. I didn't agree with some of her actions nor things she wrote, but the lives of the people she interested with were fascinating. Thanks to Edelweiss and Heydey Books for the early read. An interesting look at the author's stint in the Peace Corps in Bolivia. Pike was searching for herself more than anything. She believed she could bring something to the indigenous people, but instead found they gave her so much more. I didn't agree with some of her actions nor things she wrote, but the lives of the people she interested with were fascinating. Thanks to Edelweiss and Heydey Books for the early read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Angelica

    I enjoyed this book. I really appreciate the honesty of the author and her experience. It was well written and incredibly thoughtful. I like how at the end the author said she would like to read about more Black and Brown peace corps volunteers’ experience and that was largely why she decided to write the book. I’m very grateful she wrote this, it felt like a story that needed to be told.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    This was a quick and interesting read about one woman's experiences in the Peace Corps in the 1990s. As an indigenous North American, Pike came to her volunteer service with a different point of view than some of her white American colleagues. She wanted to connect deeply with her host community and be part of a project that truly helped them. The author did not shy away from the complicated relationship that the Peace Corps and its volunteers have with host communities. She is honest about the d This was a quick and interesting read about one woman's experiences in the Peace Corps in the 1990s. As an indigenous North American, Pike came to her volunteer service with a different point of view than some of her white American colleagues. She wanted to connect deeply with her host community and be part of a project that truly helped them. The author did not shy away from the complicated relationship that the Peace Corps and its volunteers have with host communities. She is honest about the difficulties of being outside of one's own culture for two years, how lonely it is, how much energy it takes to live daily in a second language in which you're not fluent, and how wonderful it is to truly connect with friends. I agree with some readers who felt like Pike gave over too much of the book to her affair with a married man. I would have like to hear more about the projects she worked on and how her Peace Corps experience affected her life going forward.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

    I really enjoyed the narrative of this book. Pike shares valuable insight to the Pease Corps experiences and corporate expectations. I also appreciate that she changed the name of her village and of important characters, to maintain their autonomy.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    I couldn't begin to put into words the uncertainty, embarrassment, and moral befuddlement that underscored my experience each and every day, but Pike did. Her completely honest story is the first account I've read that resonates so clearly. Amazing! I couldn't begin to put into words the uncertainty, embarrassment, and moral befuddlement that underscored my experience each and every day, but Pike did. Her completely honest story is the first account I've read that resonates so clearly. Amazing!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Florence Clark

    I really enjoyed this book 4.4 stars

  24. 5 out of 5

    Julia Williamson

    new perspectives A lovely interweaving of a personal story, identity issues and the role of development in Bolivia. A quick read, thoroughly enjoyable.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Shonah Burns

    “Education and economic empowerment were available to Lena [an Indigenous girl] but the only way to achieve them was to leave behind her culture… having to choose between development or culture was a choice someone outside the culture had thought up. A choice that someone who didn’t have to leave her culture to thrive would present. Stick ‘em up- your culture or your future.” The concept of An Indian Among Los Indigenas is fantastic- what it’s like to be an Indigenous person who volunteers to hel “Education and economic empowerment were available to Lena [an Indigenous girl] but the only way to achieve them was to leave behind her culture… having to choose between development or culture was a choice someone outside the culture had thought up. A choice that someone who didn’t have to leave her culture to thrive would present. Stick ‘em up- your culture or your future.” The concept of An Indian Among Los Indigenas is fantastic- what it’s like to be an Indigenous person who volunteers to help out another group of Indigenous peoples. I highlighted passage after passage. This book made me think hard about what it means to be Indigenous. It made me dig deep into the intentions behind helping others. I have come to the conclusion that there’s a great difference between saving and supporting. “The real beneficiaries of service work were the service workers themselves” Though the idea behind the memoir is compelling and the story is enjoyable, I wasn’t satisfied by it as a whole. I found it hard to respect the thoughts and actions of the narrator. She seems very self-absorbed and self-righteous. (Though it also seems that she intended to only show this side of herself, maybe to align with the purpose of the book.) But I appreciate multi-faceted characters. I wish we could’ve seen more into her honest thoughts and feelings and what was going on in her life. Also, without giving any spoilers, I’ll say there were many seemingly significant events that were either glazed over or alluded to later. It’s as if she experienced a whole different journey than the one she took us on. This is also due to a lack of narrated thoughts and feelings. Overall, the story just didn’t seem fully developed. Or rather, the objective of telling this story overshadowed the actual story itself.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jasmine Celeste

    I really, really wish this book had a huge trigger warning somewhere either on the cover or on one of the pages preceding the story or both. For anyone interested in this book, there is a scene in the second half where the narrator attempts to commit suicide by cutting. It lasts a few pages, and I really wish someone told me that because it was a bit triggering for me to say the least. Other than that, the writing style was simple and easy to read, but the narrative was very slow and just made me I really, really wish this book had a huge trigger warning somewhere either on the cover or on one of the pages preceding the story or both. For anyone interested in this book, there is a scene in the second half where the narrator attempts to commit suicide by cutting. It lasts a few pages, and I really wish someone told me that because it was a bit triggering for me to say the least. Other than that, the writing style was simple and easy to read, but the narrative was very slow and just made me sad sometimes. As a POC who can somewhat relate to certain nuances in her struggle as an indigenous women trying to connect with the indigenous in Bolivia, her story was interesting and very important to hear. However the narrative felt really slow and it took me a long time to finish. At the end of the day, I’m glad I read it, but I was sad the whole time because her experience was also sad. There are definitely some thought provoking themes about capitalism, imperialism, racism, colorism, gender equity, and white-saviorism that are really great to pull out and use as an awesome starter for engaging young people. I would use this book as a tool for conversation starters and taking a deep dive into these with youth, but as for the narrative, eh.

  27. 4 out of 5

    emily

  28. 4 out of 5

    Christine

  29. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

  30. 5 out of 5

    Carmen

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