We Are the Middle of Forever

Indigenous Voices from Turtle Island on the Changing Earth

A powerful, intimate collection of conversations with Indigenous Americans on the climate crisis and the Earth’s future

“Mankind has a chance to change the direction of this movement, do a roundabout turn, and move in the direction of peace, harmony, and respect for land and life. The time is right now. Later will be too late.” —Hopi elder Thomas Banyacya, from the introduction

Although for a great many people, the human impact on the Earth—countless species becoming extinct, pandemics claiming millions of lives, and climate crisis causing worldwide social and environmental upheaval—was not apparent until recently, this is not the case for all people or cultures. For the Indigenous people of the world, radical alteration of the planet, and of life itself, is a story that is many generations long. They have had to adapt, to persevere, and to be courageous and resourceful in the face of genocide and destruction—and their experience has given them a unique understanding of civilizational devastation.

An innovative work of research and reportage, We Are the Middle of Forever places Indigenous voices at the center of conversations about today’s environmental crisis. The book draws on interviews with people from different North American Indigenous cultures and communities, generations, and geographic regions, who share their knowledge and experience, their questions, their observations, and their dreams of maintaining the best relationship possible to all of life. A welcome antidote to the despair arising from the climate crisis, We Are the Middle of Forever brings to the forefront the perspectives of those who have long been attuned to climate change and will be an indispensable aid to those looking for new and different ideas and responses to the challenges we face.

Praise

We Are the Middle of Forever does something incredible with time: it covers millennia of Indigenous history, grounded in conversations across the arc of the pandemic, all while giving the broadest platform for intellectuals whose visionary work today makes them ambassadors from the future. This is a book whose reading is medicine, a beautiful invitation to a more sacred world in the company of some of the brightest stars of contemporary Indigenous activism.”
—Raj Patel, co-author (with Rupa Marya) of Inflamed: Deep Medicine and the Anatomy of Injustice
“A timely and necessary volume that includes the perspectives and honesty of seasoned thinkers and powerful new voices. We Are the Middle of Forever is, at its core, a call to stop, listen closely, and think and act with humility when it comes to identifying and applying Native-sourced wisdom and solutions to the problems facing humanity.”
—Tsim D. Schneider, citizen of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, assistant professor of anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and author of The Archaeology of Refuge and Recourse
“These testimonies are exact, explicit, essential, clearly from the heart, articulate in their ways. When we finish reading and incorporating each word, we will know how to live. The path we are each called to walk will be clear.”
—Deena Metzger, author of A Rain of Night Birds
“Insights like these, and dozens more, deserve deep attention and will hopefully spur readers into action to save the planet and themselves.”
Booklist (starred review)
“A refreshingly unique and incredibly informative collection of vital Indigenous wisdom.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Twenty heartfelt Indigenous reflections invite us to contemplate relationships and reciprocity, kinship and connection, responsibilities, and obligations. They encourage us to challenge our own colonial assumptions in the hopes that we can ‘find the tools we need to fix what we’ve broken’ while we still can.”
—Martin Rizzo-Martinez, author of We Are Not Animals: Indigenous Politics of Survival, Rebellion, and Reconstitution in Nineteenth-Century California
“This book proves what many already know to be true, but which many more need to hear: Indigenous people are the heroes of the climate justice movement. The contributors to We Are the Middle of Forever ask us to join them in a march towards a future that has been prophesized—a glittering future of abundance, cooperation, and peace. Whether or not we follow their vision will determine the fate of all.”
—Melanie Yazzie, co-author of The Red Deal: Indigenous Action to Save Our Earth

News and Reviews

Lit Hub

Read an excerpt from We Are the Middle of Forever in Lit Hub.

Kirkus Reviews

Read a starred review of We Are the Middle of Forever in Kirkus Reviews.

Goodreads Reviews