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Robert Ornelas, New York City, Lipan Apache / Ysleta del Sur Pueblo

“A part of the soul sickness for me was being ashamed. . . . What we were being taught about Indians was so minimal and so negative.”


From: How We Go Home


Robert Ornelas, who lives in New York City, and is of the Lipan Apache / Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, is a retired substance abuse counselor. He shares how he understood and felt about being native as a child, that is ashamed and confused, how that influenced his own substance abuse struggles, and how he came to learn about and feel pride in his culture and identity, and thus understand how healing processes work. This insight led him to his substance abuse counselling work.



Sara Sinclair

Sara Sinclair is an oral historian, writer, and educator of Cree-Ojibwe and mixed settler descent. Sara teaches in the Oral History Masters Program at Columbia University. She has contributed to the Columbia Center for Oral History Research’s Covid-19 Oral History, Narrative and Memory Archive, Obama Presidency Oral History, and Robert Rauschenberg Oral History Project. She has conducted oral histories for the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and the International Labor Organization, among others. Sara is co-editor of Robert Rauschenberg: An Oral History, published with Columbia University Press in 2019.