Malinda Maynor Lowery is a Lumbee Indian whose family goes back more than 10 generations in Robeson County. Lowery was born in Lumberton, N.C. but raised in Durham, where from an early age, she often fielded the question, "what are you?" Although she grew up in a family with a strong sense of Native identity, this question stayed with her much of her life, and eventually became the subject of much of her academic and documentary work.
Lowery earned a masters in documentary film from Stanford University and worked on three films exploring questions about what constitutes a so-called "real Indian," and who gets to decide. She went on to earn a PhD in History from UNC-Chapel Hill, and came back to work there as a faculty member in 2009.
In her tenure at UNC, she has continued to explore Lumbee history and Native identity, published the book "Lumbee Indians in the Jim Crow South," (UNC Press/2010) and directed the Southern Oral History Program. Host Frank Stasio spoke with Malinda Maynor Lowery in 2016 about her family history, documentary work, and being Lumbee in North Carolina. This conversation stands out to him because of "the way it explores the complexity of Native identity in a land where white supremacy has acted to erase or distort indigenous stories."
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