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Miranda's Book Wins IPPY Award

“Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir” (Heyday, 2013) by Deborah Miranda, professor of English, has won a gold medal for autobiography/memoir, in the family legacy category, in this year’s Independent Publisher Book Awards, or IPPYs.

In our February 2013 story about Miranda’s work, one reviewer described the book as “beautiful and devastating” and contended that it should be required reading for anyone seeking to learn about California Indian history, past and present.

As Suzanne Keen, dean of the College noted, “The book has already been widely adopted by faculty for college and university courses all over the country, but this is a notable new achievement.”

Miranda’s book is both a tribal history of California Indians and a memoir of her own family’s experiences. She is a member of the Ohlone Costanoan Esselen tribe of California Indians, also known as Mission Indians. Her book is a collage of family stories, poems, newspaper clippings, anthropological recordings, photographs, old government documents and personal reflections, as well as the occasional writings or testimony from Indians.

“American Indians get written out of American history a lot, but especially California Indians,” said Miranda. “Many people, even other Indians, think we’re all dead. I wanted to bring a voice to the California Indian community and provide a correction of our history that has mostly been presented to Americans in a mythological way. The book is also about me and my Dad, but in order to understand him I had to go way back to the beginning of what happened to the California Indians.”

The IPPY Awards, launched in 1996, are designed to bring increased recognition to the deserving but often unsung titles published by independent authors and publishers. Nearly 5,000 IPPYs have been awarded to authors and publishers around the world. It is the first awards program open exclusively to independents.