Identity & The Stories We Share

photo (33)In early November our faculty came together to share personal identity stories and discuss the New York Times bestselling novel, Citizens Creek, with the author, Lalita Tademy. This professional development day provided a reflective space to explore the narratives inherent in history and our selves.

Setting the tone for the day was Choctaw Native American Ambassador, Sarah de Herrera. Ms. de Herrera sang the National Anthem in Choctaw and shared her work preserving Native American culture and traditions both in California and nationally.  Ms. de Herrera spoke eloquently about her personal path to discovering and learning more about her Choctaw roots.

Later in the morning Ms. Tademy provided a wonderful window into how she constructed her novel, sharing details about the creative process.  She also spoke about her journey as a writer, delving into her own family’s African-American and Native American roots.

Fully inspired, Hamlin faculty then met both in larger and smaller groups to discuss nuances of the novel and share aspects their own family histories.  What ensued was powerful.  Colleagues spoke about alienated family members and hidden stories, addressing topics including race, religion, economic hardship, and geographic and generational diversity.

Spanish teacher and Hamlin parent Christina Kane had this to say:

“The novel Citizens Creek served as a great catalyst for faculty members to generate powerful questions to ask both their students and themselves. Literature works beautifully as a platform to discuss issues of global citizenship.”

For more information about Lalita Tademy please visit:

For information about Sarah de Herrera’s work please visit:


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