Article Club
Article Club
It’s January! Let’s read and discuss “Good Mother,” by Sierra Crane Murdoch

It’s January! Let’s read and discuss “Good Mother,” by Sierra Crane Murdoch

Please sign up for our free discussion on Sunday, January 30
Photograph of Lissa Yellow Bird © Kristina Barker

And we’re back! Welcome everyone to the third year of Article Club. I’m really happy that you’re here, and I encourage you to join this month’s discussion.

That’s because this month’s article is awesome. I’m pleased to announce that we’ll be reading “Good Mother,” by Sierra Crane Murdoch. It was one of my favorite articles last year.

Here’s the blurb I wrote about it for The Highlighter:

Lissa Yellow Bird wants to become a foster parent. But the county social services department in North Dakota isn’t so sure. So they send a questionnaire to journalist Sierra Crane Murdoch, asking for her thoughts.

In this touching, beautifully written essay, Ms. Murdoch reflects on what it means to be a good mother in the shadow of colonization. She traces how the United States government decimated American Indian motherhood by separating families, forcing children to attend boarding schools, and sterilizing women – all the way until the mid-1970s.

And here’s an excerpt from the piece:

Mothering was the only conceivable role in society for a Native woman, and yet motherhood was at odds with indigeneity. To become a citizen, a woman had to become a mother; to become a mother, she had to become less Indian. In the Yellow Bird family, the antidote to intergenerational trauma is intergenerational love, the piling on of relatives. When a mother falls short, the solution is not to take the child away from the mother, but to give the child more mothers and fathers.

Sierra Crane Murdoch is a journalist and essayist whose work concerns, primarily, communities in the American West. Her book, Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman's Search for Justice in Indian Country, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Named one of the best books of 2020 by The New York Times, NPR, and Publisher’s Weekly, it was also nominated for the Edgar Award, won an Oregon Book Award, and is being developed as a TV series for Paramount+. Ms. Murdoch’s writing has appeared on This American Life and in Harper’s, VQR, The New Yorker online, Orion, The Atlantic, and High Country News.

Whether or not you’re a mother, whether or not you’re a parent, I encourage you to read this article, even if you’re not able to participate in the discussion. It’s brilliantly structured, sensitively written, and deeply thought-provoking.

I hope you’ll join me and fellow Article Clubbers in discussing the piece on Sunday, January 30, 2:00 - 3:30 pm PT! This event will be on Zoom and be limited to 24 participants.

Are you IN?

I hope so! If so, here’s what to do:

  1. Announce the good news by leaving a comment below.
    Click on the green button. In a sentence or two, say hi and share why you’re interested.

  2. Sign up for the discussion by clicking here.
    This will save your spot and tell me you’re committed to joining.

  3. Start reading the article.
    Here’s the original, and here’s a shared version we can annotate together.

Leave a comment

Coming up this month at Article Club
  • This week: We’ll sign up for the discussion and start reading the article.

  • Next week: We’ll go deeper, annotating the article, sharing our first impressions, and “meeting” Ms. Murdoch.

  • The week of January 24: We’ll listen to an interview with Ms. Murdoch.

  • Sunday, January 30: We’ll discuss the article with fellow Article Clubbers.

Are you new to Article Club? If so, welcome! We look forward to meeting you and having your voice in the conversation. Feel free to reach out with questions:

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Article Club
Article Club
Book clubs are stressful. Join Article Club, a community of kind readers. We discuss one great article every month on race, education, or culture.