Patricia Lei Murray is a passionate advocate for preserving and sharing the culture of Hawai'i, her native island home. She is a master quilter, threading a deep devotion to ancestry, tradition, and Ohana into her work. Driven by an abiding connection to the ocean, mountains, and skies, Patricia says that being Hawaiian is her pulse.
LaVona Evans was born in 1912 on the same day Arizona became a state. Naturally, she’s felt that her own identity has always been tied to her state. Between the parades and parties celebrating their joint centennial, LaVona shares what has kept her in her small rural community for a century.
Floyd Ashley is a retired educator who has spent his life dedicated to the Navajo people. During his years as an activist, teacher and community leader, Floyd has seen his share of struggles and dualities experienced by the Navajo Nation in the Land of Enchantment in New Mexico.
Chuck White and his family narrowly survived an EF5 tornado, escaping their house minutes before it, and his Oklahoma neighborhood, were leveled. Determined not to let any storm keep him from living where he wants to, Chuck rebuilt his home on the very same plot.
Daniel Shellabarger lives in a cave in the breathtaking canyons outside Utah's Arches National Park. A middle-aged former Peace Corps volunteer and social worker, Daniel disavowed the use of money in any form ten years ago and believes that wherever we are at any given moment is our home.
People come to Jackson, Wyoming for many different reasons: for Sven Taow, it was the promise of a high-paying summer job. He didn't find riches but Sven discovered a passion for the wilds of the American frontier and the Teton Mountains. Like many Jacksonites, he’s seeking a balance between paying the bills and pursuing the next peak.
Mexico-born Evaristo Mireles moved to Idaho decades ago as a teenager searching for a job. He has worked long hours with local farmers and raised his children in the state. Evaristo's desire to return to Mexico wanes as he comes to terms with how he's lived most of his life in the United States: between two cultures.
Mohinder Sangha moved to Northwest Washington in 1983, becoming the first Sikh person to start berry farming in the region. Since then Mohinder's farm has thrived, and with his service and leadership, he helped build a temple and planted seeds for a vibrant community of over one hundred Sikh berry farmers.
It was the past that brought Dave Varricchio to present-day Montana. Over the past 20 years, paleontology work in Big Sky Country’s wilderness has provided him with unique insight into the Montana of 75 million years ago. While focused mainly on changes in the Earth's crust over the course of millennia, Dave also observes more rapid changes in the evolution of this once sleepy college town.
Dereck Higgins has vivid memories of being harassed and attacked as a child. As an adult, he has managed the isolation and suspicion he is dealt by his near all-white surroundings in Nebraska through punk rock and electronic music. A lifetime of bucking expectations and cultivating a thriving musical community has brought Dereck to a place where he no longer seeks permission to belong.
Clay Greenland's desire to help others as a paramedic drove his life but his son's suicide prompted a retreat from Tennessee to a remote corner of the Nevada desert. Now Clay has gradually found a role in a trailer park community that helps him heal through a revived yet fragile sense of public service.
Though Hanna Sizemore grew up wandering the mountains of West Virginia, her passion for understanding a larger universe took her to Silicon Valley, NASA, and eventually back to her Appalachian roots in the National Radio Quiet Zone. Here she negotiates communication and a sense of belonging with beloved neighbors and friends that often come from opposing ideological tribes.
I-Shüan Warr grew up with a unique name in a multicultural family in a mostly white Tennessee suburb. Her mom is from Taiwan, her dad is from California, her husband is from Utah, and her kids are from Korea. Living somewhere that embraces diversity became a high priority, and for her, Oregon has been just that place.
Living on an island in the Mississippi River has always drawn Kathy Christenson to seek inspiration and peace from its banks. Despite thinking adulthood would take her far from her small town home in Minnesota, she grasps life as an explorer here - finding hidden charms and meaning at every turn. Photography and preservation have allowed Kathy to weave each new experience into a fresh perspective.
Born in a refugee camp in Thailand, Xong Xiong moved to Wisconsin after her family couldn't return to Laos following the Vietnam War. She grew up as part of an influx of twice dislocated Hmong refugees who were not always welcomed in La Crosse. Despite racism, poor integration, and detachment from her own culture, Xong is determined to help the younger generation born in America stay connected.
Since apprenticing for a retired fiddler after college, Beth Rotto has grown into a cultural staple within her community in Iowa. She works at the Co-op by day, fronts her folk band by night, and performs at the annual Nordic Fest to celebrate the Midwest's vast Scandinavian ancestry. Her act teaches people across the region to dance together in a scene of simple pageantry, unity, and wonder.
Sarah Smith's ancestors helped found the state of Missouri, so she has always felt strong roots connecting her to the land that was once home to frontier women and men. After a life-changing illness led her to reassess everything, Sarah is now busy building a new type of homestead on her own frontier.
Nancy 3. Hoffman curates the world's only Umbrella Cover Museum on an island off the coast of Maine. Here, Nancy embraces a community that welcomes eccentricity and self-reliance as she pursues her life's purpose of bringing laughter and joy to others.
Thirteen years ago, after finishing college in Minnesota, returning home to Texas, and then volunteering in Mexico, Nathan Tolzmann felt adrift. He set out to ride his bike across the United States on a voyage of self-discovery, but only made it as far as Chicago. It was in the Prairie State where Nathan found the sense of belonging and contentment he had been searching for.
Born and bred Hoosier Randy Evans explains the value he places on his sense of belonging including his connection to those that have gone before. From a rather surprising discovery of skeletons in his cellar to the backyard memorial he created for his deceased brother, Randy reflects on the nature of death and the importance of where a person is buried.