"Everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it,

and the imagination to improvise."   

Sylvia Plath

b.1932 - d. 1963

So, I like to write. 

I enjoy writing. I've published newspaper, journal, and magazine articles. I've also done my fair share of book chapters, encyclopedia entries, book reviews, manuscript reviews, and blogging entries. I even wrote a book. Channeling my academically driven writing style to a general audience has stretched my ability to write significantly. There's no denying a social science background in my writing today as evidenced by my style right down to word choice - I make no apologies for that.

But, today, I get to write about different subjects and I don't have to do it for tenure or for publishers with deadlines -only for myself and others who choose to read it. My social science perspective involves examining multiple layers of an issue. Very rarely is a social issue, or most things actually, experienced or described in 'black and white' terms. If only life were that simple! Social scientists examine it all - the black, the white and especially the grey areas in between.

My profession exists because of the very nature of said 

liminality. Take poverty for example. There is no singular

cause of poverty. I think of poverty as the epicenter of an

unsteady wheel wherein the spokes on the wheel - like

access to good healthcare, transportation, groceries,

affordable housing, childcare, living wage jobs, etc., are

absent, weak, and/or unstable. The wheel won't move

forward easily and in fact may feel like it's not moving at

all. Just when someone feels like they're getting ahead,

an unexpected life circumstance (one of the spokes)

interrupts the wheel's pace, perhaps even puncturing it.

This can easily lead someone to an economic standstill.


Those living in poverty as well as those living in the economic margins do so with wobbly wheels. There is no quick fix to poverty and if there were, it would have been resolved a long time ago. But, I believe if we all invest in our community just a bit more, we can balance the wheels for others and live more purposive lives.

Some of my work...

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Welcoming Community to Open Arms All Week Long

Journal Gazette, Sept. 2020

I'm encouraged that one day there will be a unified civic commitment to immigrant/refugee integration in Fort Wayne...successful immigrant integration is more of a reflection of one's community than of national policies. For more click here

Fresh Vegetables in Basket

A Gnawing Concern

Journal Gazette, May 2020

Understanding what food insecurity is theoretically versus the reality of your neighbor not knowing where their next meal is coming from are two very different things. For more click here


A City of Faith

Fort Wayne Magazine, April 2019

Faith is a verb and building intentional relationships across different sectors is critical for the vitality of the community.  For more click here

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Communities Coming Together

Journal Gazette, Nov. 2018

What better way to show how welcoming our community is than by recognizing the accomplishments of immigrants, refugees and providers in the Fort Wayne area?  For more click here.

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Relationships Beyond the Digits

News Sentinel, April 2018

Regardless of one’s professional calling, I believe we need more old school relationship-building. The ongoing education I’ve received over the years has lent to a deeper understanding of our shared humanity. For more click here.


Choice Champions Change

Northwest News, Oct. 2017

I'm a firm believer of having options during election season. Indiana statistics for unchallenged races don't bode well for us as a democratic society. For more click here

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Welcoming Fort Wayne Working to Build Stronger Community

News Sentinel, Oct. 2017

The ministry educates the non-immigrant community about the importance of immigrant newcomers.  For more click here.

Allen County Needs to Get Healthier

Northwest News, Sept. 2017

We all pay the price, financial and otherwise, with an infrastructure inadvertently maintaining social inequities.  For more click here

Ethnohistorical Work...       a sampling

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The Tapestry that Ties Us Together

Journal Gazette, July 2017

If someone were to ask me who my personal heroes are, I'd tell them in a heartbeat any immigrant or refugee who's carved a new path for themselves in the United States. For more click here.

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Tribal Counsel

Journal Gazette, May 2017

It feels as if the bar continues to creep lower for thoughtful engagement, decorum and a demonstrable appreciation for our collective identity as Americans. For more click here


From 'Bagay La' to 'My Thing'

Practicing Anthropology, Summer 2014

All anthropological work is morally grounded...My practice, now more than ever before, is profoundly rooted in moral obligation and how it serves others. For more click here

Journal Articles

'To Hell with the Wigs!' Native American Representation and Resistance at the World's Columbian Exposition, American Indian Quarterly, Fall, 2012

A Legacy of Forced Removal: the Removal of the Miami Tribe, International Journal of Population Geography, March 2003

Books Chapters

Psychological & Emotional Problems, In Encyclopedia of American Indian Issues Today, Russell Lawson, ed. 2013

Miami Indian Removal, In Encyclopedia of American Indian Removal, Daniel Littlefield, Jr, & James Parins, eds. 2011. 

The Agency of Language Ideologies in Miami Indian Recovery, In Ethnographic Contributions to the Study of Endangered Languages, Tania Granadillo & Heidi Orcutt-Gachiri, eds. 2011.


Contested Territories: Native Americans and Non-Natives in the Lower Great Lakes, 1700-1850, Charles Beatty Medina & Melissa Rinehart, eds. 2012

Why the Cultural Conversation Should Never Stop

Huffington Post, May 26, 2012

Melissa Rinehart, Phd

Cultural Anthropologist

Community Advocate

Committed Volunteer

Critical Thinker


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© 2020 Paid for by the Friends of Melissa Rinehart.


Fort Wayne, IN

"Everyone can give some of their time, talent, & treasure to a cause."