"Everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it,
and the imagination to improvise."
b.1932 - d. 1963
"So, I like to write."
Melissa enjoys writing and has published her work in several newspapers, journals, and magazine articles. She's also done her fair share of book chapters, encyclopedia entries, book reviews, manuscript reviews, and blogging entries. She even wrote a book. Channeling Melissa's academically driven writing style to a public audience has stretched her ability to write significantly. "There is 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."
It's a rare occasion when a social issue can be described in 'black and white' terms. Social scientists examine it all - the black, the white and especially the grey in between. "It's the beauty and sometimes curse of my professional training and accompanying life experiences."
Poverty is at the forefront of Melissa's mind as she works
in this space daily. And, combatting poverty is complex
as there isn't a singular cause of poverty. "I think
of poverty as the epicenter of an unsteady wheel wherein
the spokes on the wheel - such as access to good healthcare,
transportation, groceries, affordable housing, childcare,
living wage jobs, etc., are absent, weak, and/or unstable.
The wheel will not move forward easily and in fact may feel
like it is not moving at all. Just when someone feels like
they are 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 or downward spiral."
Those living in poverty as well as those living in the economic margins do so with wobbly wheels. There isn't a quick fix to poverty and if there were, it would've been resolved a long time ago. "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 Melissa's work...
Living with the Invisible Monster
Journal Gazette, Nov. 1 2020
The love and support I've experienced from so many of you is the sort of compassion I want to remember most about this experience, not the invisible monster that will persist if people continue to choose ego over the well-being of humanity. For more click here.
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.
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.
Other Selected Works...
'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
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
Huffington Post, May 26, 2012
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.
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.
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.