Jackie O’Neal, author of Woman Priest just released new book, a memoir about identity politics.
The Basque Witch trials. Family conflict. A vicious war that wiped out the African presence. Persecuted tribal groups and secrets of indigenous spirituality. A modern day shaman who through soul energy therapy, effects healing.
Author, Jackie O’Neal is a descendant of these groups and she sought to integrate her multi- cultural past to experience re-birth as a whole person in a society held down by limitations, racism, and division.
Jackie O’Neal wrote, “My maternal grandmother, Antonia hailed from the province of Guizpicoa in the Basque country. My paternal grandmother, Rosario derived from the Basque country as well, but the specific region remains a mystery. Antonia’s husband, Fortunato traced his roots to the Mapuche Indians. My paternal grandfather, Ramon recognized Cadiz, Spain as his ancestral home, therefore European, indigenous roots have contributed to shaping my life and world view in a myriad of ways, I have still yet to understand. The reality is I’m a composite of several cultures which are reflected in my physical features. My husband says had it not been for my light complexion, I’d look completely African- American. Others perceive my visage as being that of a light-skinned black woman. And yet others have said they had never seen anyone with my physical features, and could not place my ancestry at all. Some surmised Jewish, while others, Hispanic, and yet others, Mediterranean. One woman I made a pastoral visit to when I was a chaplain at a local hospital had the audacity to say, “You are like Heinz- 57 varieties.”
One the questions woven through the narrative is related to exploring the notion, ” How will having descended from persecuted groups influence my present life?
O’Neal is of Afro-Indian and European descent. Her birthpalce, Argentina has a long history of denial concerning its African and indigenous roots. The book researches these ideas and presents historical information about one of Argentina’s most ruthless chapters: forced assimilation.
The book also reveals her family’s indoctrination concerning their negative attitudes towards Afro-Indian groups and how this affected the author in terms of her own identity.
Anticipated date of publication: Summer 2011
Publisher: Publish America