What is EastKeep?

EastKeep is a newsletter about what it takes to be a teacher - and what it takes to leave teaching, work in tribal education spaces (as a White person), culture and language, the politics of education, and the newly reinvented life of a middle aged single mom of two grown kids. Equal measures of outrage, contemplation, and hope. Cats, kayaks, cookies, hikes, road trips. 

What’s a Keep? 

A Keep is that part inside of a castle that’s extra fortified in case of invasion. If you watched Game of Thrones, you may recall The Red Keep, where the women hung out during The Battle of Blackwater Bay. I don’t want to invoke the idea of nobility here, so I’m modernizing this concept: a Keep is a place where we preserve ourselves, against the things that try to assault our humanity. My place is EastKeep.

About Anna

I grew up mostly in Richmond, Virginia, landed in Montana at 23, and have been working to shed the transplant label for the last three decades or so. I spent 22 years in public education, teaching English and history in two high schools on the Flathead Indian Reservation. Several years ago I was named Montana Teacher of the Year, and the experience of that year changed my life and initiated a whole-cloth remaking of my feelings about my classroom, and my role in the education sphere, and public education in general. In 2021 I left my marriage, my school district, and my community and now I live and work in Missoula. My two children are now out of high school and doing what they want, while supporting themselves and learning to be adults. (It’s hard, they tell me.)  

As a teacher I have always been immersed in a culture that has not been my own, which is to say, a mainstream White middle-class setup. My teaching career took place on the Flathead Reservation, and I also designed and taught Native American Studies courses for both high school and college. My doctorate focused on Montana’s multicultural initiative called Indian Education for All. After transitioning out of public education, I work now as a course developer of Indigenous language classes. This work requires collaborating closely with tribal language communities and trying to learn and practice cultural protocols.

My human self (as differentiated from my professional self) is interested in women’s issues, being outdoors as much as possible, cultivating a social life that is sustaining rather than draining, persistent minimalism which just means constantly struggling to reduce, traveling when I can, and talking with others about finding equilibrium amid the chaos of human existence. Also sometimes I like to make mindless craft projects that involve a trip to the local craft store and collecting extra supplies which reiterate the need for the persistent minimalism, see above. 

Subscribe to EastKeep

A newsletter about teaching, tribal education work, adventure, and community/solitude from the 2014 Montana Teacher of the Year.


Educator. Mom. Outdoorsperson. Soloist.