Thinning Blood

A Memoir of Family, Myth, and Identity

Author Leah Myers

Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2023 by The Millions

A vibrant new voice blends Native folklore and the search for identity in a fierce debut work of personal history.

Leah Myers may be the last member of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe in her family line, due to her tribe’s strict blood quantum laws. In this unflinching and intimate memoir, Myers excavates the stories of four generations of women in order to leave a record of her family. Beginning with her great-grandmother, the last full-blooded Native member in their lineage, she connects each woman with her totem to construct her family’s totem pole: protective Bear, defiant Salmon, compassionate Hummingbird, and perched on top, Raven.

As she pieces together their stories, Myers weaves in tribal folktales, the history of the Native genocide, and Native mythology. Throughout, she tells the larger story of how, as she puts it, her “culture is being bleached out,” offering sharp vignettes of her own life between White and Native worlds: her naive childhood love for Pocahontas, her struggles with the Klallam language, the violence she faced at the hands of a close White friend as a teenager.

Crisp and powerful, "Thinning Blood" is at once a bold reclamation of one woman’s identity and a searingly honest meditation on heritage, family, and what it means to belong.


Leah Myers is an ASU alum, having graduated with a BA in English (creative writing) in 2017.

Praise for this book

Finely crafted…'Thinning Blood' is slender and poetic but also wide-ranging, moving with ease from memoir to Native history to myth and back again, yielding a blend that transcends genre.

Maud Newton The New York Times Book Review

[A] searing debut…Myers's fierce testimony is both record and reclamation of [family] history, told beautifully and simply. Any family would be lucky to have their story handled with this much care.

Publishers Weekly
Native folklore images on left and right sides of book cover with title in the middle
Date published
W. W. Norton

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