It is with great sadness that I write these words. Today I learned that Paula Giese died three weeks ago.
I did not know Paula when she was an activist in the streets. I only "met" her a few years ago, shortly after we both began to publish on the WWWeb in 1993. Universities had not made up their minds about what to do with this new thing, and she was having difficulty getting space to publish at the site where she had her email account. I offered her an account on my machine and space to publish. At this time we found that, although our cultural backgrounds were different, we had many educational and professional experiences in common. In particular, she felt that she had been actively discouraged from pursuing a career in science, not because she was Indian, but because she was a woman. This shared experience in academia formed a bond that could not be broken by the chafing of two sometimes prickly personalities. There were periods when we took time off from each other and there were periods of intense pushes toward common goals. Our styles were completely different, but our goals were always closely aligned.
Within a year, the intense activity that her site generated and the fact that my workstation had to support activities other than web publication, led Paula to find another site for her server, at Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College. However we still kept in touch, with periods of intense communication interleaved with cooling off periods. In particular, the issues surrounding the Tribal Voice site generated a substantial correspondence.
Unfortunately, we only met online. Perhaps that is just as well. Our images of each other were formed primarily by the common goals that we shared and the glimpses that we got of our more personal sides from the online writing that we read. In particular, the image of Paula that will never be erased from my mind is that of the woman who would place a child's drawing of her, made at the AIM Survival School in St. Paul, online as her portrait. She is also the woman who wrote the Honor Essay for Geronimo Arechiga, a student at Heart of the Earth AIM Survival School, Minneapolis. This is an essay whose periodic reading would continue to benefit each of us. Paula placed much invaluable information online, but these are the items which I will always treasure.
Karen M. Strom
July 28, 1997