Jackie Thomas Swanson was born on the Warm Springs reservation and later spent time with her grandmother on the Muckleshoot reservation. Jackie’s family emphasized to her that she was a descendant of the ancient people of the Northwest, the Duwamish. Jackie also claims ancestry with the Yakama and Nez Perce tribes.
Family is important to Jackie. She refers to the difficulties facing many Native people regarding marriage: of having to make decisions on whether to marry inter-tribally or taking on non-Indian partners. She shares that because the Native community is tightly-knit, tribal members must be aware of family ties, and look beyond those ties when choosing life partners. By following the theme of family, Jackie describes how intergenerational connectedness supports Native tradition.