Becoming a Good Relative weaves my personal story of transformation with historical research, spiritual teachings, and an appendix of practical skills, resources, and rituals. I offer warm, compassionate, and vulnerable personal stories to reveal how unlearning fragility, becoming antiracist, and repairing ancestral harm can feel. I invite readers beyond intellectual analysis into intuition, dreams, and practical rituals. These practices can transform the harms of colonialism, racial hierarchy, and economic inequity from the inside out. While written as memoir, this book gives readers practical tools for building their own resilience and committing to reparations for the long term.
This book is for white people who are curious about moving beyond white fragility and into robust healing. It speaks to the TikTok users who have viewed videos on #decolonization 14 million times. It also addresses the philanthropic sector, which has increased its overall giving by 41% since 2019, and is seeking inspiration to direct more funding to communities of Color.
Foreword by Luisah Teish, Ph.D. – African American Elder, Founding Mother of Ile Orunmila Oshun, and author of Jambalaya: The Natural Woman’s Book of Personal Charms and Practical Rituals. Luisah Teish co-envisioned this book. I asked her to write the Foreword because she served as a guiding mentor and coach for my writing process.
Advance Praise for Becoming a Good Relative
“With a voice of intuitive compassion, Becoming a Good Relative will open your heart’s eyes. This book offers a physical and spiritual prescription for the awakening paradigm shift that is calling all of us into Divine Alignment. Hilary has been welcomed into the ancient ceremonies of Indigenous cultures. She has come to understand the disruption of the sacred natural order of the Universe and its remedy: the principle that everything is related and connected.”
—Basil Brave Heart, Oglala Lakota Elder
About the Author
Hilary Giovale is a mother, writer, and community organizer who holds a Master’s Degree in Good and Sustainable Communities. She has taught improvisational women’s dance and has served on the boards of philanthropic, human rights, and environmental organizations. A ninth-generation American settler, she is descended from Celtic, Germanic, Nordic, and Indigenous peoples of Ancient Europe. For most of her life, these origins were obscured by the delusion of whiteness, until a series of ancestral interventions began in her early 40s. After learning more about her ancestors, Hilary found herself emerging from a fog of amnesia, denial, and fragmentation. For the first time, she could see a painful reality: her family’s occupation of this land has harmed Indigenous and African peoples, cultures, and lifeways. With this realization, her life changed. Hilary lives into this question as an act of love for the ancestors, the waters, and future generations. She is an active speaker, teacher, and reparative philanthropist. Divesting from whiteness, she bridges divides with truth, healing, apology, and forgiveness. She follows Indigenous and Black leadership in support of human rights, environmental justice, and equitable futures.
Her work as a philanthropist and community organizer has been informed by bestselling Lumbee author Edgar Villanueva, international Diné speaker Pat McCabe, and Diné influencer Lyla June Johnston, among others. These extraordinary leaders have given the author permission to share what she’s learned from them.
Why to Buy: This book is for white Americans who care about transforming the current social and environmental crises. It is for those who became sensitized during the racial justice uprisings of 2020. Readers who purchased Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility, Ibram X Kendi’s How to be an Antiracist, and Ijeoma Oluo’s So You Want to Talk About Race in the months following the murder of George Floyd followed an urgent, collective impulse that has been trying to reawaken since the civil rights movement. During 2020, multitudes of white Americans became outraged about the racial terror People of Color have been experiencing for a long time. After protesting in the streets and reading the aforementioned titles, however, many felt overwhelmed, hopeless, and unsure how to move forward. Becoming a Good Relative offers a remedy for the debilitating shame that can overtake white Americans when we face systemic white supremacy.
This book is for Americans who give. In 2021, individuals directed $327 billion toward charitable giving. Sixty-seven percent of the philanthropic gifts in the United States came from individuals in 2021, primarily those of modest income levels. Becoming a Good Relative is for those who regularly make small-scale contributions, adding up to tremendous impact. I offer this audience a warm invitation to consider how history can inform their giving, contributing to increased environmental and social wellbeing. Because this memoir includes my stories of wealth redistribution, it also speaks to those who have access to wealth and institutional philanthropic networks. Book clubs seeking personal stories and practical steps for decolonization, earth-based spirituality, and ancestral healing will appreciate this book as well.
Keywords: human rights; environmental justice; white fragility; healing; ancestral legacies; Indigenous; African American; relational philanthropy; community organizing; grassroots; sacred sites; memoir; colonization; enslaved people; Black Americans; ancestral memory; LandBack
Special requirements for Academics: Sociology courses; political science; Indigenous and African American studies. The author has extensive experience as a public speaker and will speak at colleges and universities.
Becoming a Good Relative
Format: Trade Paperback
Price: $21.95 (CA $29.98)
Page Count: 300 pages
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Publication Date: APRIL, 2024
Distributor: IPG / Chicago
Rights & Publicity contact: Dede Cummings
BISAC Subject Categories Primary: SOCIAL SCIENCE / Activism & Social Justice
BISAC Subject Categories Secondary: NATURE / Environmental Conservation & Protection
Distributor: IPG; also available through Ingram, Follett/Baker & Taylor, and other wholesalers.
Individuals can pre-order directly from Bookshop.org, online, or contact your local, independent bookstore. GWP supports independent bookstores and over 50% of our sales come from the trade!
Booksellers, libraries, colleges/universities, gift shops, etc., can order directly through IPG:
Independent Publishers Group
814 N. Franklin Street
Chicago, IL 60610
Order Placement: (800) 888-4741
For a media review copy—digital or print—email dede@