Carol Hand, MSSW ’83, PhD ‘03: Teacher, Advocate, Author

Preparing to write a story about school alumnae Dr. Carol Hand, an enrolled member of the Sokaogon Ojibwe Community, who I have been fortunate to have known from her time at the School of Social Work, it quickly became apparent that the best way to introduce her story is to use her own words. Following is Carol’s introduction from her blog, Voices from the Margins: A welcoming space for resistance to the forces of oppression and hegemony.

 Mel Morgenbesser,
Alumni Relations

Photo of Dr. Carol Hand
Dr. Carol Hand

Boozhoo! (Ojibwe “Hello”)

Welcome…I’m Carol Hand, an enrolled member of the Sokaogon Ojibwe Community, one of the 6 bands of Ojibwe people located in what is now the state of Wisconsin. During my early childhood, I spent my school years in New Jersey where I was born, and my summers with relatives on the Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe reservation in Wisconsin. My bi-cultural heritage has had a profound influence on my life.

Who would believe
that the mixed ancestry
which made my life
and that of my descendants
so challenging
is a phenomenal gift?

It represents an inheritance
of courage from ancestors
who challenged strongly held social conventions
in acts of resistance and diplomacy
to forge and cement peaceful alliances
between cultures and nations
in contested spaces
during times of conflict and war.

This inheritance is not an easy one to carry.
It conveys a sacred responsibility
to walk the bridging, healing path
of inclusion and peace
in a world so easily divided
by powerful fears
of those who are different.
It means living in a world
that reifies distinctions
between cultures,
and political views,
to name but a few of the differences,
often demonizing those who dare
to challenge social conventions
and the ruling elite.

Yet the legacy passed down
from the builders of bridges
created new possibilities
for peaceful coexistence –
hybrids, if you will,
who carry the legacy
of courage
and a sense of responsibility
for living in harmony
with others and the earth
within their blended DNA.

Carol received BA, MSSW, and PhD degrees from UW-Madison. A dedicated teacher, she previously taught in social work programs in Wisconsin, Montana, and Illinois and is currently an adjunct faculty member at The College of St. Scholastica’s satellite program offered at the Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College. Before joining academia, Carol  worked as deputy director of health and human services for an inter-tribal council and as the aging network supervisor for a state department of health and social services.

Photo of Carol Hand's family
Carol 2nd from left with grandson Aadi, daughter, Jnana, and granddaughter Ava.

Throughout her career Carol has also been a program developer, public speaker, grant-writer, program evaluator, and researcher. Describing her passion, Carol describes “working from a liberatory praxis perspective with individuals and communities that have experienced oppression to transform oppressive social structures through consciousness-raising and non-violent community-directed action.” Having “mostly” retired, in addition to her blog and part-time teaching, Carol enjoys “writing, reading, gardening, listening to stories from diverse cultural backgrounds, and spending time with her family and grandchildren.”