Cultural connections

Lynn teaches untold history


Adriana Ivanoff

Los Medanos College English professor Morgan Lynn talks with a good friend from the department.

Adriana Ivanoff, Perspectives Editor

“I have very clear memories of kids who didn’t have food, who didn’t have new clothes and who didn’t know how to read. They were my friends. Those were the inequalities I’ve known since I was little,” said English Professor Morgan Lynn with watering eyes as she recalled the story of her fourth birthday party. She remembered a friend whose family couldn’t afford wrapping paper and instead placed a cute hand-me-down outfit inside a brown paper bag. 

She grew up near Native American reservations in Minnesota which were located near the bigger cities and at a young age she had a keen awareness of the struggles of the Native American people and saw the power of their people’s survival. 

She currently teaches a Native American Literature class that shows the unwritten and untaught side of history for the First Nation people. 

Lynn wanted to become a teacher after volunteering to tutor younger kids for one of her college classes. Although she fell in love with the job, she knew she never wanted to teach younger children. She grew up with non traditional instruction and her own teaching style reflects a more student-discussion environment to stimulate the growth of each student’s mind. 

Lynn has a passion and connection to the Earth that relates to some of the Native American culture’s religious idealisms. To her, the world is woven into a web that all life exists in. More than just small connections, but also the larger ones in the grander scheme of things. 

“A blade of grass and me are made up of the same stuff. We have to remember that,” she said. 

Due to her love of the Earth, Lynn loves to travel, and backpacks frequently. Unfortunately, in her youth she developed epilepsy and was held back from those activities. Her doctors told her it wasn’t safe to do the things she had a passion for. Although it gave her a great fear of the world, she rebelled and decided to do the things she loved anyway. 

“If I die, then at least I died doing what I loved,” said Lynn. 

She recalled that for her 16 birthday she camped out with a group of others in Canada. The Northern Lights appeared overhead when she and fellow campers had crawled into their sleeping bags later that night and she told herself that, “no matter how bad things got, something miraculous would happen.”        

Later in life, when she would travel alone, she found that she envied men as she had in her youth. Not only for their ability to seemingly treat people poorly without severe ramifications but also for their ability to look unpresentable in appearance without judgment or to have the comfort and safety that they had in public or at night while alone. 

Lynn had developed a sense of justice early in life. Her father, a judge who’d let her sit in on court cases, sensed her strong compassion and enthusiasm for history that influenced her deeply, teaching her how to be a morally good person. 

Lynn’s compassionate side is important to her and believes that influenced who she is today. 

“I think that I’m more vulnerable and sensitive than people think I am … Not all of the time, but a lot of the time.” 

She admitted that she had originally wanted to be a lawyer, focusing on international human rights following in the footsteps of her father, as she had seen injustice in many places. 

When she lived abroad in El Salvador, she experienced a fractured place with a history of massacres towards the indigenous people. 

This tragic past stirred mass amounts of prejudice and a visible divide of the people. She’d explain that there were very few indigenous people left from the violent acts against their people. 

The greatest injustices Lynn has seen at a personal level is economic and racial inequalities. Her life experiences gave her insights, beyond the textbook definition, of the terrible treatment of ethnic people. She wants people to treat others as they want to be treated. 

Among the many things she hopes her students will do, the most important is teaching others the missing parts of history. She hopes they’ll inform the uneducated about the difficult realities of the world and spread awareness to those situations.