Ellie is the daughter of Calvin Dareth and Anna Enapay, a Sioux woman who remained in Dalton when her family returned to the reservation. They had three children, but only two lived to adulthood. Ellie’s younger sister Renee married a factory owner and currently lives in the Gold. She and Ellie rarely talk; Renee distanced herself from her Sioux roots as prejudice against the Oglala community grew in Dalton. She was closer to her father, while Ellie spent more time with her mother. Of the two, Ellie was the one who took the native traditions and beliefs more to heart. She loved spending time outdoors with her mother, learning how to live in harmony with nature, and believing in the brotherhood of humans and creatures, which has since made her more sympathetic to Mixed rights movements.
Being half-Sioux made Ellie and her sister a target for bullying and abuse at school, since the fears of invasion in Dalton were growing rapidly. Accused of being spies by classmates and even some teachers, the girls dealt with taunts, threatening notes, and physical attacks. They grew up watching classmates play games in which one would pretend to be a “Pine Ridge Spy” who would be captured and killed by the “Patrols”, and the games sometimes turned on the girls themselves even though they avoided participating. Ellie still has several scars from being beaten by classmates with sticks and other handmade weapons. This caused Renee to want to deny her heritage, and because her appearance was less distinctive than Ellie’s she was able to successfully hide her past when in university.
Anna was murdered when Ellie was eleven, and Calvin never recovered from the heartbreak and fear. Anna’s death at the hands of a street vagrant poisoned Calvin against them, and he warned Ellie and her sister away from those kinds of people. He feared for Ellie more than for Renee because Ellie looked more like her Sioux mother and it was thought that Anna’s death could have been a hate crime. Ellie had also more often embraced the Sioux culture and lifestyle and refused to give up that side of her heritage even after the school bullying. Ellie grew up surrounded by fear, whether that was others afraid of her, or her family afraid of the homeless community. Ellie was almost refused admission to a university because of her half-Sioux heritage, but Cal insisted, wanting her to have a good future and, like Renee, move away from her problematic past. Ellie resented that idea since she felt it meant Cal regretted marrying Anna or thought her heritage was something to be ashamed of, so she flagrantly clung to her Sioux ties in college. This heavily strained her relationship with her father. Cal cut ties with her entirely when she began interning with Social Aid in the Red.
Ellie has very little connection with her family, as her mother’s family cut ties with Anna for remaining in the city, her father only slightly warmed to her work before his death, and her sister is wary of losing her social standing. When she met the dedicated and kindhearted Mike Callaghan, Ellie found a chance for a family that might be better than what she had known. The two of them were married, which further estranged Cal Dareth because Mike was at that time a poor farmers’ son with little chance of becoming accepted in society. It was sheer luck that he was offered the position of a classmate who died in an accident, the position of a clerk in Distribution. He and Ellie lived in the Green until his promotion to director of Blue Sector distribution in 2082, because of his grasp of the exact essential work to be done to streamline farm-to-market transit. His early life as a farmer turned out to be valuable as he personally knew some of the farmers, and was more easily able to win their trust and negotiate prices with them than a city-born official. He and Ellie decided it was time to start a family, and in 2083 the twins, Toiréasa and Cameron, were born.
One year after the twins were born, Ellie had another child, a boy named Chris. That winter all three children caught a terrible flu and while the twins survived, Chris did not. Tess and Cam don’t remember their sibling and Ellie has never told them about it. The memory is often too painful to even consider. She and Mike were never quite the same after Chris’s death. They lost their naive optimism and became more realistic. They also were more protective of their young daughter born two years later.
Ellie still held many of her mother’s beliefs, including a hope in the Mixed as a bridge between nature and man, and as future champions of a life in harmony with the land and the wild animals. While she was never directly involved in Mixed rights work, Ellie was supportive of Tess and Cam becoming part of it. She had been raised to trust that the natural world would be a home to those who knew how to respect it, and also that the Mixed would treat humans who understood them with respect and fairness. Her hopes received a severe blow when Stuart attacked Tess, and Ellie became more cynical than before. She became more skeptical of the Mixed, seeing that their wild side could be a curse as well as a blessing. However, she still believes in a fundamental equality of station between Mixed and humans, and is accepting of Alex as a result.
Ellie knows firsthand the pain of being a social outcast, and while she has no issue with Tess and Alex as a couple in her own right, she knows the two will never be accepted by society. She no longer romanticizes the idea of being a rebel as she did when she was younger, since all that brought her was the pain of losing family ties. She doesn’t want Tess to go through the same pain if she can avoid it. Watching Cam leave tears her apart because she sees him taking the same path as Renee, distancing himself from a rebellious sibling because he wants a place and status in the city life. She is harsh with Tess because she sees in her the same path and choices Ellie herself had, and wants to try to keep Tess from doing the things Ellie herself now regrets.