2008 Introduction by Elizabeth Cook-Lynn

Introduction By Elizabeth Cook-Lynn “I was living with relatives in a one-room tarpapered house on the Crow Creek Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota when I learned to read English, and as soon as I learned to read, I wanted to write.” That’s the way I started my recent compilation of writings called Notebooks (U of Arizona Press), but what…

2007 Introduction by Joy Harjo

Every generation of stories, poems, and songs are born from deep roots and, as they emerge, are influenced by the weather and conditions of the season, by social, political, and personal shifts. Some forms and themes are developed with each generation, for each one has its story, its song, and its own unique set of challenges. In the early ‘70s,…

2006 Introduction by Chris Eyre

Native dreamers and writers are essential to our tenacity and cultural continuity as Native people. Our Native writers provide our collective pulse and self-expression. Ironically, as Native people, it is far more important for us to express ourselves, not for our own sake, but for the sake of those who think they know us.

2005 Introduction by Sherman Alexie

Ten years ago when I was visiting Indian students, I always met singers, dancers, painters and actors, but I did not meet that many young writers. But something quietly revolutionary has happened.  Thousands of young Indians are writing, and they are writing well. I was only the second generation in my family to regularly put pen to paper.  Authorship was…

2004 Introduction by Louise Erdrich

From my desk here in the city of Minneapolis, I hear a car alarm go off, buses shift gears, children shout from the playground of a nearby school. But all I have to do in order to enter the peace and strangeness of the Montana landscape is walk with Annie Tillery Waldow through a pasture gate. I am suddenly in…

2003 Introduction by Joseph Bruchach

Telling Their Own Stories Two thoughts came to me as I read these new writings by tribal college students. The first was how important it is to tell your own stories. Not only because no one can see the world as you do, but also because if you don’t tell your story someone else may tell a story about you….

2002 Introduction by Luci Tapahonso

The art of storytelling has always been strong in indigenous communities. Over the centuries, the form has evolved and exists now in many versions. This collection of student writing from various tribal colleges shows how dynamic this literary form is today. Although the students touch upon contemporary concerns, there exist nuances of the indigenous philosophies and teachings that are the…

2001 Introduction by Jim Northrup

Boozhoo Biimaadiziig (Hello my fellow human beings). Bangii etago ninitaa-ojibwem idash, ninga-gagwejitoon ji ojbwemoyaan (I only know how to talk Ojibwe a little, but I’ll try). Jim Northrup niin indizhinikaaz zhaaganaashiimong (Jim Northrup is my name in the English language). Chi-beneshii indigo Ojibwemong (I am called Chi-beneshii in Ojibwe). Makwa niin nindoodem (My clan is bear). Naagachiwanong niin indoonjibaa (I…

2000 Introduction by Simon Ortiz

When it’s very, very quiet, we hear something. When we gaze into the distant landscape of desert or wooded hills or grassed prairie, we hear something. When a grandmother stops talking with her gentle soothing voice, we hear something. When we look into the farthest reaches of the night sky, we hear something. When we look at a tiny infant quietly asleep—or perhaps moving a tiny hand,…

1999 Introduction by Marjane Ambler

Of Innocence and Catharsis These are not the words of innocents. Don’t expect to find sweet love poems in this collection of writing by college students. The tribal college students write here about war and race, alcoholism and child abuse, death, humility and the challenges of raising children with special needs. The students have traveled many highways, and their writing reflects that rather than the protected lives…

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