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…

Racism

The very first time I experienced a racist incident was when I was in the seventh grade. It was the end of the summer when my family and I moved to this small town called Cando. I just couldn’t wait for school to start. I loved meeting new people. I was so excited the night before school started that I…

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…

1998 Introduction by James Welch

When I first started teaching a course on contemporary American Indian Literature back in the mid-seventies, I had to scratch and scrape to find enough writers of American Indian descent to fill up the time and space of one quarter’s worth of instruction. There was a core group – writers like Scott Momaday, Leslie Silko, Joy Harjo, Simon Ortiz –…

1997 Introduction by Marjane Ambler

The breath and blood of tribal college students flow through the pages that follow. The students represent different cultures, different colleges, and different generations, but they all take their writing seriously. Shanna Estigoy conveys their passion for writing when she says, “I will continue writing until my hand cripples and falls off.” These students’ writing differs markedly from college students’…