The Encyclopedia of North American Indians - Vol. 8

The Encyclopedia of North American Indians - Vol. 8

The Encyclopedia of North American Indians - Vol. 8

The Encyclopedia of North American Indians - Vol. 8

Excerpt

OJIBWE LITERATURE,

CONTEMPORARY

Contemporary Native American literature written by Ojibwe (also known as Chippewa and Anishinabe) authors constitutes some of the most important and most highly regarded literature in the field. A large number of Ojibwe literary artists are at work, including poets, novelists, playwrights, and short story writers. Ojibwe authors are also prominent essayists, historians, and scholars in a wide variety of fields. Some of the most prominent authors are Kimberly Blaeser, Brenda Child, Louise Erdrich, Gordon Henry, Basil H. Johnston, Jim Northrup, and Gerald Vizenor.

Kimberly Blaeser was raised on White Earth Reservation in Minnesota. She is a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and received her Ph.D. degree from Notre Dame. Her first book of poetry, Trailing You, won the 1993 Diane Decorah Memorial Poetry Award from the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas. Her second book, Gerald Vizenor: Writing in the Oral Tradition, is soon to be released by the University of Oklahoma Press. Blaeser is a versatile writer who has contributed essays to many Native American anthologies and scholarly journals. She is also active in mentoring beginning and emerging Native writers and serves as vice president of Wordcraft Circle of Native American Writers and Storytellers.

Brenda Child grew up on Red Lake Reservation in Minnesota. She received her Ph.D. degree in history from the University of Iowa, and like Blaeser, she teaches at the University of WisconsinMilwaukee. The manuscript for her first book, A Bitter Lesson: Native Americans and the Government Boarding School Experience, 1890–1940, won the 1995 North American Indian Prose Award from the University of Nebraska Press and the Native American studies programs at the University of New Mexico and the University of California at Berkeley. The book is scheduled for release in 1997 by the University of Nebraska Press.

Louise Erdrich, from the Turtle Mountain Reservation in North Dakota, is one of the most highly acclaimed Native American authors. Erdrichs novels are among the most frequently studied in Native American literature courses at universities throughout the country. They include Love Medicine, Tracks, The Beet Queen, and The Bingo Palace. She frequently works in collaboration with her husband, Michael Dorris, who is also a prominent Native writer, whose books include A Yellow Raft in Blue Water and The Broken Chord. They have collaborated on a novel titled The Crown of Columbus.

Gordon Henry is from White Earth Reservation in Minnesota. He is a professor of languages and literature at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan. His first novel, The Light People, is volume seven of the American Indian Literature and Critical Studies Series of the University of Oklahoma Press. Henry's creative work has appeared in a number of anthologies, including Earth Power Coming, Outside White Earth, and Earth Song, Sky Spirit: Short Stories of the Contemporary Native American Experience. He has also contributed literary work to such journals as Mid-American Review.

Basil H. Johnston is both a prolific author and a noted linguist who was born on Parry Island Reserve in Ontario, Canada. He has been a lecturer in the ethnology department of the Royal Ontario Museum since 1969. His books include Ojibway Language, a Course Outline; Ojibway Language for Beginners; a novel titled Moose Meat and Wild Rice; How the Birds Got their Colours; Tales the Elders Told; Ojibway Ceremonies; By Canoe and Moccasin: Some Native Place Names of the Great Lakes; and his most recent title, his autobiography, Indian School Days.

Jim Northrup, a widely acclaimed humorist from the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewas, has written a popular syndicated newspaper column since 1989 titled [Fond du Lac Follies.] His short stories have appeared widely in anthologies and periodicals. In 1994, he published his first collection of short stories, titled Walking the Rez Road, featuring his signature character, Luke Warmwater. The book won the 1994 Minnesota Book Award and the North Eastern Minnesota Book Award. Northrup then took his Warmwater character to the stage in a one-man show that became an immediate hit with theater audiences.

Gerald Vizenor is the dean of contemporary Ojibwe writers, and he is one of the most prolific Native American authors, as well as an energetic editor of Native literature. He teaches at the University of California at Berkeley and is coeditor of . . .

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