BORN: January 18, 1904, St. Ignatius, Montana
DIED: October 18, 1977, Albuquerque, New Mexico
IDENTIFICATION: Mid-twentieth-century Native American novelist, biographer, historian, anthropologist, administrator, and activist.
One of the first Native American novelists, D'Arcy McNickle is also regarded as one of the best. His realistic fiction depicts the hard lives of rural Americans on reservations, farms, and ranches during the Great Depression of the 1930s. His sensitive stories detailing the consequences of Euro-American ethnocentrism neither romanticize nor demonize Native Americans. Although he was successful as a writer, McNickle is equally remembered for his efforts to improve the prospects of Native American peoples through his service in the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), his organization of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), and his development of the Center for the History of the American Indian at Newberry Library in Chicago.