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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


January 11, 2003 - Issue 78


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2003 American Indian Festival of Words Author Award goes to Vine Deloria, Jr.

credits: VINE DELORIA Jr. (History & Law) & PHILIP DELORIA (History)

VINE DELORIA Jr.(History & Law) & PHILIP DELORIA (History)The American Indian Festival of Words Author Award will be given to Vine Deloria, Jr. Saturday, March 1, 2003 at 11 a.m. at the Central Library, second floor, Fourth Street and Denver Avenue

This award is given every other year by the Tulsa Library Trust. Its purpose is to give formal recognition, on behalf of the Tulsa County community, to nationally acclaimed authors of American Indian descent who have made significant contributions to contemporary literature.

The award consists of a $5,000 cash prize and a bronze medallion.

Vine Deloria Jr., a renowned author, historian, scholar, political scientist and activist, is the winner of the 2003 American Indian Festival of Words Author Award. Deloria will speak, answer questions and sign autographs at the award presentation.

An enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Deloria is the author of more than 20 books including his most popular, "Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto," which won him fame and acclaim in 1969 at the age of 36. In this national best seller, Deloria uses humor, wit and bite to deal with subjects as large as the Indian Wars by revealing how those wars continue today, and as specific as Indian tax exemptions by indicating that most tribes believe that "they paid taxes for all time when they gave up some two billion acres of land to the United States."

Throughout his prolific career, Deloria's many books, reports and articles, and his contributions as an organizer and leader have established him as the most significant voice of his generation in the presentation and analysis of contemporary American Indian affairs.

From 1964 to 1967 Deloria served as executive director of the National Congress of American Indians. That period was the incubator for "Custer Died for Your Sins." Deloria founded the Institute for the Development of Indian Law in Washington, D.C., and was a professor of American Indian studies, political science and history of law at the University of Arizona from 1978 to 1990, directing the graduate program in American Indian Policy Studies.

Although he retired from the University of Colorado, where he taught history, he serves on an array of boards, including the Intertribal Bison Council, founded to improve the health of Indians by returning them to traditional foods. He also sits on the board of the National Museum of the American Indian, scheduled to open in 2004 in Washington, D.C.

His nonfiction books include:

  • "We Talk, You Listen: New Tribes, New Turf" (1970), which advocates a return to tribal social organization and deals with issues and events of the 1960s, including the Black Power movement and the anti-Vietnam War movement
  • "God Is Red: A Native View of Religion" (1973), a controversial, insightful comparison of Indian religion and Christianity
  • "Behind the Trail of Broken Treaties: An Indian Declaration of Independence" (1974), which provides an account of events that led to the occupation of Wounded Knee, S.D., by supporters of the American Indian movement
  • "Indians of the Pacific Northwest: From the Coming of the White Man to the Present Day" (1977)
  • "American Indians, American Justice" (1983), co-written by Clifford Lytle
  • "The Nations Within: The Past and Future of American Indian Sovereignty" (1984), co-written by Clifford Lytle, which goes beyond surface realities to reveal the dimensions of the rift between the spiritual owners of the land, the Indians, and the political owners of the land, the whites.
  • "Red Earth, White Lies: Native Americans and the Myth of Scientific Fact" (1995), in which Deloria examines fundamental questions of belief and knowledge
  • "Evolution, Creationism and Other Modern Myths" (2002), which is his most recent work.

Throughout his prolific career, Deloria has received many awards and honors, most recently the 2002 Wallace Stegner Award, given by the Center of the American West for his sustained contribution to the cultural identity of the West.

Deloria lives with his wife, Barbara, in Golden, Colo.

Sponsors include: the Tulsa Library Trust is a public foundation created by private contributions to benefit Tulsa City-County Library. Income generated by the Trust's endowment is used to fund projects and purchase materials that the library could not afford through its operating budget, Tulsa City-County Library's American Indian Collection, and the Maxine and Jack Zarrow Family Foundation

The award presentation is the highlight of the American Indian Festival of Words, a month long series of educational and cultural events celebrating the stories, voices and visions of our country's native sons and daughters. The American Indian Collection hosts the festival, which is held each March.

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