This short list is a quick handout for a panel at the Montana Festival of the Book on the 29 of September in Missoula. I'm white, but these are the NA writers who have impressed me over the past couple of decades.
One of the major issues has been whether non-Indians should or could write about Indians. Because the definition of an Indian is so complex (blood, culture, rez-idence, passion, etc.) the whole matter has kind of died down to embers, but it flares back up now and then, as in the case of Ward Churchill.
The more important issue, to my mind, has been why there was such a storm of writing for a while, but then it all sort of fizzled out. I feel confident that if you read the work of this list of people, you'd just want more and more of it, though one book is not like the next. You'll have to find them online, but that's very possible.
Warning: may contain white men/women
ASSIMILATED TO THE FICTION SHELVES
These three writers are known to people who don’t even think of Native American writing, but just like a good yarn. They are best selling and are normally shelved with regular novels. The media loves them and often does stories about them.
James Welch, Jr.
M. Scott Momaday
Both of these men, young, handsome and educated professors, crashed in suicide, giving great pain to the many who loved them, both readers and students.
Not nearly so well known as they ought to be, both writers are professors as well as writers.
Debra Magpie Earling
Both of these very popular men do satire with flair and bite. Kinsella is white.
Proud and competent, these powerful writers are people you want on your side.
Both writers were there and told about it afterwards.
Delphine Red Shirt
Woody was both in Vietnam and Wounded Knee, Phillip was in Vietnam, and Silko wrote the archetypal war-recovery novel.
Phillip Red Eagle
Leslie Marmon Silko
Joe and Carter have been guides and encouragers for many NA writers. Joe’s family operated a press for many years. Both are extraordinary writers and people.
These guys really come out swinging and land their punches. Churchill turns out to be white but an honorary member of a tribe so he can sell his “Indian” art without being arrested, since it is illegal for whites to misrepresent “Indian” art.
Vine Deloria, Jr. (Gone now and much missed!)
Harjo plays the sax. Susan writes about grass dancing.
Everyone knows Sherman. Louis is the author of “Skins,” which became a movie. Few know Marie who often does a stand-up act in Vancouver, B.C., and is wilder than the men.
Marie Annharte Baker
Go to Abebooks or Alibris and Google these names. You won’t be sorry!
Compiled off the top of the head of Mary Scriver