Vizenor, author and White Earth enrollee, was recently presented
the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle
of the Americas. Vizenor, a member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe
from White Earth, is a prolific writer. He has authored works of
fiction, nonfiction, poetry, essays, textbooks, and contributed
to numerous anthologies. He has been a professor at Lake Forest
College, Bemidji State University, University of Minnesota, University
of Oklahoma, University of California, Berkeley, and the University
of California, Santa Cruz.
efforts have been recognized with numerous awards:
1983, his screenplay Harold of Orange won the Film-in-the-Cities
national competition, Robert Redford Sundance Film Institute.
The film also won Best Film at the San Francisco Film Festival
for American Indian Films.
1988, Gerald received the New York Fiction Collective Prize
and an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation
for his novel Griever: An American Monkey King in China.
1989, he has received an Artists Fellowship in Literature from
the California Arts Council, an award for professional achievement
1990, he was awarded the PEN Oakland, Josephine Miles Award,
Excellence in Literature, for Interior Landscapes: Autobiographical
Myths and Metaphors, University of Minnesota Press, in 1990.
1996, he was again awarded the PEN Oakland, Josephine Miles
Award, Excellence in Literature, for Native American Literature,
an anthology, HarperCollins College Publishers.
his acceptance speech, he described his art as follows: Literature
has been my fantasy and practice for more than fifty years, and
for most of that time, literature has been my solemn, wordy, ironic
trouble, and my profession as a journalist and teacher.
works of fiction include Chancers, The Heirs of Columbus,
and Earthdivers: Tribal Narratives on Mixed Descent. Nonfiction
titles include Interior Landscapes: Autobiographical Myths
and Metaphors, The Everlasting Sky: New Voices from the
People Named the Chippewa, and Touchwood: A Collection
of Ojibway Prose. Poetic works include Empty Swings (Haiku
in English Series), and Summer in the Spring: Anishinaabe
Lyric Poems and Stories.
Vizenor was born in Minneapolis. He is an enrolled member of the
Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, White Earth Reservation. Vizenor attended
New York University for one year, transferring to the University
of Minnesota where he earned his B.A. in 1960. His graduate studies
include University of Minnesota and Harvard University. His career
includes work for the Minnesota Department of Corrections, and
the Minneapolis Tribune. Vizenor's teaching career includes professorships
at Lake Forest College, Bemidji State University, University of
Minnesota, University of Oklahoma, University of California, Berkeley,
and the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Vizenor - Minnesota Authors Biography Project
Vizenor was four years old, his father was murdered, he lived
in several foster homes, he moved back in with his mother and
stepfather, he was abandoned by his mother (although later they
reconciled), and, when he was fifteen years old, his stepfather
was killed in a work accident. His father was Anishinaabe (Chippewa),
and Vizenor spent considerable time on the White Earth Reservation
in northern Minnesota with his father's family.