but deliberately, earn the trust of Native American people, never
promise the impossible, and "let native people participate in
their story as fully as possible," said author and journalist
out of the way of the narrative," he said of his writing. "Let their
story come to the reader as directly as possible without my fingerprints."
hopes to do the same in Chicago on July 1, by accepting a civil
rights award from the National Education Association on behalf of
Native women whose vital histories mostly have been neglected.
a teacher and writer, Joe Starita shares the unsung achievements
of Native Americans," said association President Dennis Van Roekel.
"His books are a must-read to better understand Native Americans,
their heritage and their contributions to American life and history."
is the author of "I Am a Man: Chief Standing Bear's Journey for
Justice," the 2010 One Book - One Lincoln selection, and "The Dull
Knifes of Pine Ridge: A Lakota Odyssey," a 1996 Pulitzer nominee.
is native women who as poets, leaders, teachers, warriors and mothers
have kept their culture going, Starita said.
nation is not conquered until the hearts of its women lay on the
ground," he said, quoting a Northern Cheyenne proverb.
want to accept this award on behalf of all the Winona LaDukes, Wilma
Mankillers, Vida Stablers and Judi gaiashkiboses."
a strong culture could survive the maladies thrust upon Natives:
disease, massacre, starvation, alcoholism, unemployment.
it is those very women who century after century were the glue that
kept this culture intact," said Starita, a professor in the University
of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications.
2009, Starita began the "Native Daughters" project as a way to help
students examine the roles Native American women have played in
Indian history, culture, art, medicine and politics.
hopes these stories and today's generation of Native women will
inspire "that 16-year-old girl on the Winnebago Reservation who
might be tempted to lay her heart on the ground" and give up, but
won't because she is inspired by Danelle Smith, a Winnebago woman
attorney at a powerful Omaha law firm.
will be honored with the Leo Reano Memorial Award at the National
Education Association's annual Human and Civil Rights Awards dinner.
Reano (1922-1971) was a teacher, artist and interpreter who dedicated
his life to securing educational opportunities for American Indian
and Alaska Native children.