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Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, Native American scholar, and poet N. Scott Momaday has been hailed as “the dean of American Indian writers” by The New York Times. He crafts — in language and imagery — majestic landscapes of a sacred culture.
Named a UNESCO Artist for Peace and Oklahoma’s poet laureate, he was also a recipient of the 2007 National Medal of Arts for “introducing millions worldwide to the essence of Native American culture.” Momaday was the first Native American to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his novel, House Made of Dawn. His most recent volume, Again the Far Morning: New and Selected Poems, was released in 2011.
His other awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship and the “Mondello,” Italy’s highest literary honor. His works include The Way to Rainy Mountain, The Names: A Memoir, The Ancient Child, and a new collection, Three Plays, which celebrates Kiowa history and culture. He was featured in the Ken Burns documentary The West, which showcased his masterful retelling of Kiowa history and mythology.
Momaday is the founder of The Buffalo Trust, dedicated to the preservation of Native American culture and heritage. He has held tenured teaching posts at UC Berkeley, Stanford University and the University of Arizona and received an honorary Doctor of Human Letters from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Behind his printed work beats the heart of the oral storyteller, keeping alive — in myths and memories — the peoples persecuted and the land lost. “In the oral tradition,” says Momaday, “stories are not told merely to entertain or instruct. They are told to be believed. Stories are realities lived and believed. They are true.”
Dr. Momaday recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival. Presented by actor Robert Redford, the award was accompanied by a screening of Return to Rainy Mountain, a documentary by his daughter, filmmaker Jill Momaday, that recounts his life, career, and the cultural history of the Kiowa people. Additionally, PBS is producing an American Masters profile on Momaday due out in 2018.