Chickasaw Nation selected Sovereign Nation of the Year by Native Writers Group

Staff Reports / Indian Country Today
3/31/08

EAST LANSING, Mich. - A Native writers and storytellers group lauded the Chickasaw Nation as Sovereign Nation of the Year during the group;s national conference in March.

Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers honored the Chickasaw Nation for implementing tribal programs that reflect the group's mission: to ensure the voices of Native writers and storytellers, past, present and future, are heard throughout the world.

''We are overwhelmed at the steps the Chickasaw Nation has taken to ensure Native voices are heard,'' Kimberly Roppolo, Wordcraft national director, said.

The group selected the Chickasaw Nation for the prestigious award for creating the Chickasaw Press and employing Linda Hogan as writer-in-residence for the tribe.

Roppolo described the works of the Chickasaw Nation as inspirational.

''The Chickasaw Nation is doing all of these wonderful things to make sure all those voices are heard. I am overwhelmed,'' she said.

Other tribes across the country could follow the Chickasaw Nation's example, she added.

Wordcraft was founded in 1992 upon the idea that the Native Voices project is important to defining Native people of all ages through writing and storytelling, to keep the traditions, culture and communities

strong and vibrant.

The Chickasaw Press serves as an avenue for Native writers and storytellers to share their stories with both Native people and the world. Two of the three books published by the Chickasaw Press to date have received extensive recognition.

Hogan, Chickasaw, will soon be joining the Chickasaw Nation as the writer-in-residence with the Division of Arts and Humanities. In this newly created position, Hogan will be working on her own writing projects as well as projects for the Chickasaw Nation. She will continue some of her regular speaking engagements and will serve as a presenter at the tribe's Clemente Humanities class, Chickasaw Summer Arts Academy and writing workshops.

The award was formally conferred at Wordcraft's national Native writer's conference, ''Returning the Gift'' conducted at Michigan State University March 15.

Lona Barrick, tribal arts and humanities administrator, accepted the citation on the behalf of the Chickasaw Nation and Gov. Bill Anoatubby. Chickasaw Nation traditional storyteller Lorie Robins also attended the event.

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