Elizabeth Cook-Lynn


Elizabeth Cook-Lynn, a member of the Crow Creek Sioux tribe, was born in 1930 in Fort Thompson, South Dakota, and raised on the reservation. She is Professor Emerita of English and Native American Studies at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Washington. She comes from a family of Sioux politicians - her father and grandfather served on the Crow Creek Sioux Tribal Council for many years - and from Native scholars. Her grandmother was a bilingual writer for early Christian-oriented newspapers at Sisseton, SD, and a great-grandfather, Gabriel Renville, was a Native linguist instrumental in developing early Dacotah language dictionaries.

Elizabeth did her undergraduate work at South Dakota State College (now South Dakota State University) in English and Journalism, graduating with a BA in English and journalism in 1952. She studied at New Mexico State University in 1966 and at Black Hills State College in 1968. She obtained her Masters of Education from the University of South Dakota in Education, Psychology and Counseling in 1971. She was in a doctoral program at the University of Nebraska in 1977-78 and was a National Endowment for the Humanities fellow at Stanford University in 1976.

Elizabeth has taught high school in New Mexico and South Dakota. She has been a Visiting Professor at the University of California at Davis. She spent most of her academic career at Eastern Washington University in Cheney from 1971 until her retirement, where she was Professor of English and Native American Studies. She became Professor Emerita in 1990. With Beatrice Medicine, Roger Buffalohead and William Willard, she was one of the founding editors of Wicazo Sa Review: A Journal of Native American Studies (Red Pencil Review). She is also a member of the Council of Editors of Learned Journals, and the Authors Guild.

Since her retirement, Elizabeth has served as a writer-in-residence at universities around the country. In the fall of 1993, she and N. Scott Momaday held a workshop at South Dakota State University for Sioux writers. From this workshop came a journal, Woyake Kinikiya: A Tribal Model Literary Journal, introduced by six of Elizabeth's poems.

For her own writing, she believes that "Writing is an essential act of survival for contemporary American Indians." Her writing and teaching centers on the "cultural, historical, and political survival of Indian Nations." She also says, "The final responsibility of a writer like me . . . is to commit something to paper in the modern world which supports this inexhaustible legacy left by our ancestors." Besides the books and anthologies listed below, her work has been published in numerous journals, including Prairie Schooner, South Dakota Review, Sun Tracks, Pembroke, Greenfield Review, Ethnic Studies Review. American Indian Quarterly, CCCCand Wicazo Sa Review.

For the spring term, 2000, Elizabeth will be at Arizona State University as a Visiting Professor and a consultant in the development of Native American Studies curricula.

A list of Elizabeth's journal articles is available.

A short biography from the Internet Public Library's Native American Author's Project is available.

Portrait by Kenny Blackbird, used with the permission of Indian Artist Magazine.


Elizabeth was chosen to receive the 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award by the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas.

Elizabeth received the Literary Contribution Award for 2002 from the Mountain Plains Library Association. It will be presented at Tri-Conference in Fargo, ND October 4, 2002. (MPLA/NDLA/SDLA)

In 1978, Elizabeth was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship which she spent at Stanford University.

In 1995, Elizabeth was awarded the Oyate Igluwitaya by the Native American Club at South Dakota State University. Oyate Igluwitaya means "to make one's self see or think clearly in the company of others, particularly The People, the Oyate.".

Elizabeth's book, Why I Can't Read Wallace Stegner and Other Essays : A Tribal Voice, was cited for a Gustavus Myers Award by the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study Of Bigotry and Human Rights in North America at Boston University.

Writing available online

Mount Rushmore
At Dawn, Sitting in My Father's House
American Indian intellectualism and the new Indian story, (Writing About American Indians), An article from: The American Indian Quarterly
A 'desecration tour' now awaits travelers who visit the sacred Black Hills
from Indian Country Today Magazine
Review of Ray A. Young Bear's Remnants of the First Earth, from Indian Country Today Magazine


Books by Elizabeth Cook-Lynn or containing her work       icon

Anti-Indianism in Modern America: A Voice from Tatekeya's Earth,
University of Illinois Press.
Aurelia : A Crow Creek Trilogy, University Press of Colorado.
I Remember the Fallen Trees : New and Selected Poems , Eastern Washington University Press. [Hardcover]
The Politics of Hallowed Ground : Wounded Knee and the Struggle for Indian Sovereignty,
with Mario Gonzalez, University of Illinois Press. (Hardcover)
Why I Can't Read Wallace Stegner and Other Essays : A Tribal Voice,
University of Wisconsin Press.
Page on this book from the University of Wisconsin Press website.
Review by Lydia Whirlwind Soldier in the Tribal College Journal
Review of Why I Can't Read Wallace Stegner and Other Essays : A Tribal Voice by Ruth Bayard Smith in the New York Times.
Review of Why I Can't Read Wallace Stegner by Kathleen Alcalá, in the Raven Chronicles.
Review of Why I Can't Read Wallace Stegner by Hayward Allen in Flagstaff Live
From the River's Edge, Arcade Pub.
The Power of Horses and Other Stories, Arcade Pub.
Seek the House of Relatives, Blue Cloud Quarterly Press.
Then Badger Said This, Ye Galleon Press.

Anthologies Containing Elizabeth's Writing       icon

Sister Nations, Heid Erdrich and Laura Tohe (Editors), New Rivers Press. [Available now.]
Natives and Academics: Researching and Writing about American Indians
Edited by Devon A. Mihesuah, University of Nebraska Press.
Color Line to Borderlands: Ethnic Studies in Higher Education, Johnella E. Butler (Editor)
University of Washington Press. [Forthcoming August 2001]
Reinventing the Enemy's Language : Contemporary Native Women's Writing of North America
(Editors Joy Harjo and Gloria Bird), W.W. Norton.
Smoke Rising : The Native North American Literary Companion,
Janet Witalec, Visible Ink Press.
The Literary Horse; Great Modern Stories about Horses,
Lilly Golden (Editor), Atlantic Monthly Press.
Voices Under One Sky : Contemporary Native Literature,
Trish Fox Roman (Editor), Crossing Press.
The Writer's Perspective : Voices from American Cultures,
Maria Cecilia Freeman (Editor), Prentice Hall.
Talking Leaves : Contemporary Native American Short Stories
Craig Lesley, Katheryn Stavrakis (Editor) Dell Books
Talking Up a Storm: Voices of the New West,
Gregory L. Morris (Editor), Univ of Nebraska Press.
As Far As I Can See : Contemporary Writing of the Middle Plains,
Charles L. Woodard (Editor), Windflower Press.
Spider Woman's Granddaughters: Traditional Tales and Contemporary Writing
by Native American Women Paula Gunn Allen, Fawcett Books
Unsettling America : An Anthology of Contemporary Multicultural Poetry,
Maria M. Gillan, Jennifer Gillan (Editors), Penguin USA
Harper's Anthology of 20th Century Native American Poetry
Duane Niatum (Editor), HarperCollins
A Gathering of Spirit : A Collection by North American Indian Women
Beth Brant (Editor), Firebrand Books (Hardcover)
Wounds Beneath the Flesh, Maurice Kenny (Editor), White Pine Press.
The New Native American Novel : Works in Progress,
Mary Bartlett (Editor), University of New Mexico Press
Songs from This Earth on Turtle's Back : An Anthology of Poetry by American Indian Writers
by Joseph Bruchac (Editor), Greenfield Review Press
The Remembered Earth : An Anthology of Contemporary Native American Literature
by Geary Hobson (Editor), Univ of New Mexico Press
The Third Woman : Minority Women Writers of the United States,
Dexter Fisher, Houghton Mifflin Co.

Textbooks       icon

Living in the USA: Cultural Contexts for Reading and Writing,
Kathleen Shine Cain, Prentice Hall.

Books & Articles Containing Interviews with Elizabeth or Writing About Her Work       icon

Contemporary Authors : Biography - Cook-Lynn, Elizabeth (1930-), Thomson Gale
Anti-Indianism in Modern America: A Voice from Tatekeya's Earth, (Book Review) by Craig S. Womack, An article from: The American Indian Quarterly
The teller and the tale: history and the oral tradition in Elizabeth Cook-Lynn's: Aurelia: A Crow Creek Trilogy, by Page Rozellek, An article from: The American Indian Quarterly
"Acts of Survival: An Interview with Elizabeth Cook-Lynn," Jamie Sullivan, Bloomsbury Review,
13, Jan.-Feb., 1993.
'"We Think in Terms of What Is Fair": Justice versus "Just Compensation"
in Elizabeth Cook-Lynn's From the River's Edge' by James Stripes, Wicaso Sa, 12, 1, Spring 1997.
"We need to find out who our people are, not just who I am,"
an interview with Gloria Bird, Indian Artist, Spring 1995.
"The Uses of Oral Tradition in Six Contemporary Native American Poets," James Ruppert,
American Indian Culture and Research Journal, 4, No. 4, 1980, 87-110.
Native American Writers of the United States, (Dictionary of Literary Biography, V. 175),
Kenneth M. Roemer (Editor), Gale Research.
I Tell You Now : Autobiographical Essays by Native American Writers
Brian Swann, Arnold Krupat, Brompton Books Corp.
Here First
Arnold Krupat & Brian Swann (Editors), Random House (Not Yet Available)
Handbook of Native American Literature
Andrew Wiget (Editor), Garland Publications.
Native America : Portrait of the Peoples, Duane Champagne, Visible Ink Press.
The Native North American Almanac : A Reference Work on Native North Americans in the United States and Canada,
Duane Champagne (Editor), Gale Research.
Reference Encyclopedia of the American Indian,
Barry T. Klein, Todd Pubns.
Native North American Literature: Biographical and Critical Information on Native Writers and Orators from the United States and Canada from History,
Janet Witalec, Jeffery Chapman (Editors), Gale Research.
Native American Women : A Biographical Dictionary,
Gretchen M. Bataille, Laurie Lisa (Editors), Garland Pub.
American Indian Women : A Guide to Research,
Gretchen M. Bataille, Kathleen M. Sands, Garland Pub.
The Sacred Hoop : Recovering the Feminine in American Indian Traditions
Paula Gunn Allen, Beacon Press.
Survival This Way: Interviews With American Indian Poets
Joseph Bruchac III (Editor), (Sun Tracks Books, No 15) University of Arizona Press.

In Association with Amazon.com

This is an "official" site in that this page was constructed with the assistance and active collaboration of the poet, Elizabeth Cook-Lynn. The website "author" is Karen M. Strom.

© 1997 Elizabeth Cook-Lynn and Karen Strom.

icon Return to the Storytellers Frontdoor