Cook-Lynn, Elizabeth

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Cook-Lynn, Elizabeth

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Elizabeth Cook-Lynn was born in 1930 in Fort Thompson, SD on the Crow Creek Indian Reservation. She is an enrolled member of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe. She currently lives near Rapid City, SD.

Cook-Lynn earned her bachelor's degree from South Dakota State College (now South Dakota State University) in 1952, graduating with a BA in English and Journalism. In 1971 she completed her Masters of Education in Psychology and Counseling at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion. She also attended the University of Nebraska in 1977-1978, enrolled in a doctorate program.

Cook-Lynn has taught high school in both South Dakota and New Mexico. Beginning in 1971 she taught English and Native American Studies at the Eastern Washington University in Cheney, WA until her retirement in 1990. She is now a Professor Emerita. After her retirement, she also taught at the University of California at Davis as a Visiting Professor. While at Eastern Washington University, Cook-Lynn, along with Beatrice Medicine, Roger Buffalohead and William Willard, founded the Wicazo Sa Review: A Journal of Native American Studies. She also speaks at various conferences throughout the United States on issues relating to Native Americans, as well as at literary gatherings and conferences to discuss her works. Along with Dr. Charles Woodard, she organizes a yearly writers retreat for Dakota/Lakota/Nakota writers at Oak Lake Field Station, near Brookings, SD.

Cook-Lynn is now a full time writer and has published works in a number of different genres. Her writings deal primarily with stories and situations relative to the Native American experience. Cook-Lynn's first publications were in 1983 with Then Badger Said This, and Seek the House of Relatives, compilations of short stories and poetry. Her next work, The Power of Horses and Other Stories is a collection of short stories and was published in 1990. She continued to write and work on her fiction after that publication, and completed From the River's Edge in 1991, finishing that series with Aurelia: a Crow Creek trilogy, published in 1999. Between the completion of that trilogy, Cook-Lynn published some of her non-fiction works. Her book Why I Can't Read Wallace Stegner and Other Essays: a Tribal Voice was published in 1996, and in 1998 she published both The Politics of Hallowed Ground: Wounded Knee and the Struggle for Indian Sovereignty, written with Mario Gonzalez, and a work of poetry, I Remember the Fallen Trees: New and Selected Poems.

Some of Cook-Lynn's works have been included in anthologies of Native American literature, including Harper's Anthology of 20th Century Native American Poetry, ed. Duane Niatum, HarperCollins, and Reinventing the Enemy's Language: Contemporary Native Women's Writing of North America, ed. Gloria Bird and Joy Harjo, W. W. Norton. In addition to these works, Cook-Lynn has also had published numerous book reviews and articles including journal articles and newspaper editorials. She is considered a leader for her Crow Creek Sioux Tribe because of her outstanding contributions to Native rights through exposing and detailing the Native experience through her writing and speeches.

Cook-Lynn has received a number of awards for her writing. She received the Literary Contribution Award for 2002 for the Mountain Plains Library Association. In 1995 she received the Oyate Igluwitaya from the Native American Club at SDSU. She was awarded a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1978. Her work, Why I Can't Read Wallace Stegner and Other Essays: A Tribal Voice was cited for a Gustavus Myers Award at Boston University from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights in North America.


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