FEBRUARY 27, 1934


Momaday’s mother was part Cherokee; father, full-blooded Kiowa. Raised in Arizona, Scott learned Kiowa, Navajo, Apache & Pueblo traditions. With a Bachelor’s degree from Univ. of New Mexico (1958), and English Literature Masters (1961) & Doctorate (1963) from Stanford, he taught at Univ. of California (UCal)-Santa Barbara before earning a Guggenheim Fellowship at Harvard. Teaching at UCal-Berkeley (1969), he created an American Indian literature & mythology curriculum. His 1969 novel, House Made of Dawn, earned a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Books of poetry include: In the Bear’s House (1999); In the Presence of the Sun: Stories and Poems, 1961-1991 (1992); and The Gourd Dancer (1976). Author of novels, prose collections, a children’s book, and a play, his awards include: Ken Burns American Heritage Prize; Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award; OK Centennial Poet Laureate; National Medal of Arts (both, 2007); and National Native American Hall of Fame (2018).

Sources:  “N. Scott Momaday,” National Endowment for the Arts, 2007.  Retrieved 6/5/2021, N. Scott Momaday | National Endowment for the Arts
“N. Scott Momaday, 1934-  , poets.org.  Retrieved 6/5/2021, About N. Scott Momaday | Academy of American Poets
Photo: Michael Stewart, NEA, 11/15/2007.  Public Domain.

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