Paula Gunn Allen
Deceased May 29th 2008
Paula Gunn Allen (1939-2008)'s work has been central to the foundation of American Indian Literary Studies. She received the first advanced degree in that area of scholarship, and directed the first comprehensive scholarly and pedagogical seminar on the discipline for the Modern Language Association of America and The National Foundation for the Humanities in 1977. She received a number of awards for her work including a Lannan Foundation Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the Native American Prize for Literature, and the Before Columbus Foundation National Book Award. Gunn Allen also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writer's Circle of the Americas in 2001. She edited several critical volumes on American Indian Literature and written groundbreaking essays, poetry, and fiction that have quickly become a part of literary canon, including The Sacred Hoop: Recovering the Feminine in American Indian Traditions (Beacon, 1996) and The Woman Who Owned The Shadows (1984). Most recently she has contributed to Hozho: Walking in Beauty, Short Stories by American Indian Writers (2001), Writing the Southwest (2003) and Pocahontas: Medicine Woman, Spy, Entrepreneur (2003), which received a Pulitzer Prize nomination in 2004. Gunn Allen has become a leading voice in American Indian scholarship and creative writing for the past three decades, and is widely cited as an authoritative voice in works on American Indian Literature, women's issues, and eco-conscious spirituality.