American Indian Studies and English, University of Illinois
LeAnne Howe, an enrolled citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, born and raised in Oklahoma. She writes short fiction, poetry, screenplays, scholarship, and plays that deal with American Indian experiences. The award-winning author of two novels, a book of poems, screenwriter for two film documentaries, and plays, Howe appeared in 2007 on Jon Stewart's The Daily Show on Comedy Central in a news segment about sports mascots titled, Trail of Cheers. [She's afraid this might be the pinnacle of her career.] Currently she's a Professor of English, American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois, and former Director of the MFA program in Creative Writing. She makes her homes in Ada, Oklahoma; Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, and most recently Amman, Jordan.
I have worked, studied and lived abroad, and I don't mean just outside the bounds of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. (A rather ridiculous statement to make, I know, but I'm trying to suggest that collaborating with people and tribes that are unique, and profoundly different, is a way of life in Oklahoma where there are some 36 tribal nations.) I've also studied, and lived outside of the United States. Beginning in 1992, I went on a month-long study tour to Palestine and Jordan; in 1993 I received an Invitation from the Okayama Buraku Liberation Research Institute, in conjunction with Hosei University in Tokyo, for a one-month speaking tour in Japan to commemorate the United Nation's "International Year For The World's Indigenous People." I stayed in the homes of Burakumin people in small towns throughout Japan and have tried to bring back home what I've learned -- and apply it to my teaching. In 2010-2011, I returned to Jordan as a J. William Fulbright Scholar, teaching graduate students at the University of Jordan, and conducting research on American Indians that traveled to the Middle East in the first decade of the twentieth century. All this is to say that my home training and academic life have shaped me thus far, but I still have much to learn and many roads left to travel. NAISA is an organization that is also still growing and developing. To that end, I offer my hands, heart, and service.