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My spouse, Diane, and I just spent our 25th wedding anniversary at an event at the American Academy of Arts & Letters in NYC. I was inducted in 2015—a great honor. Here we are, silver year wife and husband, celebrating in the portrait room. That place is astonishing. Hundreds of portraits of the greatest American writers and artists. As expected, there are a ton of white guys on the walls. Deservedly so. But the Academy is also diversifying. This year’s amazing inductees include Suzan-Lori Parks, Claudia Rankine, Edward P. Jones, and Natasha Trethewey.

Louise Erdrich is also a member, so there are two Indian writers in the Academy! She wasn’t in attendance that night. But I am proud that my portrait is on the wall with hers. I hope that we’ll be joined in the Academy by other urban and reservation indigenous writers.

My wife is enrolled Hidatsa and also Ho Chunk and Potawatomi. I am enrolled Spokane and also Coeur d’Alene, Colville, and Salish-Kootenai. So, on that celebratory night, seven different Indian tribes did some literary fancydancing at the Academy of Arts & Letters.


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