I Do Not Apologize for the Length of This Letter: The Mari Sandoz Letters on Native American Rights, 1940-1965
By: Mari Sandoz (author), Kimberli A. Lee (contributor), John R. Wunder (foreword_author)Hardback
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A voice as resonant as her love of the Plains, a commitment even deeper. Author Mari Sandoz was as passionate about plains people as she was about language and literary acclaim. That the mastery of Crazy Horse's biographer spilled into her zealous advocacy for Native Americans is scarcely surprising. An avid letter writer, Sandoz kept carbons of everything. Fortunately these came into the Sandoz Collection at the University of Nebraska Archives, organized by Kimberli Lee, foremost expert on Sandoz's writings. Through the activist correspondence, Lee traces an intimate, long-standing interaction with tribal communities, for whom Sandoz vigorously sought social justice. Sandoz was not above using her celebrity as leverage, yet the letters prove her a respectful and responsible ally, sensitive to the communities' best interests and solicitous of Native leaders. Though Sandoz richly deserves attention, recent scholarship is scant. In arranging and analyzing this correspondence, Lee reinstates Sandoz as one of the most significant non-Native chroniclers and advocates for Plains Indian cultures.
There is much here for historians and other scholars of American Indian, Great Plains, rhetorical, and women's studies. Yet Sandoz's wider fan base should not be surprised to hearken to a voice and ardor they will find well familiar.
KIMBERLI A. LEE is a professor of English teaching in the Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures department at Michigan State University. JOHN R. WUNDER, professor of history and journalism at the University of Nebraska, is the author of five books and the editor of the multivolume Native Americans and the Law: Contemporary and Historical Perspectives on American Indian rights, Freedoms, and Sovereignty. He lives in Lincoln, Nebraska.
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