Howard Bass is the Cultural Arts Manager at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC, producing programs that feature traditional and contemporary Native music, dance, theater, storytelling, artist demonstrations, and writers. Bass is also a nationally renowned lute player and a founder of La Rondinella, an ensemble dedicated to Sephardic and medieval music.
Actress Irene Bedard first gained prominence as the voice of Pocahontas (1995) in the Disney film of the same name. The animators also used Bedard as the model for the character. She has appeared in many movies and television shows including Lakota Woman: Siege at Wounded Knee (1994), Smoke Signals (1998), and The New World (2005). Her heritage is Inupiat Eskimo and Metis.
Kimberly Blaeser is a writer, poet, and professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She grew up on the White Earth Reservation in northwestern Minnesota and is a member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. Her books include three collections of poetry, including Trailing You (1994), which won the Native Writer's Circle of the Americas First Book Award.
Louise Erdrich's first novel, Love Medicine, won the 1984 National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. Born in Minnesota and raised in North Dakota, Erdrich is of German, French and Ojibwe ancestry. Her other novels include The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse (2001), The Plague of Doves (2008), and LaRose (2016). She has written many other novels, poetry, short stories, children's books, and a memoir. She is the owner of Birchbark Books in Minneapolis.
Tony Fitzpatrick is an actor, poet, radio talk-show host, printmaker, and artist. His artwork can be found in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Miami. His books include The Wonder: Portraits of a Remembered City (2005) and Max and Gaby's Alphabet (2001), co-written with Jonathan Demme and Mickey Cartin.
Josephine Reed is Media Producer at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). She has been program director of the book and contemporary theater channel at XM Satellite Radio and a long-time producer and host of a literary public radio show heard in the Washington, DC, area.
Amy Tan is best known for her novel The Joy Luck Club (1989), a Big Read selection. Other notable works include The Kitchen God's Wife (1991), The Bonesetter's Daughter (2001), The Opposite of Fate (2003) and The Valley of Amazement (2013), as well as children's books, including Sagwa, The Chinese Siamese Cat (1994).
Anton Treuer is a writer and a professor of Ojibwe language and culture at Bemidji State University. His many books include Living Our Language: Ojibwe Tales & Oral Histories (2001), Omaa Akiing (2002) and Atlas of Indian Nations (2014). He is a member of the Ojibwe nation from the Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota.
Born on the Cattarugus Indian Reservation in New York, Laura Waterman Wittstock has spent her life as a political activist for Native Americans. She founded MIGIZI Communications, a radio news service in the Midwest Great Lakes area for native peoples, where she produces and hosts "First Person Radio." She was director of the American Indian Press Association.