Elizabeth Cook Lynn
Elizabeth Cook Lynn, a member of the Sisseton Santee Dakota who was raised on the Crow Creek Indian Reservation along the Missouri River in South Dakota is a writer, poet, and professor emerita of Native American studies at Eastern Washington University. She was born in Fort Thompson, South Dakota, and raised on the reservation. She lives in Rapid City, South Dakota. Her books include Anti-Indianism in Modern America: A Voice from Tatekeya's Earth, The Politics of Hallowed Ground (coauthored with Mario Gonzalez), and Aurelia, a Trilogy. Among her many honors is the Oyate Igluwitaya award given by Native university students in South Dakota, an award that refers to those who "aid in the ability of The People to see clearly in the company of each other."
She was one of the founding editors of Wicazo Sa Review: A Journal of Native American Studies (Red Pencil Review). She is also a member of the Council of Editors of Learned Journals and the Authors Guild. Since her retirement, Elizabeth has served as a writer-in-residence at universities around the country.
Cook-Lynn says that the Indian Wars of Resistance to the nineteenth- and twentieth-century colonial effort to seize native lands and resources must be given standing in the face of the ever-growing imperial narrative of America--because the terror the world is now witnessing may be the direct consequence of events which began in America's earliest dealings with the natives of this continent. Cook-Lynn's book Anti-Indianism in Modern America: A Voice from Tatekeya's Earth examines the ongoing and perennial relationship of conflict between colonizers and indigenous people, and it is a story that every American must read.
Cook-Lynn understands that the story of the American West teaches the political language of land theft and tyranny. She argues that to remedy this situation, Native American studies must be considered and pursued as its own discipline, rather than as a subset of history or anthropology. She makes an impassioned claim that such a shift, not merely an institutional or theoretical change, could allow Native American studies to play an important role in defending the sovereignty of indigenous nations today.
For her own writing, she believes that “Writing is an essential act of survival for contemporary American Indians.” Her writing and teaching centers on the “cultural, historical, and political survival of Indian Nations.” She also says, “The final responsibility of a writer like me … is to commit something to paper in the modern world which supports this inexhaustible legacy left by our ancestors.”