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Robert E. Walls: Indigenous Books in the Pacific Northwest: Why Do They Matter?

April 21 @ 2:00 pm PDT

Sponsored by The Book Club of Washington

About the Event

The Annual Meeting is a great way to reconnect with fellow members. We transact a little business, including making awards to students, and enjoy a special presentation that is the inspiration for a related keepsake. The event is open to the public via Zoom.

This year our featured speaker is educator and scholar Robert E. Walls, whose topic will be “Indigenous Books in the Pacific Northwest: Why Do They Matter?” His article “Indigenous Book History in the Pacific Northwest” appeared in the Spring 2023 issue of¬†The Journal.

This presentation will be a short introduction to the earliest writing and publishing projects of Indigenous people in the Pacific Northwest. Many residents of the region are familiar with the diverse representations of local Indigenous lifeways, from the elegant volumes and photographs of Edward Curtis, to the postcards and curios of the area’s emergent tourist industry, to ethnographic accounts by anthropologists. Yet shortly after treaties were signed in the 1850s, Native people adopted the power of print to publish ancestral histories, fiction, poetry, and political tracts from their own Indigenous perspectives. What is the history of Northwest Indigenous books? How does it relate to Indigenous writing in other areas of North America? Why does this legacy of Indigenous publishing matter?

About the Speaker

Robert Walls was born and raised in the New York City area, but fled to the West and studied anthropology at the University of Washington. After working in a Seattle bookstore for five years, he attended Indiana University where he received his Ph.D. From the early 1990s to 2021 he taught Indigenous Studies and Environmental Studies at Lafayette College, the University of South Carolina, and the University of Notre Dame. He is the author and editor of three books, most recently Resilience Through Writing: A Bibliographic Guide to Indigenous-Authored Publications in the Pacific Northwest before 1960. He is married to the Thoreauvian scholar, Laura Dassow Walls. The hardest thing they ever did was downsize when they recently moved back to the Northwest, selling and donating over 10,000 books in their collection. Fortunately, they kept the best ones, which they use regularly at their home in Edmonds.

Register here: https://www.bookclubofwashington.org/events-1/annual-meeting-with-presentation-by-robert-e-walls