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D'Arcy McNickle Biography

(1904–77), Surrounded, Runner in the Sun, Wind from an Enemy Sky, They Came Here First

american indian native tribal

Native American writer of mixed Cree/Salish and white descent, born in St Agnatius, Montana, educated intermittently at universities in Montana, Oxford, and Grenoble. Active in Indian affairs throughout his life, McNickle worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (193652) and was chair of the Division of Social Sciences of the University of Saskatchewan, Regina (196571); he cofounded the National Congress of American Indians, and was the first director of the Center for the History of the American Indian at the Newberry Library. The experience of federal government Indian policy informs his three novels, and each deals with the conflict between white and tribal cultures from different perspectives. Surrounded (1936) describes the impact of the loss of tribal lands upon the values and communal identity of the tribe. In this work, and in Runner in the Sun (1954), his second novel, McNickle uses a lone figure who finds himself an embodiment of his tribal heritage. Wind from an Enemy Sky (1978) contrasts traditionalist and assimilationist world-views, expressing McNickle's pessimistic view of intercultural relations. He published a number of Native American histories, including They Came Here First (1949), The Tribes of the United States (1962), and Native American Tribalism (1973). Indian Man (1971) is a biography of Oliver La Farge. See Native American Literature.

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