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Michael A. Dorris (Michael Anthony Dorris) Biography

(1945–1997), (Michael Anthony Dorris)

Native American novelist, critic, and anthropologist of the Modoc Tribe, born in Dayton, Washington, educated at Georgetown University and Yale; in 1983 he was appointed professor of Native American Studies at Dartmouth. In 1971 Dorris became the first unmarried man to adopt a child; the story of his son's life is juxtaposed with an account of the physical, mental, and social devastation caused by alcohol abuse in Native American communities in The Broken Cord: A Family's Ongoing Struggle with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (1989). His first novel, A Yellow Raft in Blue Water (1987), deals with the lives of three generations of Native American women and explores the family tensions and social upheavals of the transition from reservation to urban living. Dorris has collaborated with his wife, Louise Erdrich, and his first novel shares Erdrich's use of multiple narrators each of whom tells their story in their own idiomatic style. The Crown of Columbus (1991), the first novel to appear under both names, is a mystery thriller which follows the quest for Christopher Columbus's lost diary and his mythical crown. Among his other works are Native Americans: 500 Years After (1975), A Guide to Research in Native American Studies (1984), Paper Trail: Essays (1994), and the children's book Morning Girl (1992). See also Native American Literature.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Hilda Doolittle (H. D.) Biography to Dutch