P. Jane Hafen


Dr. P. Jane Hafen (Taos Pueblo) is a Professor of English at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She serves as an advisory editor of Great Plains Quarterly, on the editorial board of Michigan State University Press, American Indian Series, on the board of the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, and is an Associate Fellow at the Center for Great Plains Studies. She is a Frances C. Allen Fellow at the D'Arcy McNickle Center for the History of the American Indian in the Newberry Library, and is a Clan Mother of the Native American Literature Symposium. She received the William H. Morris Teaching Award for the College of Liberal Arts, UNLV. She edited Dreams and Thunder: Stories, Poems and The Sun Dance Opera by Zitkala-Ša, co-edited The Great Plains Reader, and is the author of Reading Louise Erdrich’s Love Medicine, as well as numerous articles and book chapters about American Indian Literatures. Jane also edited a collection of essays, Critical Insights: Louise Erdrich.

Photo credit: UNLV



Three women standout as early American Indian writers in the West. Jane Schoolcraft, whose poetry has recently come to light, was the Ojibwe wife of an non-Indian Agent. She is the first literary writer of American Indian experience. Nevada’s own Sarah Winnemucca, Pyramid Lake Paiute, wrote an autobiography, Life Among the Piutes, Their Rights and Claims, which is more a tribal narrative than a personal memoir. Zitkala-Ša, Gertrude Simmons Bonnin, is widely known for her boarding school narratives from the late nineteenth century. These three women were groundbreaking writers as they made transitions from orality and indigenous languages to literacy and persuasive English. Not only did they reveal their own lives, but they outline Indian relations in American History.

Appropriate Audience:  Adults; high school students.

Duration: C. 1 hour.

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Categories: Nevada, literature, native-American interest, women’s interest