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Elizabeth Cook-Lynn Papers


Elizabeth Cook-Lynn Papers

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Collection Summary


MA 42


Elizabeth Cook-Lynn Papers


Elizabeth Cook-Lynn




16.21 linear feet (16 records center boxes, 1 oversized box) photographs, electronic records




South Dakota State University Archives and Special Collections, Hilton M. Briggs Library, Brookings, South Dakota.

Access note

This collection is open to researchers without restrictions. The materials in the Archives do not circulate and may be used in-house only.

Preferred Citation

Name of item . Elizabeth Cook-Lynn papers. MA 42. South Dakota State University Archives and Special Collections, Hilton M. Briggs Library, Brookings, South Dakota.


Elizabeth Cook-Lynn is an editor, essayist, poet, novelist, and academic, and member of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe. She has been a voice within the discipline of Native American Studies, Native Studies, Indigenous Studies, Native American politics, particularly in regards to tribal sovereignty. Biographical material, poetry, book reviews; material related to her teaching career, research projects & other activities; material related to the Wicazo Sa Review: a Journal of Native Studies; material related to Native American issues & topics.

Biographical Note

Elizabeth Cook-Lynn was born in 1930 in Fort Thompson, SD on the Crow Creek Indian Reservation. She is an enrolled member of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe. She currently lives near Rapid City, SD.

Cook-Lynn earned her bachelor's degree from South Dakota State College (now South Dakota State University) in 1952, graduating with a BA in English and Journalism. In 1971 she completed her Masters of Education in Psychology and Counseling at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion. She also attended the University of Nebraska in 1977-1978, enrolled in a doctorate program.

Cook-Lynn has taught high school in both South Dakota and New Mexico. Beginning in 1971 she taught English and Native American Studies at the Eastern Washington University in Cheney, WA until her retirement in 1990. She is now a Professor Emerita. After her retirement, she also taught at the University of California at Davis as a Visiting Professor. While at Eastern Washington University, Cook-Lynn, along with Beatrice Medicine, Roger Buffalohead and William Willard, founded the Wicazo Sa Review: A Journal of Native American Studies. She also speaks at various conferences throughout the United States on issues relating to Native Americans, as well as at literary gatherings and conferences to discuss her works. Along with Dr. Charles Woodard, she organizes a yearly writers retreat for Dakota/Lakota/Nakota writers at Oak Lake Field Station, near Brookings, SD.

Cook-Lynn is now a full time writer and has published works in a number of different genres. Her writings deal primarily with stories and situations relative to the Native American experience. Cook-Lynn's first publications were in 1983 with Then Badger Said This, and Seek the House of Relatives, compilations of short stories and poetry. Her next work, The Power of Horses and Other Stories is a collection of short stories and was published in 1990. She continued to write and work on her fiction after that publication, and completed From the River's Edge in 1991, finishing that series with Aurelia: a Crow Creek trilogy, published in 1999. Between the completion of that trilogy, Cook-Lynn published some of her non-fiction works. Her book Why I Can't Read Wallace Stegner and Other Essays: a Tribal Voice was published in 1996, and in 1998 she published both The Politics of Hallowed Ground: Wounded Knee and the Struggle for Indian Sovereignty, written with Mario Gonzalez, and a work of poetry, I Remember the Fallen Trees: New and Selected Poems.

Some of Cook-Lynn's works have been included in anthologies of Native American literature, including Harper's Anthology of 20th Century Native American Poetry, ed. Duane Niatum, HarperCollins, and Reinventing the Enemy's Language: Contemporary Native Women's Writing of North America, ed. Gloria Bird and Joy Harjo, W. W. Norton. In addition to these works, Cook-Lynn has also had published numerous book reviews and articles including journal articles and newspaper editorials. She is considered a leader for her Crow Creek Sioux Tribe because of her outstanding contributions to Native rights through exposing and detailing the Native experience through her writing and speeches.

Cook-Lynn has received a number of awards for her writing. She received the Literary Contribution Award for 2002 for the Mountain Plains Library Association. In 1995 she received the Oyate Igluwitaya from the Native American Club at SDSU. She was awarded a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1978. Her work, Why I Can't Read Wallace Stegner and Other Essays: A Tribal Voice was cited for a Gustavus Myers Award at Boston University from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights in North America.


The Elizabeth Cook-Lynn papers are arranged into ten series

Series 1. Biographical material

Series 2. Recognition

Series 3. Correspondence

Series 4. Writings

Series 5. Teaching career

Series 6. Other activities

Series 7. Research

Series 8. Wicazo Sa Review

Series 9. Native American issues and topics

Series 10. Collected material

Folders are arranged in alphabetical order within each series.

Contents Note

This collection consists of biographical material about Cook-Lynn; correspondence; writings by Cook-Lynn including articles, books, editorials, essays, novels, novellas, poetry, and book reviews; material related to her teaching career as well as research project and other activities in which she was involved; material related to the Wicazo Sa Review: a Journal of Native Studies for which she was editor; and material related to Native American issues and topics.

Series 1. Biographical material.

Composed of biographies, interviews, clippings, and photographs related to Elizabeth Cook-Lynn.

Series 2. Recognition.

Composed of information about honors awarded to Cook-Lynn as well as material related to contests Cook-Lynn entered.

Series 3. Correspondence.

Includes correspondence from the different series listed for this collection. Included are letters to and from teaching colleagues and students, from book publishers and literary agents, as well as writing friends. From the Wicazo Za Review were are essays that had been submitted for inclusion as well as editorial correspondence between Native American writers and prominent figures. This series includes photographs of a Native American ceremony, the Crazy Horse Monument, and other assorted subjects. The original files were separated into alphabetical organization through approximately 1990. Materials after that date were incorporated into the original organization, in keeping with Cook-Lynn’s original method.

Series 4. Writings.

Includes the drafts and manuscripts of Cook-Lynn’s writings. This series is arranged into sub-series: articles, books, editorials, essays, novels, novellas, poetry, reviews, other writings, unpublished manuscripts, publishers, related material. The series includes drafts in progress and drafts in progress and drafts not published.

Series 5. Teaching career.

Composed of files relating to Cook-Lynn’s teaching experience. This series is arranged into sub-series: Arizona State University, Eastern Washington University, the University of California-Davis, West Virginia University, Course material, and general teaching files. Included are syllabi, papers, teaching notes, and materials related to Cook-Lynn’s teaching experience.

Series 6. Other activities.

Composed mainly of material related to conference in which Cook-Lynn participated in either as a presenter, lecturer, keynote speaker, panelist, or moderator. These files contain speeches, schedules, announcements, conference material, correspondence, and other material related to the organization of the conference. Also included are speeches given by Cook-Lynn at events such as commencements and graduations.

Series 7. Research.

Composed of material related to grants which Cook-Lynn received. Included are grant proposals and applications as well as some of the actual research conducted.

Series 8. Wicazo Sa Review.

Founded in 1985, the Wicazo Sa Review provided inquiries into the Indian past and its relationship to the vital present. Its aid was to become an interdisciplinary instrument to assist indigenous peoples of the Americas take possession of their own intellectual and creative pursuits. Each issue contained articles, essays, interviews, reviews literary criticism, and scholarly research pertinent to Native American studies and related fields. Elizabeth Cook-Lynn was the first editor of this journal. This series is composed of tiles related to the journal. Each publication may include the drafts sent for submission and inclusion, as well as notes and correspondence regarding those drafts. Their series includes accepted as well a rejected drafts for the journal, as well as correspondence r4lating to the publication of the individual works.

Series 9. Native American issues and topics.

Composed of files on items of interest to Cook-Lynn, specifically related to Native Americans. These include noted Native Americans, different tribes, land and right issues, book festivals, controversial issues, and conferences. Included are essays written about Native American topics and concerns, as well as book reviews.

Series 10. Collected material.

Composed of material collected by Cook-Lynn that was of interest to her. Folders consist of articles, publications and clippings.


Anti-Indianism in Modern America : a voice from Tatekeya's Earth, Urbana by Elizabeth Cook-Lynn
Publication Date: 2001
Aurelia : a Crow Creek trilogy by Elizabeth Cook-Lynn

Publication Date: 1999
From the river's edge by Elizabeth Cook-Lynn
Publication Date: 1991

I remember the fallen trees : new and selected poems by Elizabeth Cook-Lynn
Publication Date: 1998

New Indians, old wars by Elizabeth Cook-Lynn
Publication Date: 2007

Notebooks of Elizabeth Cook-Lynn by Elizabeth Cook-Lynn
Publication Date: 2007

The power of horses and other stories by Elizabeth Cook-Lynn
Publication Date: 1990

The politics of hallowed ground : Wounded Knee and the struggle for Indian sovereignty by Elizabeth Cook-Lynn with Mario Gonzales
Publication Date: 1999

A separate country : postcoloniality and American Indian nations by Elizabeth Cook-Lynn
Publication Date: 2012

That guy Wolf Dancing : a novella by Elizabeth Cook-Lynn
Publication Date: 2012

Then Badger said this by Elizabeth Cook-Lynn
Publication Date: 1983

Why I can't read Wallace Stegner and other essays : a tribal voice by Elizabeth Cook-Lynn
Publication Date: 1996

Key Words

Cook-Lynn, Elizabeth, 1930-

American literature -- Indian authors -- History and criticism -- Theory, etc.

Crow Creek Indian Reservation (S.D.) -- Fiction

Dakota Indians -- Fiction

Historical Fiction -- American

Indian women -- South Dakota -- Fiction

Indians in art

Indians in literature

Indians of North America -- Government relations

Indians of North America -- Intellectual life

Indians of North America -- Poetry

Indians of North America -- South Dakota -- Fiction

Indians of North America -- Study and teaching

United States -- Ethnic relations

Container List

View container list on Open Prairie

Administrative Information

Legal Status

Elizabeth Cook-Lynn retains the literary rights, including copyright, to this material. Patrons wishing to publish from this material must obtain permission directly from Elizabeth Cook-Lynn. For further information, consult with Archives staff.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers without restrictions. The materials in the Archives do not circulate and may be used in-house only.

Researchers conducting extensive research are asked to make an advance appointment to access archival material. Please call or e-mail prior to visiting the collection and indicate as much detail as possible about a particular topic and intended use.

South Dakota State University supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections. Nonetheless, access to some items may be restricted as a result of their fragile condition or by contractual agreements with donors.

Copyright note

Copyright restrictions apply in different ways to different materials. Many of the documents and other historical materials in the Archives are in the public domain and may be reproduced and used in any way. There are other materials in the Archive carrying a copyright interest and must be used according to the provisions of Title 17 of the U.S. Code. The Archive issues a warning concerning copyright restrictions to every researcher who requests copies of documents. Although the copyright law is under constant redefinition in the courts, it is ultimately the responsibility of the researcher to properly use copyrighted material.

Arranged and Described by

Krystal Pederson, April 22, 2005. Additional material was added by Crystal J. Gamradt in October 2009 and by Ruby R. Wilson in January 2015, January 2016, and October 2017.

Processing note

Care was taken to keep materials in the order that Cook-Lynn maintained. Correspondence is arranged alphabetically by last name, or by organization (i.e. presses, universities, etc.), and chronologically within the folders. Some materials were removed to other locations because of inappropriate storage including photographs, floppy discs, and artwork. Files from floppy disks in the collection have been printed and the disks removed to more appropriate storage. Photographs were relocated to the MA Photograph Archives. Most news prints items are original, some have been photocopied due to deterioration of the original. Other materials considered irrelevant to the collection were returned to Cook-Lynn.