University of Minnesota
Voices From the Gaps

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LeAnne Howe

Half-breeds live on the edge of both races. You feel like you're split down the middle. Your right arm wants to unbutton your shirt while your left arm is trying to keep your shirt on. You're torn between wanting to kill everyone in the room, or buying 'em all a round of drinks. Our erratic behavior is often explained away by friends and family as "trying to be. " If you're around Indians, you're trying to be white. If you're around white friends, you're trying to be Indian. Sometimes I feel like the blood in my veins is a deadly mixture of Rh positive and Rh negative and every cell in my body is on a slow nuclear melt-down.

          — An American in New York

Biography / Criticism

LeAnne Howe, an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, was born on April 29, 1951. She was raised in Oklahoma City, and educated in Oklahoma as well. In addition to being an American Indian author, she is a scholar, and she has read her fiction and lectured throughout the United States, Japan, and the Middle East.

As an American Indian scholar, she has presented programs on recruitment and retention of American Indian students at higher education institutions. She is currently teaching at colleges and universities around the country, and she is finishing a novel.

Howe has led an extraordinary professional and academic career. From 1977 to 1989, Howe worked as a newspaper journalist, Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. In 1984, she worked for four years on Wall Street in Institutional Sales, selling and trading government bonds. She worked the two professions at the same time. During the day, she sold bonds, and at night, she wrote for the Dallas Morning News. Over the course of the next 8 years, Howe's career shifted towards the academic world, and she began teaching, lecturing, and developing courses in Native American studies at the University of Iowa and Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota.

Her numerous publications range from short fiction anthologies to literary journals, and her work has included theater, films, and radio. In a span of ten years, Howe has been involved in five theater productions, with one radio production entitled "Indian Radio Days" in 1993. Howe wrote and directed this production, which was broadcast on American Public Radio stations throughout the Midwest, and uplinked via satellite to Alaska Public Radio stations on Columbus Day.

Her work has been anthologized in several collections of short fiction. "Moccasins Don't Have High Heels" appears in both Native American Literature, edited by Gerald Vizenor, and American Indian Literature, edited by Alan Velie. "Danse de L'amour, Danse de Mort" appears in Earth Song, Sky Spirit: An Anthology of Native American Writers, edited by Clifford Trafzer. Another short fiction piece titled "Indians Never Say Goodbye" appears in Reinventing the Enemy's Language, edited by Joy Harjo. Howe's 2001 book, Shell Shaker, received the American Book Award for 2002 from the Before Columbus Foundation. She is currently on tour promoting her most recent book, Miko Kings: An Indian Baseball Story.

Selected Bibliography

Works by the Author


Short Fiction


Related Links

Blog: "On the Prairie Diamond"
Howe's blog on her newest book, Miko Kings: An Indian Baseball Story

Aunt Lute Books
The website of Howe's publisher, which includes her appearance dates

Native Wiki: Leanne Howe
This page includes biographical and critical information, as well as links to her work online.

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This page was researched and submitted by Elizabeth La Ronge on 3/14/97.