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Oklahoma City Community College Keith Leftwich Memorial Library

Coming and Going in Oklahoma Indian Country

Banner Image. Text Reads Choctalking on Other Realities by LeAnne Howe

About the Book

As LeAnne Howe puts it, "The American Indian adventure stories in Choctalking on Other Realities are three parts memoir, one part tragedy, one part absurdist fiction, and one part 'marvelous realism.'" The stories in this book "form the heart of [Howe's] life's journey, so far," chronicling the contradictions, absurdities, and sometimes tragedies in a life lived crossing cultures and borders. Section one is comprised of three stories about Howe's life in the 1980s working in the bond business for a Wall Street firm. Part of an otherwise all-male group of "guerrilla warfare bond traders," Howe was the only American Indian woman, and (out) democrat, in the company. Section two is about her life in the early 1990s traveling abroad as what she calls an "International Tonto" to places like Jordan, Jerusalem, and Romania, and to Japan, where she served as an American Indian representative during the United Nations' "International Year For The World's Indigenous People." Section three reaches back into Howe's experiences in the 1950s as an "unruly Indian girl" as well as the later evolution of her political consciousness and her activism. The epilogue, "A Tribalography," is a literary discussion of how to read Native and indigenous stories.

About the Author

LeeAnne Howe attended Oklahoma City Community College and is a member of the OCCC Alumni Hall of Fame.  She went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree from Vermont College of Norwich University.  She is an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation and writes short fiction, poetry, screenplays, scholarship, and plays that deal with American Indian experiences. She received the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation in 2002 for her first novel, Shell Shaker. The novel was a finalist for the 2003 Oklahoma Book Award.

About the Scholar

Bill Hagen retired from Oklahoma Baptist University in 2012, where he taught courses in Western Civilization, fiction, film, and drama for 38 years.  His degrees are from Davidson College (NC), the University of North Carolina, and the University of Iowa. 

He has published articles on Joseph Conrad, Malcolm Lowry, detective fiction, silent Westerns, film adaption, and regularly reviews for World Literature Today.  He writes a monthly column for The Shawnee News-Star.

Dr. Hagen has been involved in the Let’s Talk About It programs since the mid-1980s and has authored two themes: Oklahoma Private Investigations and The Oklahoma Experience: Re-Visions.  He has served on Pioneer Library System’s Board of Directors and presently serves on the state FOLIO board and on the Board of the Friends of the Shawnee Library.