2015 Common Reader

From Sand Creek
by Simon J. Ortiz

Exploring what it means to be a person on the border, Ortiz's volume of poetry uses the 1864 massacre of Cheyenne and Arapaho women and children at Sand Creek by the U.S. Army as the focal point for poems that pay homage to these innocent victims and also explores what it has meant to be on the margins. Ortiz writes that "I've been a writer and poet for over thirty-five years. One of the major voices in Indigenous American literature, I was among the first to be published as a contemporary Indigenous American writer of poetry and fiction beginning in the 1960s. My writing continues to address topics and issues of major concern regarding Indigenous American lands, communities, and cultures, including Indigenous decolonization and liberation. I've been involved with Indigenous educational endeavors . . . and in urban Indigenous communities. Along with my profession and career as a writer, poet, and storyteller, I've worked as a teacher and community-cultural worker, and I've been a tribal leader on two occasions as an Interpreter-Translator (1987-88) and First Lieutenant Governor (1988-89) [and] Presently, I am the incoming Managing Editor of RED INK: International Journal of Indigenous Literature, Art, and Humanities."

Regents' Common Reader Awards

The Regents' Common Reader Awards provide an opportunity for individual chapters to organize and host a local event or activity based on From Sand Creek. Chapter members do not need to attend the convention to apply. Contact your Regent and you may receive $100 for your event or activity. View application guidelines.

Common Reader Convention Awards

Awards of up to $600 will be given at the international convention for critical essays or other genres of work that deal with the common reader. To be eligible, students indicate on the convention submission form that their work is in the common reader category (presentation type).