Joseph Marshall III Leads Tribal Track at 2021 Festival

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the 2021 South Dakota Festival of Books is switching from an in-person format to an all-virtual format. Visit for more information.

2011 One Book South Dakota Author Addresses Spirituality, Cultural and Historical Wrongs

“The strength of a tree, the old ones say, comes not from growing thicker in the good years when there is water, but from staying alive in the bad, dry times.” -- Joseph M. Marshall III, The Journey of Crazy Horse: A Lakota History

Tribal philosophies like those expressed in Marshall’s The Journey of Crazy Horse, which was the 2011 One Book South Dakota, are deeply rooted in nurturing spirituality and fondness for the earth — ideas that soothe the spirit in troubled times.

The South Dakota Humanities Council is pleased to feature Joseph Marshall III, a prominent Native American author and artisan, at the Virtual 2021 South Dakota Festival of Books, Oct. 1-3.

“At the South Dakota Humanities Council, we always encourage people to turn to literature for comfort, and that has been especially true as we have dealt with the turmoil of the pandemic,” said Jennifer Widman, Director of the South Dakota Festival of Books.

“The spiritual component of some Native American literature provides helpful perspective during difficult times. This is certainly true of much of Marshall’s work, though he also challenges us to address historical and cultural wrongs. We’re pleased he is returning for the 2021 Festival as part of an exceptional Tribal Track of authors who are enrolled tribal members or who write about Native American experiences.”

Marshall III: Teacher, Historian, Writer and More

Marshall III is a teacher, historian, writer, storyteller, and Lakota craftsman. Raised by his maternal grandparents in a traditional household on the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation, he is an enrolled member of the Sicangu Lakota tribe. Marshall published his first book in 1991 and has written 17 more since, mostly non-fiction focusing on Lakota history, issues, and culture. He is an adjunct instructor at Sinte Gleska University and a board member of Lakota Youth Development. Marshall received the South Dakota Humanities Council Distinguished Achievement in the Humanities award in 2018.

In addition to receiving critical acclaim in South Dakota, Marshall has been lauded by critics around the US: Kirkus Reviews called The Journey of Crazy Horse “A fine and necessary work,” while Publisher’s Weekly referred to it as “a vivid, haunting biography that acknowledges the author's boyhood hero worship but avoids hagiography.”

Other Authors in the Tribal Track

  • Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve, an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, has published 27 books for all ages, as well as short stories, articles, and poems. A retired K-12 and college educator, she received the National Humanities Medal in 2000 and an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from South Dakota State University in 2008. Sneve’s recent work includes a reissue of her children’s classic, The Christmas Coat, and a biography of her brother, Too Strong to Be Broken.

  • Larissa FastHorse (Sicangu Lakota Nation) is a 2020 MacArthur Fellow, award-winning writer/choreographer, and co-founder of Indigenous Direction, the nation’s leading consulting company for Indigenous arts and audiences, which produced the first nationally-televised land acknowledgement for the 2020 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Her satirical comedy The Thanksgiving Play was named one of the top 10 most produced plays in America, making her the first Native playwright on that list. FastHorse lives in Los Angeles with her husband, sculptor Edd Hogan.

  • Philip S. Hall is a psychologist and fourth-generation South Dakotan who has spent many hours exploring the White River Badlands, mostly on horseback, and interviewing “old-timers” living there. These experiences gave rise to three books about the area’s history: To Have This LandReflections of the Badlands, and, with Mary Solon Lewis, From Wounded Knee to the Gallows: The Life and Trials of Lakota Chief Two Sticks.

  • Stephen Graham Jones is the New York Times bestselling author of The Only Good Indians, My Heart Is a ChainsawMemorial Ride, and nearly 30 other books. He has received an NEA fellowship, a Texas Institute of Letters Award for Fiction, a Los Angeles Times Ray Bradbury Award, an Independent Publishers Award for Multicultural Fiction, a Bram Stoker Award, and four This is Horror Awards. An enrolled member of the Blackfeet Tribe, Jones lives and teaches in Boulder, CO.

  • Denise K. Lajimodiere is an enrolled citizen of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. She spent 44 years as an educator, retiring as Associate Professor from the School of Education at North Dakota State University in Fargo. Lajimodiere co-founded the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition and has published poetry, academic work, and a children’s book, Josie Dances. A traditional jingle dress dancer and Ojibwe birch bark biting artist, she lives on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation.
  • Mary Solon Lewis grew up on a ranch between the Badlands and the Pine Ridge Reservation. She spent much of her adulthood in Omaha, rearing six children, then returned to South Dakota to assist in publishing the weekly newspaper at Martin. Lewis now lives in Wasta, near the Cheyenne River, researching and writing about local history. Her most recent titles are Squatters, Homesteaders and Survivors in South Dakota’s Badlands and From Wounded Knee to the Gallows.

  • Layli Long Soldier holds a bachelor’s from the Institute of American Indian Arts and an MFA from Bard College. Her full-length poetry collection, Whereas, won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award. Long Soldier has received a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a Native Arts and Cultures Foundation National Artist Fellowship, and a Whiting Award. A citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation, she lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

  • Kevin Noble Maillard, a professor and journalist, lives with his family on the 13th floor of a 115-year-old bank in Manhattan. A regular writer for the New York Times, he has interviewed politicians, writers, tribal leaders, and movie stars. His children’s book Fry Bread won the 2020 Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal and was a 2020 American Indian Youth Literature Picture Book Honor Winner. Originally from Oklahoma, Maillard is a member of the Seminole Nation, Mekusukey Band.

  • Navarre Scott Momaday is a Kiowa novelist, short story writer, children’s book author, essayist, playwright, and poet. His novel House Made of Dawn won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1969 and is considered the first major work of the Native American Renaissance. His follow-up work, The Way to Rainy Mountain, blended folklore with memoir.

  • SD Nelson, an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe who also has Norse ancestors. He has written and illustrated many children’s and YA books, including Crazy Horse and Custer - Born EnemiesBlack Elk’s Vision, and Buffalo Bird Girl. He has received the American Indian Library Association Honor Book Award and the Western Writers of America Spur Award, among others. Nelson brushes, sponges, splatters, and sprays acrylic paint for a contemporary interpretation of traditional Lakota imagery.

  • Richard Van Camp is a proud Tlicho Dene from Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, Canada. He is the author of 26 books in 26 years in multiple genres for all ages. His novel, The Lesser Blessed, is now a feature film with First Generation Films. His graphic novel, A Blanket of Butterflies (with Scott Henderson), was nominated for an Eisner Award.

  • Katherine Wiltenburg Todrys is a lawyer specializing in health and human rights research and advocacy. A former researcher with Human Rights Watch, she has reported on health conditions in African prisons, access to HIV treatment for migrants, and police abuses against sex workers in New York City. Her first book, Black Snake, considers the health impacts of fracking in the Bakken and tells the story of four Indigenous leaders in their fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

  • David Heska Wanbli Weiden, an enrolled citizen of the Sicangu Lakota Nation, is the author of the novel Winter Counts, nominated for the Edgar Award, Anthony Award, Barry Award, Thriller Award, and the Hammett Prize. The book won the Lefty Award for Best Debut Mystery Novel and the Spur Award for Best Contemporary Novel. Weiden has also written Spotted Tail, a biography for middle-graders. He lives in Denver with his family.

  • Lydia Whirlwind Soldier, born on the Rosebud Reservation, is a founding member of the Oak Lake Tribal Writers Society. A graduate of Sinte Gleska University and Pennsylvania State University, she is best known for her poetry, but is also a non-fiction writer, teacher, business owner, and Native craftswoman. Whirlwind Soldier received the 2015 South Dakota Living Indian Treasure Award in recognition of her preservation of traditional art forms.

  • Diane Wilson is a writer, speaker, and educator who has published two award-winning non-fiction books, numerous essays, the children’s book Ella Cara Deloria: Dakota Language Protector, and, most recently, the novel The Seed Keeper. She has received a Bush Foundation Fellowship and honors from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Jerome Foundation, and the East Central Regional Arts Council. A Mdewakanton descendent enrolled on the Rosebud Reservation, Wilson is executive director of the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance.

Learn More

Event schedules for authors in the Tribal Track will be announced as the Festival draws nearer. To stay current on Festival events, please subscribe to our e-newsletter at the link below.