Smith walked over to Earling holding a colorful wool blanket, which, Kittredge explained: "Lois Welch gave it to me to pass on to you at an honoring like this, a traditional honoring.
He got it from the Fort Belknap Tribe after the publication of "Fool’s Crow" in 1986.
The University is acclaimed for its high number of Rhodes, Udall and Fulbright Scholars.
The nationally recognized creative writing program and journalism school count among their alumni a number of bestselling authors, as well as nine Pulitzer Prize winners.
Debra Magpie Earling, a Bitterroot Salish tribal member, is now director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Montana.
Essay Reprinted - University Of Montana Creative Writing
She is the first Native American to serve as director of the 96-year-old program.And she thinks Jim would love it — and I’m sure he would, and so does she — if that blanket were passed on to you at this honor." After Earling gave gifts of her own to several people at the gathering, she began her remarks with a bit of history: "The land the University inhabits holds both a sorrowful and brilliant story.This is the time-honored homeland of the Bitterroot Salish, and this is our traditional gathering ground. He comes like a day that has passed, and night enters our future with him.' Charlo’s exile was not the story he chose.There’s students in Two Eagle River School, students who are in all the tribal colleges who are writing, who have important stories to tell.All you Indians out there writing, come to the University of Montana."This is a new generation of storytellers in tribal communities.There’s many young people that I have met who’ve worked with Anna East Baldwin in Arlee.Thirty-some programs applied for this status and Creative Writing was one of the three that we awarded programs of national distinction." "Earling has been teaching at the University of Montana since 1992.William Kittridge, Regents Professor Emeritus, recalled this story about her hiring." "I remember talking to the Dean of Arts and Sciences and he said, 'You know what I’m going to do?Earling’s appointment was celebrated this week during an honoring ceremony in the Payne Family Native American Center on the University’s Missoula campus.As President Royce Engstrom pointed out, the Creative Writing Program at UM is one of the top programs in the country.