James Welch (writer)

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James Welch in 2000 after being knighted and awarded an honorary medal by France.
James Welch
Born November 18, 1940
Browning, Montana
Died August 4, 2003
Missoula, Montana
Occupation Author, Educator
Nationality Blackfoot
Genres Fiction
Literary movement Native American Renaissance

James Welch (November 18, 1940 – August 4, 2003), was an award-winning U.S. author and poet.[1] Welch is considered a founding author of the Native American Renaissance. His novel Fools Crow received several National Literary awards.

Welch received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas in 1997.[2]


James Welch was born in Browning, Montana on November 18, 1940. His father was a member of the Blackfeet tribe and his mother a member of the Gros Ventre tribe; both also had Irish ancestry.[1] As a child, Welch attended schools on the Blackfeet and Fort Belknap reservations.

Welch attended the University of Montana, where he studied under the author Richard Hugo and began his writing career.[3] Welch was at the University of Montana when his writing career began in earnest, leading to the creation of works that would establish his place in the Native American Renaissance literary movement.[4] Welch also briefly attended Northern Montana College (now known as Montana State University-Northern).

Welch taught at the University of Washington and at Cornell, as well as serving on the Parole Board of the Montana Prisons Systems and on the Board of Directors of the Newberry Library D'Arcy McNickle Center.[5][6]

Welch and Paul Stekler co-wrote the Emmy Award-winning American Experience documentary, Last Stand at Little Bighorn, shown on PBS.[7] Together they also wrote the history Killing Custer: The Battle of Little Bighorn and the Fate of the Plains Indians (1994).

When Winter in the Blood was reprinted in 2007, it included an introduction by Louise Erdrich, who wrote: It "is a central and inspiring text to a generation of western regional and Native American writers, including me."

Welch died at his home in Missoula, Montana in 2003.[8]





  • Killing Custer: The Battle of Little Bighorn and the Fate of the Plains Indians


  • Riding the Earthboy 40 (1971 rpt. 1975)
  • Last Stand at Little Bighorn
  • Christmas Comes to Moccasin Flat

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Acclaimed author James Welch dies URL last accessed July 11, 2007.
  2. ^ a b Lundquist, Suzanne Evertsen (2004). Native American Literatures: an introduction. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 80. ISBN 978-0826415998. OCLC 55801000. 
  3. ^ History and Literature in the Pacific Northwest URL last accessed July 17, 2007
  4. ^ James Welch, Native American Author URL last accessed on July 11, 2007
  5. ^ James Treat: Writing the Cross Culture URL last accessed July 17, 2007.
  6. ^ Tribune Staff. "125 Montana Newsmakers: James Welch". Great Falls Tribune. Retrieved August 27, 2011. 
  7. ^ Albris.com URL last accessed July 11, 2007
  8. ^ Writer James Welch dies at 62 URL last accessed July 11, 2007
  9. ^ List of NWCA Lifetime Achievement Awards, accessed 6 Aug 2010.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]