Michael O. Fitzgerald

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Michael Oren Fitzgerald (born 1949) is an author, editor and entrepreneur. He and his wife, Judith Fitzgerald, have an adult son and live in Bloomington, Indiana.

Author and editor[edit]

The first book Fitzgerald recorded and edited was Yellowtail: Crow Medicine Man and Sun Dance Chief.[1][2] It is the story of the late Thomas Yellowtail, one of the most honored American Indian spiritual leaders of the last century. Choice Magazine wrote, “This book becomes the personal testament of a pivotal figure in recent Crow cultural history. The book describes in exquisite detail Yellowtail’s philosophy. Fitzgerald examines the place of the Sun Dance, and of the sacred, in the life and future of the Crow… It is a serious work of anthropology and history.”[3] Fitzgerald first met Susie Yellowtail, who is now enshrined in the Montana Hall of Fame, when he was Joseph Epes Brown’s graduate teaching assistant at Indiana University, Bloomington, for “Religious Traditions of the North American Indians”. Fitzgerald spent the summer of 1971 living with Thomas and Susie Yellowtail on the Crow Indian Reservation in Wyola, Montana, where he participated in the tribal Sun Dance and was adopted into the Yellowtail family and the Crow tribe. Following Dr. Brown’s 1972 departure to Montana, Fitzgerald taught a course of the same name in the Indiana University (Bloomington) Continuing Studies Department for two years.[4]

Fitzgerald married his wife, Judith, in 1972. The Yellowtails introduced the Fitzgeralds to many spiritual leaders of other American Indian tribes. Over the next forty years Judith and Michael Fitzgerald spent extended periods of time visiting reservations and attending sacred ceremonies throughout the American West, including the sacred rites of the Crow, Sioux, Cheyenne, Shoshone, Bannock, and Apache Tribes. Janine Pease, founding president of the Little Big Horn College, National Indian Educator of the Year and a McArthur Genius Award winner, had this to say about Fitzgerald's relationship with Indian people and cultures: “Michael Fitzgerald has heard the poignant narratives of the American Indian people, and has lived among the Crow people for extended periods of time since 1970. He has studied American Indian religious traditions on the earth, among the people, in ceremonies and family gatherings. We thank Fitzgerald for his deep-seated appreciation, honor, and respect for American Indian culture, its religion, language, and lifeways.”[5] These contacts led to the creation of a number of books and two documentary films on the American Indians. Fitzgerald has also lectured widely on American Indian history and culture at various colleges and high schools.

All royalties from Fitzgerald’s books and films about American Indians are donated to different American Indian causes or used to perpetuate American Indian spiritual traditions. This includes the Smithsonian’s Museum of the American Indian, the American Indian College Fund, and the traditional ceremonies of the Crow, Lakota, Apache, and Shoshone. Fitzgerald is both a Director and the Secretary of the Trehero-Trosper Sun Dance Inc., a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the perpetuation of Shoshone traditional ceremonies and culture.

As a fierce advocate of preserving indigenous languages, Fitzgerald is a co-founder of the Crow Language Consortium, a subsidiary of the Language Conservancy, and is also a member of the Advisory Board of the Language Conservancy. The Fitzgerald family provides ongoing financial contributions that include underwriting Crow language textbooks and the establishment of a permanent endowment for the Language Conservancy with the Bloomington Community Foundation.

Fitzgerald has now authored or co-edited more than fifteen books on world religions, sacred art, culture, and philosophy that have received more than thirty awards, including the ForeWord Book of the Year Award and the Ben Franklin Award. His books have been published in six different languages,[6] and at least ten of his books and two documentary films produced by him are used in university classes. A selected bibliography is listed below.[7]

Selected Bibliography[edit]

The following is a selected bibliography of recent and awarding winning titles authored, edited or co-edited by Michael Fitzgerald:

  • Spirit of the Earth: Indian Voices on Nature, edited by Michael Fitzgerald and Joseph A. Fitzgerald, 2017
  • Indian Boyhood: The True Story of a Sioux Upbringing, by Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa), edited and adapted by Michael Fitzgerald, 2016
    • Winner in the “Children’s Picture Book: Hardcover Non-Fiction” category of the 2016 USA “Best Book” Awards
    • Silver Medal in the “Children’s Picture Books” category of the 2016 Midwest Book Awards
    • Finalist in the 2016 Reading the West Awards (by MPIBA) for the “Children’s” category
  • Yellowtail, Crow Medicine Man and Sun Dance Chief: An Autobiography, by Thomas Yellowtail recorded by Michael Fitzgerald, 1994
  • Children of the Tipi: Life in the Buffalo Days (author), 2013
  • A King James Christmas: Biblical Selections with Illustrations from Around the World, edited by Catherine Schuon and Michael Fitzgerald, 2012
    • Gold Midwest Book Award for “Inspiration/Gift Book”[8]
  • Frithjof Schuon: Messenger of the Perennial Philosophy (author), 2010
    • Best Book 2011 Award Finalist for “Biography: General” by USA Book News[9]
  • Living in Two Worlds: The American Indian Experience, by Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa), edited by Michael Fitzgerald, 2009
    • Winner of the Foreword Magazine 2010 Book of Year for “Social Science”,[10] Finalist for “History”[11]
    • Winner of the Benjamin Franklin Award for "Multicultural" books[12]
    • Best Book 2011 Award Winner for “Multicultural Non-Fiction” by USA Book News[13]
    • Best Book 2011 Award Finalist for “Best Interior Design” & "History: United States" categories by USA Book News[14]
    • Winner of three Gold Midwest Book Awards for “Culture”, “Interior Layout”, and “Color Cover”[15]
    • Winner of two Silver Midwest Book Awards for “History” and “Total Book Design"[16]
  • Foundations of Oriental Art & Symbolism, by Titus Burckhardt, edited by Michael Fitzgerald, 2009
    • Silver Midwest Book Award for “Illustration”[17]
  • Christian Spirit, co-edited with Judith Fitzgerald, 2004.
    • Winner Midwest Book Award for “Religion/Philosophy”
  • The Sermon of all Creation: Christians on Nature, co-edited with Judith Fitzgerald, 2005.[18]
    • Silver Midwest Book Award for “Nature”
    • Silver Midwest Book Award for “Religion/Philosophy”
  • The Spirit of Indian Women, co-edited with Judith Fitzgerald, 2005.[19]
    • Winner Midwest Book Award for “Multicultural”
    • Winner Midwest Book Award for “Religion/Philosophy”
  • The Universal Spirit of Islam: From the Koran and Hadith, co-edited with Judith Fitzgerald, 2006.[20]
    • Silver Midwest Book Award for “Religion/Philosophy/Inspiration”[21]
    • Silver Benjamin Franklin Award for “Religion”[22]
    • Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Award Finalist for “Religion”[23]
  • Indian Spirit: Revised & Enlarged, co-edited with Judith Fitzgerald, 2006.
    • Winner Midwest Book Award for “Culture”[24]
    • Winner Midwest Book Award for “Religion/Philosophy/Inspiration”[25]
  • The Foundations of Christian Art: Illustrated, by Titus Burckhardt, edited by Michael Fitzgerald 2006.
    • Winner Midwest Book Award for “Interior Layout”[26]
    • Silver Benjamin Franklin Award for “Arts”[27]
  • Native Spirit: The Sun Dance Way, by Thomas Yellowtail, recorded and edited by Michael Fitzgerald, 2007.
    • Winner Midwest Book Award for “Culture”[28]
    • Midwest Book Award for “Religion/Philosophy/Inspiration”[29]
    • Silver Benjamin Franklin Award “New Age/Metaphysics/Spirituality”[30]
  • The Essential Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa): Light on the Indian World (revised & updated edition), by Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa), edited by Michael Fitzgerald, 2007.
    • Silver Midwest Book Award for “Religion/Philosophy/Inspiration”[31]
  • The Spiritual Legacy of the American Indian: Commemorative Edition With Letters While Living With Black Elk, by Joseph Epes Brown, co-edited with Elenita Brown and Marina Brown Weatherly, 2007.
  • Introduction to Hindu Dharma: Illustrated, by Jagadguru His Holiness Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Swamigal, edited by Michael Fitzgerald 2008.

Fitzgerald also produced two documentary films:

  • The Sun Dance Way, 2006.
  • Native Spirit, 2007.

Entrepreneurial career[edit]

Michael Fitzgerald founded or co-founded more than a dozen successful businesses in Bloomington, Indiana. The largest is Sunrise Greetings[32]/ InterArt Holding Corporation, which was a $72 million greeting card company when he sold it to Hallmark cards in 1998.[33] The businesses Fitzgerald co-founded employed approximately 1,000 people from 1997 through 2000.[34] Fitzgerald retired from day-to-day business activity in 2000 to focus on his writing.

Fitzgerald's other Bloomington, IN area businesses include The Bakehouse (now the Scholar’s Inn Bakehouse), Perennial Designs, Leather Ltd, Devonshire Equestrian Center (now Rocky River Farm), Russell Road Water Corporation and Deer Park Management.

Fitzgerald holds an Honor’s Degree in Religious Studies from Indiana University, with Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude distinctions, and a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Indiana University Maurer School of Law - Bloomington with Cum Laude distinction.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ University of Oklahoma Press,1991 and 1994, ISBN 0-8061-2602-7
  2. ^ http://www.oupress.com/ECommerce/Book/Detail/1360/yellowtail%20%20crow%20medicine%20man%20and%20sun%20dance%20chief
  3. ^ Choice Magazine
  4. ^ http://sacredweb.com/contributors/#MichaelOrenFitzgerald
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ Bibliographical information concerning Fitzgerald's foreign non-English works can be found at his publisher's website
  7. ^ Fitzgerald’s complete bibliography is available on one of his publisher’s websites
  8. ^ [2]
  9. ^ USA Book News Awards Archived 2011-12-30 at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ Foreword 2010 Book of the Year Awards for Social Science
  11. ^ Foreword 2010 Book of the Year Awards for History
  12. ^ IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award 2011 Winners
  13. ^ USA Book News Awards Archived 2011-12-30 at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ USA Book News Awards Archived 2011-12-30 at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ Midwest Book Awards
  16. ^ Midwest Book Awards
  17. ^ Midwest Book Awards
  18. ^ On this book, the Library Journal has noted: “The Sermon of All Creation is founded on the very ancient and venerable Christian tradition of insight drawn from ‘God’s second Book.’ Dazzling photographs, saturated with color, share pages with quotations from the likes of Catherine of Siena, Augustine of Hippo, and William Penn; the volume includes an index of authors for easy reference.”
  19. ^ Library Journal review: “World Wisdom has recently inaugurated a series of books, ‘Sacred Worlds,’ that combines impressive imagery—both new and old fine arts, as well as contemporary and vintage photography—with selections from world faith traditions.”Library Journal 03/01/2006
  20. ^ Publishers Weekly review: “This book sets out to explore if these sources [the Koran and hadith] provide a basis for improving interfaith relations. The Fitzgeralds give the reader space to come to their own conclusions, not taking sides in their preface. Their selections of Koranic and hadith passages show a unique sensitivity to and understanding of Islam. Accompanied by lovely photographs … as well as reprints of Islamic art and illuminated Korans, the titular ‘spirit’ of Islam comes across as reflective, wise, and bridge-building.”
  21. ^ Midwest Book Awards
  22. ^ IBPA Ben Franklin Awards Archived 2009-07-31 at the Wayback Machine.
  23. ^ ForeWord Books of the Year Awards
  24. ^ Midwest Book Awards
  25. ^ Midwest Book Awards
  26. ^ Midwest Book Awards
  27. ^ IBPA Ben Franklin Awards Archived 2009-07-31 at the Wayback Machine.
  28. ^ Midwest Book Awards
  29. ^ Midwest Book Awards
  30. ^ IBPA Ben Franklin Awards
  31. ^ Midwest Book Awards
  32. ^ Indiana Business Magazine’s cover story in December 1991 was on Fitzgerald and Sunrise Greetings
  33. ^ Herald-Times, September 10th 1998 "Hallmark Cards buys Sunrise's parent company"
  34. ^ A more detailed description of Fitzgerald's business interests