Paula Underwood

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Paula Underwood
Paula Underwood.jpg
Born 1932
Los Angeles, California
Died 2000
Nationality American
Other names Paula Underwood Spencer[1]
Occupation author
Known for Author of several award-winning books and "learning stories"

Paula Underwood (1932–2000) was an American author, who primarily wrote about Native Americans in the United States.[2]


Underwood wrote several award-winning books and contributed to numerous publications. A speaker, lecturer, and teacher, she founded and directed the Learning Way company, a developer of an educational program: The Past is Prologue.[2] She is known for her "learning stories" and "The Learning Way."[3]


Underwood was born in Los Angeles, California to Perry Leonard Underwood, from Lincoln, Nebraska and Vida Lora (Webster) Underwood, from Springfield, Missouri. Paula Underwood was not a member of any Iroquois Nation or tribe; she was raised by her non-Native father in what she referred to as the “strong spirit path,” and said that he taught her “to revere and respect Iroquoian traditions.”[2] She said that she and her father considered themselves a “Tribe of Two.”[2] She claimed her paternal grandmother was Oneida.[1] Her paternal grandmother was Sarah Mariah (Leonard) Underwood (1858–1939) born in Clarke County, Iowa.[4]


  • Who speaks for wolf: a native American learning story as told to Turtle Woman Singing by her father, Sharp-eyed Hawk
  • The Walking People: a Native American oral history, 1993
  • Three strands in the braid: a guide for enablers of learning, 1993
  • Winter white and summer gold: a Native American learning story, 1994
  • Many circles, many paths: a Native American learning story, 1994
  • Franklin listens when I speak: tellings of the friendship between Benjamin Franklin and Skenandoah, an Oneida chief, 1996


  1. ^ a b Spencer, Paula Underwood (Summer 1990). "A Native American Worldview". Hartford Web Publishing. Noetic Sciences Review. Retrieved 10 August 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Paula Underwood, Turtle Woman Singing (1932-2000) at Past is Prologue - Historical Perspectives. Accessed 9 Aug 2016.
  3. ^ Paula Underwood Spencer Papers, 1974-2000. Accession 37906, Personal papers collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia. Accessed 9 Aug 2016.
  4. ^ "United States Census, 1920," database with images, FamilySearch, Sarah L Underwood in household of Oliver P Underwood, Des Moines Ward 3, Polk, Iowa, United States; citing sheet 5B, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,820,508.