Roberta Hill Whiteman

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Roberta Hill Whiteman
Roberta Hill

Alma materBA, creative communication, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, an MA, University of Montana, PhD, American Studies, University of Minnesota
EmployerUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison, various Poets-in-the-Schools Programs
Known forStar Quilt (1984), Philadelphia Flowers (1996)
Spouse(s)Ernest Whiteman
ChildrenJacob, Heather, and Melissa
RelativesLillie Rosa Minoka Hill
AwardsWisconsin Idea Foundation's Excellence Award

Roberta Hill Whiteman (born 1947[1]) is an Oneida poet from Wisconsin. She is known for the collections Star Quilt (1984) and Philadelphia Flowers (1996). She received the 1991 Wisconsin Idea Foundation's Excellence Award.

Early life and education[edit]

She was born Roberta Hill in 1947 into the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin. She lived with her family on the reservation and also in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Her father was a musician.[2] She attended local schools.

Long interested in languages and story, Hill earned a BA in creative communication from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, an MA in fine arts from the University of Montana, and a PhD in American Studies from the University of Minnesota.[2] Her doctoral thesis was a biography and study of her paternal grandmother, Lillie Rosa Minoka Hill, a Mohawk who was the second Native American woman to earn a medical degree in the United States. She married an Oneida man and in 1905 moved with him from Philadelphia to the Wisconsin reservation. Minoka Hill lived there for decades, operating a "kitchen clinic" in her home.[2]

Marriage and family[edit]

Hill married Ernest Whiteman, an artist. They have three children. He illustrated her first collection of poetry, Star Quilt (1984).[2]


Whiteman has taught as a lecturer at numerous colleges. She has published poetry and essays on her work.

She has been an instructor for Poets-in-the-Schools Program at various locales, including Minnesota, Arizona, and Oklahoma. She is an Associate Professor of English and American Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.[2]


  • Star Quilt (1984/reprint 1999)
  • Philadelphia Flowers (1996)
  • Works included in Carriers of the Dream Wheel: Contemporary Native American Poetry, edited by Duane Niatum, Harper, 1975; The Third Woman: Minority Women Writers of the United States, edited by Dexter Fisher, Houghton, 1980; and Harper's Anthology of Twentieth Century Native American Poetry, edited by Niatum, Harper, 1988.
  • Dr. Lillie Rosa Minoka-Hill: Mohawk Woman Physician, University of Minnesota, 1998 (biography of her grandmother)


  1. ^ "The Poetry Foundation". The Poetry Foundation. Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2013-11-30.
  2. ^ a b c d e "University of Minnesota's Voices from the Gaps". Retrieved 2013-11-30.

Further reading[edit]