|Contact:||Amanda Cobb 277-6358
Carolyn Gonzales 277-5920
September 7, 2001
UNM ASSISTANT PROFESSOR WINS AMERICAN BOOK AWARD
J. Cobb, new American Studies faculty member at the University of New Mexico,
is a winner of the 22nd annual American Book Award. Her book, "Listening
to Our Grandmothers' Stories: The Bloomfield Academy for Chickasaw Females,
1852-1949," also received the 1998 North American Indian Prose Award from
the University of Nebraska Press.
"Listening to Our Grandmothers' Stories" uses letters, reports, school
programs and student interviews to tell the story of the Bloomfield Academy,
founded by the Chickasaw Nation in conjunction with missionaries. Founded long
before Carlisle, the first federally run, off-reservation boarding school, Bloomfield
represents one of the rare 19th century instances of a Native community seizing
control of its children's formal education.
Cobb, who became interested in the school because her grandmother, Ida Pratt
Cobb, a Bloomfield alum, discusses the educational experience the students received,
how the curriculum changed over time, and what elements set the academy apart
from most other schools attended by Native American children, even after it
was taken over by the federal government. For the Chickasaw Nation, Bloomfield,
an assimilation tool, became an important method of self-preservation.
The American Book Awards were established in 1978 by the Before Columbus Foundation to respect and honor excellence in American literature. The foundation recognizes the diversity of tradition in American literature and promotes dissemination of contemporary multicultural writing. Cobb received her award this summer in a ceremony in Chicago.
Cobb, originally from Oklahoma, was an assistant professor at New Mexico State
University before coming to UNM. She has participated in the Americans for Indian
Opportunity Ambassadors Program, a leadership program for emerging Native leaders
founded and directed by American Indian activist LaDonna Harris. Cobb served
as a Senior Fellow for Americans for Indian Opportunity this summer and her
new book project, "The Real Washington Redskins: The Native Circle in Washington,
D.C., 1965-1975," is the direct result of her participation in the organization.
Cobb is an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma.
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