Normally, an “About the author” is a fairly objective presentational thumbnail sketch. But I like this interview, done years ago by a web magazine in Washington D.C. It’s personal, and I take my personal relationship with you, my readers, very seriously.  So I’ve decided to offer this more intimate glimpse in lieu of a standard author sketch.

This is only  part of the interview, and I’ve edited it for relevance and updated it a bit to reflect changes in my life. If you want more information about me, at the end of the interview I’m listing three sources that I find interesting and revelatory in their respective ways.

Sometimes multiple points of view offer the clearest picture.  Enjoy.

I was born and raised near Minneapolis. Perhaps the most formative experience of my childhood was going out with my father, who worked for the Red Cross, when he went to help victims of fires and floods who had lost their homes, their possessions, and, sometimes, their families. He would get the same calls as the fire department, and we would often arrive simultaneously, often in the deepest night, and confront the same tragedies the police and firemen confronted, only our responsibility was to provide aid and comfort. These experiences gave me a profound understanding of human suffering and hope, and left me with an indelible belief in a life of service. They also taught me how fragile our good fortune is, and how lucky and blessed I have been to live the life I’ve lived.

After high school I went to the University of Minnesota in American Studies, then to Stanford University in Religious Studies and Humanities, then to Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, where I received a Ph.D. in conjunction with the University of California at Berkeley. My doctorate was in Religious Studies and Art. For many years I devoted my life to creating over-life sized sculptures from tree trunks. My heroes and mentors were Michelangelo, Donatello, and Rodin, all of whose works I had the good fortune to study in person while living for a time in Europe.

After returning to Minnesota, I moved north to the pine and lake country near the Canadian border, where my wife and I got married and lived for twenty five years.

For several years I worked on the Red Lake Ojibwe reservation helping students collect the memories of the tribal elders. This changed my life and introduced me to the native spiritual traditions that have become so central to the message in my writings, and that I think are so important for us as a dominant culture to learn and integrate into our ways of living and understanding.

So important did I think this was that I gave up sculpture to pursue writing full time. I am at heart a teacher and it was by sculpting books that I felt I could touch the minds and hearts of the most people.

When asked to characterize my work, I often say that it has been a constant search, from various perspectives, for an authentic American spirituality that integrates our western Judeo-Christian tradition with the other traditions of the world, especially the indigenous spirituality of the people who first inhabited this continent. All spirituality, whether inside of established traditions or residing in the privacy of the individual human heart, is essentially a recognition that our presence on this earth is just part of a vast mystery that we must recognize and honor.  How we choose to do this is a personal matter, but is must be done if we are to be fully human and fulfill our responsibility as children of the earth. 

Someone once called me a “guerilla theologian,” and I think that is fairly accurate. I am deeply concerned with the human condition and our responsibility to the earth, the people on it, and the generations to come. I believe that we are, at heart, spiritual beings seeking spiritual meaning, and I try to honor this search wherever I discover it in the course of my daily life.

My wife and I currently live just outside of Portland, Oregon, where we moved after her retirement from Bemidji State University, partly to be near grandchildren and partly because I figured that continuing to climb on roofs to pull down snow in our northern Minnesota winters was going to bring me to a bad end.  Nonetheless, we do miss our lives amid the great powerful forces of the Minnesota north, where the winter winds blew unstopped from the vast Manitoba prairies, and on beautiful summer nights we were serenaded to sleep by the songs of loons and the lapping of waters on the lake outside our window.  But times change and the seasons of life turn.  The Pacific Northwest with its lush beauty and proximity to the monumental presences of oceans and mountains has been a wonderful revelation and has allowed us to see life through new eyes.  But the gales of November remember, and the pull of the north often calls us home.

We have four children – three who came in the “package deal” with my wife, and one of our own — each now well into adulthood and fascinating characters in their own rights.  The apples may fall close to the tree, but they roll where they will.

We have three grandchildren, and find that all the clichés about grandparenting are real.  What a joy and gift they are.

Perhaps what is most on my mind these days is how best to take on the responsibilities of being an elder.  The sun is at my back and I’ve seen the world turn many times. And what I am seeing is that these are hard times and getting harder.  With new challenges comes the need for new ideas and new thinking.  Sadly, my generation is not graciously handing over power, and the generation behind us needs us to mentor them, not dominate them.  I want to do my part to share the wisdom I’ve gained from long experience. Trying to find the voice and the vehicle to do this is the challenge of the hour.  

If you’d like to know more, take a look at these three interviews.  Sometimes multiple perspectives offer the clearest view. 

Thanks for reading this and my works.  I count you as my friends and always hope to be worthy of your time and trust.


87 thoughts on “About”

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  20. I was recommended this web site via my cousin. I am no longer certain whether or not this post is written by him as no one else realize such exact approximately my difficulty. You’re incredible! Thanks!

  21. “… come let us put our minds together…..” Was the quote from Chief Joseph? or Sitting Bull, as you say here. Just listening to an interview with you where you said Joseph.Just curious.

    Getting ready to order your books and read them! Thank you.

  22. Your book Neither wolf nor dog was pretty good. I am a late college student and do not or have not enjoyed reading novels in the past. Seeing as this was an assignment for one of my classes in communication I was dreading the read. How ever once I started the book it was hard to put down. It was an easy read and it was of a familiar topic and setting. I am from the TC’s but often drive to northern MN and travel through several reservations and of course have heard of several of the problems regarding the indian people. I have a different perception of who’s territory I am driving through especailly when I see a reservation car. I wonder if Dan or Grover are still around let alone fatback. In any event I enjoyed the read and I think I was the first to finish it in the class.

    Now I am putting a little paper about what I have found out about you the author.

    Thanks again.

  23. Hi Ken,

    Thank you for all three of these books. I have bought a bunch of copies and have been giving them out to friends and family. I am going to get one to a friend who teaches US history, as I think they tell stories that need to be heard.

    I know it might seem contrary the spirit of the books, but having read – and loved – all three, I cannot help but wonder what in them is “true”, in the sense of events that actually happened.

    I realize, of course, that storytelling is part of the Indian tradition, and that each of the stories contains elements of truth. I know also that you are legitimately protecting the people involved. However, when dealing with elements that the European culture would call supernatural, I feel like it is important to know which of these events actually took place. I am open to the spirit world expressed in the book, but my relationship to it changes if the events in the book are essentially true versus essentially fiction. Does that make sense?

    I ask with all respect, and I have no interest in finding the people or places involved. I doubt this is even something you will answer, but I do think it matters. Did a little girl really exist? Did she really connect with animals in this way? Did a person like Benais really have this mystical connection with her and with the buffalo? If one of the key messages of the last book is that white culture denies the truth about the world as it is, it seems like it would at least be nice for you to say that you really did experience, as much as you can know, that other reality.

    Regardless, thank you again. I hope the whole series gets into the American consciousness. They have brought me great reflection, and will stay forever close to my heart.



  24. A most interesting and thoughtful email, and one that raises real and important questions. First off, thank you for recognizing the reality of teaching stories. This is a first hurdle that many readers never get over. Then, as to the characters and events, I should first refer you to a blog of a few years ago that you can probably find on my site by looking for an entry that is something about thoughts on fiction and non-fiction. It tells you what I do and why I do it.

    As to the characters and events, every one of the occurrences is either something I experienced personally or something that is well documented in testimony from objective observers and participants. Benais and his knowledge is based on a real person with real spiritual training and powers. It was getting too close to these powers that made me decide to end this series. I wanted to “document” them and then get the hell out of Dodge. It is important for non-Native people to know of these things, and for spiritual dabblers and dilettantes to realize that they are in territory that is not a game and in which they don’t belong. You will note the dedication to Vine Deloria. It was his last book, The World We Used to Live In, that served as my “spine” for doing this book.

    Other occurrences that are referenced, such as the old woman who could extract the sickness from people, are documented events. My encounter with the buffalo is based on a real experience in my life, and the story of the buffalo surrounding Zi reflects an oft-shared story about the prescience in spiritual presence of “tatanka.”

    Wherever my work touches Native belief or experience I dare not — indeed, would not — make anything up. My goal is to bring my readers to Native experience through the use of myself as narrator, then to hand them over to the Native world as I know it and have experienced it. There can be no false notes where expression of Native values or experiences are involved, though I will conflate historical experiences in the stories of individual characters, and build my narrative for the sake of dramatic story telling.

    I hope this helps, Chris. Thanks for being such a caring and insightful reader. You are the kind of person with whom I could have a long and meaningful dialogue about what I do, why I do it, and whether or not it is legitimate within the framework of Western literary traditions of fiction/non-fiction. Interestingly, no Native person has ever had the slightest difficulty with that aspect of the works. They know too well that “truth” and “fact” do not mean the same thing.

    My best to you. Please pass the books along to others if you think their teachings are worthy of being shared.


  25. AP Lang class @ EPHS

    We are curious as to wether or not Dan is one man or if Dan is the compilation of multiple people?

  26. AP Lang class @ EPHS

    We just read your book for class, and really enjoyed it. The book provided a new perspective for many of us in class.

  27. The core of Dan is one person — his actions, his mannerisms, his attitude. His appearance is based on a second man. His call to me is based on my experience with a third man. Interestingly, all were named Dan. Please look at my website and go to the blog about fiction and non-fiction. It discusses the issues at the heart of your query. It is subject for fruitful discussion about fact versus truth, fiction and non-fiction, the function of storytelling, modes of teaching, etc.

  28. It is about time…we have a writer who embraces the beauty of the Native American culture. We should all seek forgiveness for our ancestral cruelty.

  29. Dear Mr. Nerburn,

    Thank you for this wonderful story. Some one just sent this to me in an email. I have a question: I am the editor of our church monthly newsletter and I won’t use anything without giving credit and I’m asking if you would give me pemission to use this story—The Cab Ride. Thank you for considering this request.

    Sincerely, Eileen Snell

  30. Sue Esterbrooks

    I was given your 3 books for Christmas a year ago and finally got around to reading them. I am currently reading The Girl Who Sang to the Buffalo. I cannot find the words to tell you what an impact they have had on my life. I have learned the importance of listening, waiting, suggesting, encouraging, and can now truly let things take the course they need to take for whomever I am with. The lessons in your stories have taken me to another place, a place of peacefulness and awareness. I am a Social Worker for an Non-Profit in Minneapolis and work with families of all ethnicities and backgrounds. I have the privilege to go into their homes weekly. Through your lessons and teachings, I have a deeper understanding of what it means to just sit with families/children,hold their stories, and be with them as a support. What a blessing it has been. The rest of your books are clearly on my list of must reads. Thank you for this gift.
    Sincerely, Sue

  31. Thank you, Sue. I will be doing an engagement with Larry Long, the singer, in Minneapolis on October 2. Details are not yet determined, but check in again in a month or so and I’ll let you know. It would be good to see you there.

  32. Sherry Fields

    Hi Kent,
    I am about to finish your book, The Girl Who Sang to the Buffalo. Love it.
    I live in Ponca City Oklahoma. There is an old Indian school called Chilocco. It borders on the Oklahoma Kansas border. There has always been stories about that school. They closed the school down in 1980. Come out and visit.

    Thank you for a great book!
    Best Wishes,

  33. Hi Sherry, I came across Chilocco when I was doing my book on Chief Joseph. Ponca City was a definite part of the Nez Perce saga, and I would very much like to visit the area again. Maybe we will meet up. It would be a pleasure.

  34. Justin Campbell

    Hey Kent,
    I want to start off by saying “Letters to my Son” is by far the best book I have ever read. I wont say my 11 month old son was an accident, more of a pleasant surprise, but he was not planned. Financially, his mother and I are not yet established and it has caused much stress and at times convinced me I am less of a father than the father who can provide materialistically. It has been heart wrenching. Your book changed that (the guilt factor). In addition to that, most of the subjects you covered in the book are the very subjects I have felt so confused about on how to present and teach to my son. Your book has given me an outline, and a way to approach what the future holds for my son. Not just because your writing is presented so well and “sounds” good, but because I truly believe in every word you wrote and couldn’t agree more. Growing up without a father has made being a new dad very confusing. You’ve changed that and I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to write and publish the book for the world to read. I can honestly say you’ve changed my life, which in turn, has changed my sons life.

    Thank you Kent,

  35. People like you are the reason why I write, Justin. Like everyone else, I did fatherhood by the seat of my pants. Through good luck, grace, and the model of a good, although wounded, father of my own, I did a pretty good job. It comes down to this: being present to your child’s life at all stages, knowing his friends and interests, and treating him with respect. Too many fathers, even good ones, think that their role is to shape their son by instruction. You shape your son by modeling and being present to him and what is important in his life. Do not be afraid to hand him off to other men who have something to offer; none of us has all the answers, and different relationships open up your son in different ways. Count yourself lucky if he finds a man other than you to serve as a mentor, because it just broadens his understanding of life. And, if there is one thing I would always counsel, it is this: starting at about 3 or 4, the two of you should take a trip together every year. Just the two of you. Camping, a day or two in a nearby city to go to museums, whatever. He will accept this when he is young, and the two of you will learn to travel and be together. Then, as he grows and feels the need to separate from you, the inevitable spaces between the two of you will always be bridged by the common experience of your travels together, and the deep knowledge that comes from sharing discoveries as equals. trust me: your lack of money doesn’t matter, though it hurts to not be able to provide for all his wants and need. But remember, money separates people, poverty brings them closer. You’re doing fine, my friend. Nothing is more important than your presence, and that costs nothing.

  36. Justin Campbell

    Thank You Kent. Your absolutely right. Thank You for your perspective. It means more than you know. Best wishes always.

  37. Barbara Nichols

    I came upon and bought The Girl Who Sang to the Buffalo at the 7 Cedars Gallery near Discovery Bay in WA. Once I started reading, I was taken by your descriptions of things spiritually that I don’t question but feel I know to be true, too. Now that I have found your writing, I look forward to reading more. Thank you.

  38. I have been reading The Girl Who Sang to the Buffalo for a reading group. I have not been able to locate questions for a discussion. The book reads like a narrative, so my question is if it is actually a true story, or historical fiction? Either way, it is
    a wonderful and deeply touching book. Thank you for writing it.

  39. I have long labored to find an easy way to describe what I do, and I have never been successful at doing so. It is not a “true’ story, though all the people and the events in it are real and accurately rendered. Neither is it fiction in the sense of having been created whole cloth from my imagination. The narrative has been constructed to bring you into the presence of the people and locations and events, all rendered with as much accuracy as I can muster. I refer you to my April, 2010 blog entry for a better explanation. Stories have power, and people are changed by what they believe, not by what they think. I may be the narrator, but I’m just the vehicle to bring you into another world. I hope I have succeeded in doing so.

  40. Kent,
    ‘The Cab Ride I’ll Never Forget’ is the most profound inspirational story I have ever read. It is a deeply touching story. Two days ago, I got News about the Catholic priest who brought me up and who retired to a home of the elderly in the Netherlands a few years ago. When he was leaving, he told me, ” Albert, I don’t have long to leave.” I can visualize now when he went to the home of the elderly, the doors shut. It was the sound of the closing of life. He rested in peace on 20th July, 2016.
    Kent, God bless!

  41. Kent, I thoroughly enjoyed both of your books Neither Dog Nor Wolf and The Wolf At Twilight. Although I grew up in northwest North Carolina, I had the good fortune on some temporary employment stints in the Dakotas to spend time with Mandan and Sioux folks. I could colorfully imagine the conversations you had with Dan and others as a result of my own experience in that part of the country. I’ve often regarded the cultural demise of indigenous people of this continent as perhaps the greatest human tragedy of all time, given how they were able to live so simply and efficiently with the life that they were surrounded with. Thanks for producing those books which were able to come to life for me as I proceeded through them.

  42. Roselyn Albers

    Several of our book club members recently attended the film “Neither Dog Nor Wolf” at the Bemidji theatre. (We are the women from Kabekona Lake…you came and spoke to us a few years ago). We all LOVED the movie and felt it was very well done. It captured the essence of all the characters and taught some valuable lessons about communicating between different cultures. It expressed the heartache that was endured by Dan and others who suffered under white rule, missions, reservations, etc. The actors were wonderful. Please get this movie out to a wider audience if possible. It was in Bemidji for only one week. Will it be at the Sundance Festival?

  43. Hello Mr. Nerburn
    I just finished “The Wolf at Twilight” and am deeply moved. I became aware of “The Girl who….” late last year and read it not knowing it was the last of a trilogy, until toward the end. After reading “Neither Wolf nor Dog” I felt I desperately wanted to share it with my cousin in Germany. You are probably aware of the Germans fascination with Native American culture, that goes back to the beginning of 1900. even earlier (Karl May etc.) My cousin is not a wannabe, he has been in correspondence with a man on the Redbud Reservation and has visited him. He speaks English with limitations, I’m sure he would be able to follow the story, but I’m afraid he would miss the poetry and sensitivity of your writing. I contacted your publisher in Novato, not far from were I live in Benicia.The woman I spoke with was not sure if there is a German language version, she gave me Hoffmann and Campe, but I could not find anything on their publication list with your name. Would you please be so kind and let me know what the situation is.
    A second favor could you also let me know if any or all of the trilogy are available on tape. I have a young Lakota daughter-in-law, who had a very painful upbringing, and I know does not have the time or patience to read a book. I believe your stories could be very healing for her and helpful to her and my son in raising their two beautiful small children. Dan’s concern for the children comes to mind.
    Thank you for your gift to us.
    Hedi B. Desuyo

  44. You’re in luck, sort of. The German version was published a number of years ago under the title of “the Last Holy Thing.” What that means, I don’t know. But by googling it in german I found a link to the H and C version for purchase. Here is the link: https://www.amazon.com/Letzten-Heiligen-Spuren-indianischer-Weisheit/dp/3455111971. If you continue to google the German title you should be able to find a version for sale. As to the quality of the translation, I have no idea. In terms of the books as audio, this is in the process. Keep an eye to New World Library’s website for details. Thanks for caring.

  45. I don’t think it will go to Sundance. But I have no say in what happens. The film is the work of Steven Simpson and anything there is to know about it can be found on the facebook page for neither wolf nor dog movie.

  46. Rita Ackerman

    Dear Mr Nerburn !
    I love reading all your books and then pass them on to my kids.
    I came over from Germany 60 yrs ago and love reading about American history.
    I was born right into World war 2.
    I love this Country.
    Thank you

  47. Thanks, Rita. When I was five in 1951 my dad had a chance to be sent to Heidelberg with the Red Cross. But my grandmother, who had been born and raised in Essen, didn’t want us anywhere near Germany, so we stayed in the U.S. I have always wished we would have gone so I could have been a witness to history during the reconstruction period. I often wonder who I would have been if we would have spent a few years in post-war Germany. I have been back several times since and am amazed at what the country has accomplished. I’m very happy that you are pleased with America and I am honored that I have helped you a little in your quest to understand American history. I hope you have read Neither Wolf nor Dog, The Wolf at Twilight, and The Girl who Sang to the Buffalo. My biggest pure historical work — a four year labor — was Chief Joseph and the Flight of the Nez Perce. Do take a look at it if you haven’t yet. It tells a story that needs to be told, and I believe I told it well. Thanks so much for writing.

  48. Rita Ackerman

    I was so happy to hear from you . I have read all the books you mentioned and I am reading “Voices in the Stones ” right now.I also have the book “Simple Truths”
    Then I pass them on to my Son & Daughter ,they also love them.I have learned much from reading your books. I was born in Augsburg Germany,near Munich in 1939
    and was 51/2 years old when the war ended .It was a sad time .I came to America in 1957 with my Mom ,it has been a dream of mine since I was a teen.
    Thank you Ken and God Bless you.

  49. We have just finished The Girl Who Sang to the Buffalo, and have been moved to a communication beyond ourselves. Thank you!
    My quest today is to read more, and more.

  50. Someone gave me the girl who sang to the buffalo, I read all of the books in that series. I want to thank you for writing those books . They sent me on a yearlong journey of catching up on my American history, primarily the Native American story. I can’t stop reading and exploring the people and culture and the epic tales of how it all came down . I got so much from Dan and Grover and your conversations. Mostly how much it affected my heart. Thank you
    I can’t wait to see the movie!

  51. Whilst in Kefalonia, Greece last week, as part of my therapeutic process, I read Neither Wolf Nor Dog, The Wolf At Twilight and The Girl Who Sang to the Buffalo and Voices in the Stones

    My nephew’s wife in Minnesota alerted me about Kent (thank you Danielle) via a message on Neither Wolf Nor Dog

    I can honestly say that these are the best non fictional stories I have ever read. The content is so insightful and heartfelt, that I now intend to look, reflect and react to things in a very different way. I thought I wasn’t too far off the right path in life……….but being honest with myself, I now know this is not the whole truth!

    Discrimination, prejudice, bigotry, hatred and fear is consuming the global population more now that it ever has……we must rapidly change course and do things very differently……..if we don’t there is only one certainty!!

    I have posted this on my facebook page….because I want to share the experience of reading these stories with people who I know and communicate with…in the hope that they read these books and share them with their family and friends…..

    Thank you


  52. R. Alan James

    Kent: I want to visit with you. How can we make a connection? I believe I met you once in Brainard in about 1988 or 90. I am no conducting an institute and ask whether you can be available for a presentation

  53. Thank you Kent,you have a 76 year old man reading again.I’d like to send you a painting i did from being at standing rock for a few days during protest.When you have snipers pointing a rifle in your direction or see a young woman beaten for praying about water in The Missouri you fully realize the harshness of the treatment of Native Americans.ken

  54. Thanks, Ken. I would be honored to receive your painting. You seem like a most interesting man, and one after my own heart. I’m glad I got you reading again. It’s also gratifying to know that there are a few folks out there who are older than I by a bit (71) and are still fighting the good fight. Shoot me an email at knerburn@kentnerburn.com and I’ll send you my address. I’ve become wary of putting information on social media.

  55. Having long enjoyed and been spiritually expanded by your books, I’d really like to gift you with a book I’ve authored. It is a book of my photography accompanied by my reflections. Thank you for continuing to enrich lives.

  56. Mr. Nerburn

    I want to start by saying thank you for this incredible story. I have NEVER heard of you until one morning I was riding to work on the train listening to Joyce Myers, like I usually do on my way to work.

    It was her podcast (What is True Love?-PT3). That made me write to you. As I’m riding down to work and listening to her preach about True love and the kindness that people should do for other’s. She proceeded to read your story about the cab ride. She went on to say how you took the time to make an elderly woman feel good and told how you didn’t charge her for the ride, being that it was her final days on earth. Lets just say that by the time I got to work, I was crying like a baby and totally in tears from that story.

    I finally got a grip on my emotions and thought to myself, there are people in this world that do care about others and take the time to go out of there way to make others feel LOVED..

    I too was a cab driver at one point in my younger life. I came across an elderly woman that used to give me BIG tips on the way to the bank and back home. Collecting her husbands pension checks that had past away a few years earlier. I’m sure she has passed on now being that it was so long ago and she was up in her 70’s when I used to drive the cab.

    I became her personal driver after awhile. She would always ask for me, and not want anyone else to drive her to the bank and back. At first, like human nature would have it. I would only think of the money that was coming to me, and have it in the back of my mind, how much is she going to give me today? But, after picking her up and realizing that she would only ask for me. I knew it just wasn’t a normal cab ride any more. She just wanted someone to talk to every once in a while. Someone who would just listen to her talk about her days with her husband, and the life that she had with him. I can tell that she loved him VERY much. She would often say how he was her true love, and her shining knight in armor. She spoke about him very passionately.

    So, I THANK YOU AGAIN sir for this INCREDIBLE story that you were so kind to share with us. GOD BLESS YOU and may the good Lord continue to shine his light upon you. NOW AND FOREVER….

    Yours Truly
    Rolando Correa

  57. Thank you, Rolando. You understand, and you articulated my sentiments exactly. Sometimes we just get called to meet a moment in time. They are often small and insignificant to folks on the outside, but I’m convinced they are our reasons for living. I’m honored that you reached out and I hope that others who read your post will be reminded to do a small kindness when the opportunity presents itself. All my best to you, my brother.

  58. JUST wanted to let you know that I am a reader of your books
    starting with neither wolf or dog years ago, it was told to me by a friend.

    I have a few of your books setting around in my home. My grandson came last summer on his way to work
    Yosemite for the summer from Texas,second year college student. He just happened to pick-up your books
    some went to Yosemite with him. He got something out of your writings that was very good for him.I sometimes wonder
    just how far reaching you are without really knowing it.We live in a very fast world these days.
    Thank You for slowing it down. Are you living in the Pacific Northwest Still?

  59. Mr. Nerburn – My name is Sandy Newman and I work in the Honors College at South Dakota State University. Right now we are exploring some possibilities for speakers for Fall 2018. I was wondering what your availability is for the first couple weeks of November. Please respond to me at my email address. Thanks and looking forward to hearing from you!

  60. Rich Buickerood,Colonel, USAF, retired

    As a fellow cat lover I just had to offer a comment as I read your very compelling book about Chief Joseph. Early on in the book you say the Nez Perce felt that people should not fight about religion because all people were free to find their own path to the creator. In view of the endless wars fought about religion both today and throughout history, I am stunned by the beautiful simplicity of this statement. I have personally held a view for years that the world would be a much better place if so many cultures had not been exposed to Christian missionaries.

  61. Dear Kent
    Saw Neither Wolf nor Dog yesterday, so moving. Now am going to re-read the book which blew me away so many years ago (I was hi-jacked along with you–what a ride!!). These works of yours remind me to live “more horizontally” (connected to the land, less in the head), not an easy task in this age of information bombardment. I used to be able to go to wilderness areas by myself, and sink deeply in Mother Earth’s teachings. But now I feel fear about doing this, people have gotten killed on trails around here, the world just seems less safe. And I’m 73. But I have an innate sense of protection (got lost in the woods once and had to crawl all night to stay warm, had zero fear of “wild animals”) But when I go with others, they talk too much. Any suggestions for a safe place to go and be with the land, and be away from the crowds? I live in Northern California, but would travel to Oregon.

    Of course “being with the earth” is a daily practice–putting ones’s feet down with reverence, paying attention to what the wind and the birds are saying. In the end I don’t need to go anywhere…..

    On another note, are you connected with the grandmothers? The International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers comes to mind: http://www.grandmotherscouncil.org If you have already written on the feminine in the native tradition, please let me know….All the best, Joy

  62. Peter Winstanley

    I have read Chief Joseph and the flight of the Nez Perce. Christianity did not seem to do them any favours. Last year I had the fortune to briefly talk with Ed Mcgaa, Lakota author. He did pull any punches with disapproval of our religions on Native Americans. Is this widespread?

  63. Hello Kent
    I have now read two and possibly three of your books and have found them quite interesting. Besides yours, I have read all of Tony Hillerman’s (and his daughter Ann’s), most all of Kathleen and Michael Gear’s, all of Kent Kreuger’s, and one of Richard Wagamese’. All have strong native American themes. I took my three sons through Indian Guides, Trailblazers, and Warriors, a total of 18 years during which time I became committed to paying respect to the native ways. I was tribal chief, nation chief, medicine man most the the time. I created a learning program where the boys could develop certain native skills and in conjunction with one of the Indian Guide members whose wife was a Winnebago. She got permission for me to use the word Haylushka in the sense of a Boy Scouts Eagle Scout. I used native names as Wapoos, Skajuna, and Anikus as our Indian names. My youngest, who lives in Haines, AK and Utkiagvik (Barrow), AK depending on the time of the year where he works with both Inuit and Tlinget people.
    I was very disappointed when the ACLU forced the YMCA to abandon their Indian guide program because I felt that taking to heart the concept of the program created an opportunity to better understand the relationship of the native elders and the young boys.
    Thank you for your books, the message is strong. I have learned much from the tree books I have read. By the way, we also have lived much of our lives in the Twin Cities, as you have mentioned you have as well.
    **George Ritzinger**
    PS: my email address is: pandg.ritz@outlook.com

  64. William Waters

    Hi Kent, my name is William Waters and I am a Native American Stone reader. I learned of a simple ancient pictorial language which is on many ancient hand held tools like Scrapers and Blades, not arrowheads (thrown) nor celts (struck), but scrapers were personal and many are embellished with this type of art and they left a guidance system of grips and markers which guide to Fantastic works of ancient art. A Language. If you e-mail me I would enjoy to share how to read the scrapers and blades as I have over 900 examples of the ancient art to show

  65. HI;
    I’m about to read your book, “Voices in the Stones” and I look forward to it. I am drawn to stones and dirt. I was put off by the preface – it’s my first introduction to you – the voice – and you start of with, “To the extent that we think of it at all, we imagine a world of drunks, welfare cheats and casino millionaires……” How do you know what “we” imagine? Certainly if we bought your book – we likely don’t think that and that we do “think of it at all.”

    I look forward to reading the book but didn’t know why you started it off with that negative depiction of the audience you are addressing.

    Janet Howard

  66. In this book my audience is the great percentage of the population that either ignores Native reality or relegates it to a fringe position in their consciousness and our culture. Perhaps the book isn’t your cup of tea. I have learned from hard experience that you can’t please everyone. But understand that my approach is to come at the subject of Native reality from different perspectives. I suspect you will become more positively disposed to the work as you go along. Just know that I try to meet people where they are rather than asking them to start from where I want them to be. This book is a unique one in that it meets folks at many different starting points. I hope you will find something of value in the journey.

  67. Dear Kent – I have just read Make Me An Instrument of your Peace for the second time. This book is an incredible and illuminating work of grace, love and wisdom. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have read several of your books and to have your words in my mind and heart.

  68. Howdee Kent, Thank you for being out there. I ran into you yesterday while I was reading some Bruderhof stuff. It is invigorating to find you. The truth is not hard to find, and the poetics of it is encompassing. I have some books on Amazon

  69. Grateful for the interview with you that FNX News played last night. Working in a garden as compared to pulling a rock uphill is a good way to describe success.

    Mark Strand
    Fargo, ND

  70. Hello Kent – thank you for writing Voices in the Stones and The Wolf at Twilight. I was mesmerized by the stories in these books. I loved the character of Dan and the story of the sweat, and the story about the importance of giving thanks. I look forward to reading Chief Joseph and other books you’ve written. amazing how you can bridge the gap between Native American culture and the rest of the world.

    Do you give book endorsements? I am publishing a book this summer about how family camping experiences as a a child inspired me to become a park ranger and to help protect our fragile resources. The stories are funny, engaging, heartbreaking, sad and happy. A good resource for those who plan to travel and to choose the path of becoming a ranger/resource protector. I can send you sample text and even sample blurbs. Or I can send you the entire manuscript, but am guessing you might be too busy to read it all. The book is called Trip Tales: From Family Camping to Life as a Ranger. We have the cover design and the manuscript is with our professional editor. We will begin layout phase in another week. It is a stand alone in it’s genre. Other park rangers have talked about their lives as rangers, but non have started in childhood. This book is distinctly different in an engaging and fun way. Please let me know if you’d like to do a blurb for the book. I’d be honored beyond words
    Best wishes.!
    Rosanne McHenry

  71. Your prose is beautiful, Kent. I was born in Pierre when my parents were living in Gettysburg. Six months later, we moved to Glenham which is eight miles east of Mobridge. My dad was born near Timber Lake where my grandparents on his side lived. We made a lot of trips over the bridge near Mobridge in those early days, and I still love that expansive valley.

    This next may seem like an out of place question but here goes. Have you learned about Open Educational Resources, yet? This post http://developingprofessionalstaff-mpls.blogspot.com/2021/04/an-oertist.html and the links in it give you some information to ponder if you haven’t yet explored the way of sharing information that open licensing provides. I think that open licensing and OER are connected to your work because they’re an American Indian way of writing.

    I don’t think open licenses are appropriately applied to works of fiction. And, even though you claim the realm of creative non-fiction, I would put Neither Wolf Nor Dog on the same shelf as For Whom the Bell Tolls and Ulysses, which is not bad company, and say that it is definitely not appropriate for an open license. I don’t doubt for a minute that Joyce spent time in all of the places in Ulysses and had or heard one version or another of all of the dialogue in his book spoken someone that was not fictional. Joyce was certainly telling a story about society, especially Irish society, from a new point view, but his book was most certainly a novel.
    I currently live a block north of Minnehaha Creek about a mile before in falls and joins the Mississippi.
    Thanks for your book.

  72. Hello, I am currently reading Chief Joseph and the Flight of the Nez Perce : The Untold Story of an American Tragedy. The book is making me recall all of the time that I spent in the Wallowa Valley and other areas of Northeastern Oregon. My Grandfather was raised on a farm near Leap, Oregon (which no longer exists) a few miles north and west of Joseph and east of Wallowa in the rolling hills near the Valley. He was born in 1899 and used to tell me that the Nez Perce would travel through their property when he was very young. I can’t recall if he knew why. He said that his father would trade tobacco to the men, and that as a small boy he was always afraid but in awe of the sight of hundreds of the Nez Perce on horseback and walking on their journey. My grandfather died in 1994, and I miss the times I spent with him traveling the forests and backroads on Wallowa and Union counties.
    Thank you for your books! This is the forth of your books I have read, and I have found them all captivating!

  73. You may already know about this Facebook group. I’m beginning your book “Neither Wolf Nor Dog,”went to your site, noticed the image on your masthead, and thought I’d place the URL of the group I just joined here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/771376676244618. A friend of mine told me I should read this book. It just arrived, so I’m just getting started, and thrilled. Here’s my author site: https://rimrockbooks.com (YA). I live in West Linn. Email: psandel@rimrockbooks.com

    Thank you,

  74. Monika Parker

    Dear Mr. Kent!
    I do not know how to express my appreciation enough to you as a writer and the topics you write about!!!
    I read the first two books of the trilogy, not knowing I should continue with the third one. So glad I now can procure it.
    My whole life, being born in Germany, have been more than interested in the Native American experience. Yes, the author Karl May got me there. Winnetou was my idol and my friends and I , as children played with bow and arrow and trying to trace the whereabouts of the persued. The grass gave it away.
    Now that is child play. But I love nature so much, having traveled several times through prairies, and thanks to your books, not “just fly-over” country
    So enchanting and moving to read you first two books. And your sense of humor
    Re Grover! I have a little library of Indian content and the wisdom I try to live up to.
    Been twice to the Crazy Horse monument and the story of the sculptors is unique. I know that it has caused cntroversy among some tribes.
    I wonder, if you know of the NA autor Ross two of his books I bought when I met him during the 50th CH monument celebration. Mitakuye oyasin is one of them.
    Thank you so much for your opening a renewed way of thinking.
    I live in New Hampshire and will be visiting my son in Portland, Oregon in July.
    I wish I could express my sincere appreciation to you while there.
    Thank you for your interest in your readership.

  75. Rupert Ross is a brilliant observer and wise counselor. I would love to have met him and I congratulate you on your discriminating taste in authors. You are welcome to write me when you are in Portland. Do so through this website. If I am in town I’d be happy to have coffee with you. Thank you so much for your kind note.

  76. Having read the accounts of Dan in both Wolf@Twilight, & Neither… I can only hope you’ve started a ed foundation for Dan’s great-grands & other children on his home reservation.
    He freely gifted so much experience & wisdom. It just seems the responsible & reciprocal thing to do. And maybe add a donation link on yr website for readers & others to contribute? Thanks for sharing Dan’s words & experience.

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