By Amanda Fite
"Oklahoma is my home and where I grew up, so this award means more to me than anyone will ever know," Howe said. "So much so, that I'm flying home to Oklahoma from Amman, Jordan, where I'm currently a William J. Fulbright scholar."
Howe is the Professor of American Indian Studies, English and Theatre at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Her first novel, "Shell Shaker" (Aunt Lute Books, 2001), received an American Book Award in 2002 from the Before Columbus Foundation. The book's French translation was a finalist for the Prix Medici Estranger, one of France's top literary awards.
"Evidence of Red" (Salt Publishing, UK, 2005), an introspective look at American Indian persistence and struggle, received the Oklahoma Book Award for poetry in 2006. Her second novel, "Miko Kings: An Indian Baseball Story" (Aunt Lute Books, 2007) was chosen by Hampton University in Virginia as their 2009-10 Read-in Selection.
Howe is also active in American Indian film productions, serving as co-producer with Jim Fortier for "Playing Pastime," a documentary about Indian baseball leagues in Oklahoma; and screenwriter and on-camera narrator of the PBS documentary "Indian Country Diaries: Spiral of Fire," which aired nationally in 2006.
Founder and director of WagonBurner Theatre Troop, she has written plays that have been produced in Los Angeles, New York City, New Mexico, Maine, Texas and Colorado. She has performed in her plays "Big PowWow," "Indian Radio Days," "The Mascot Opera," "Choctalking on Other Realities," and "Love Story."
In 2007, Howe appeared on "Jon Stewart's The Daily Show" on Comedy Central in a news segment about sports mascots titled "Trail of Cheers." (She says she's afraid this might be the pinnacle of her career, but with two books currently in the works, that's doubtful.)
For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Books and Native Plays and Other Stage Shows.