Momaday to receive Oklahoma Humanities Award

Oklahoma City_N. Scott Momaday, Pulitzer Prize winner and Oklahoma Centennial State Poet Laureate, will be honored with the 2008 Oklahoma Humanities Award on Tuesday, February 12. The annual award is presented by the Oklahoma Humanities Council to recognize individuals who have contributed significantly to the understanding of the humanities in Oklahoma.

Dr. Momaday, a member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma, is a poet, novelist, playwright, artist, and storyteller. He received a Ph.D. from Stanford University and has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the Italian Premio Literrario "Mondello," among many other prizes and honors, and was named an Artist for Peace by UNESCO in 2003. He is the founder and chairman of The Buffalo Trust, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to supporting indigenous communities' efforts to preserve and perpetuate their cultural identity.

Lauded for his adept transition between worlds within the framework of his writing, Scott Momaday's genius garnered recognition from the start: House Made of Dawn, his very first book, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

The son of a writer mother and painter father, Momaday was encouraged by his parents to pursue his passion for words.  His profound understanding of the human condition and the relationship between "man and landscape" was informed by his early years. Born in Lawton, Oklahoma, near the center of the Kiowa world, he has lived a wide Native American experience, moving from the Navajo reservation to two Apache reservations, then to the Jemez Pueblo. As a teenager, he lived in Santa Fe  and in Albuquerque while attending school, and then spent his senior year in military school in Virginia. Shortly after graduating from the University of New Mexico, he entered Stanford University on a poetry fellowship to study under Yvor Winters and emerged with his Ph.D. in English and American literature.

"We are so pleased to name Dr. Momaday as the 2008 recipient of the Oklahoma Humanities Award," said OHC Executive Director Ann Thompson. "His voluminous and varied works have garnered him international respect, not only for himself but for the Native traditions that inform his work. The award recognizes his contributions to our understanding of the human experience."

The public is invited to a free presentation and book signing at the Oklahoma History Center at 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 12. In addition, a ticketed event is being offered before the presentation: a reception to meet with Dr. Momaday and a dinner at which he will receive the award. Tickets for the reception and dinner are $100 each; the cost of the dinner alone is $75. Reception and dinner attendees received preferred seating for the public presentation. For information, contact the Oklahoma Humanities Council at 405-235-0280 and online at

Press Release:  Oklahoma Humanities Council