Final program in Stillwater Public Library ´Native American Writers of the Plains' meets Nov. 5

(STILLWATER, OKLA. / Oct. 25, 2013) – The final part of the Stillwater Public Library’s program, “Let’s Talk About It: Native American Writers of the Plains,” will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 5 at 6:30 p.m.  Scholar Helen Clements will provide instruction on the final book in the series, “Medicine River” by Thomas King, at both the evening program and a 3 p.m. program at the Edmon Low Library on the same day.

“Medicine River” was Thomas King’s first novel, published in 1989.  The book takes place in Alberta, Canada and is known for its humor and unusual small–town characters.

“The characters and situations in the book are reminiscent of the Cicely, Alaska residents from the 1990s television show ‘Northern Exposure,’” said Clements.  “The characters are offbeat, involved with each other, and generally accepting of each other’s differences.  The atmosphere King created allows the characters to come to terms with the sadness of the past and live with the inconclusions of the present.”

King, of Cherokee descent, was born in Sacramento, but eventually migrated to Canada where he wrote over a dozen novels, including many that capture the lives of members of Canada’s “First Nations.”

Canada’s First Nations people have confronted many of the challenges of their U.S. counterparts—displacement, neglect, misguided policies, mistreatment at residential schools,” said Clements.  “Their parallel experience points up the deleterious effects of colonization, but also the resilience and courage people on both sides of the border have shown in confronting the obstacles.”

 According to Clements, King was made a member of the Order of Canada in 2004, which is one of that nation’s highest awards.  His book, “A Short History of Indians in Canada,” won the McNally Robinson Aboriginal Book Award and two of his other books were nominated for a Governor General’s Award.

Clements is a third-generation Oklahoman who grew up in Elk City, on what was formerly Cheyenne-Arapaho land. She attended Oklahoma State University, earning a BA in English, and later earned degrees in library science and anthropology from the University of Illinois, the Texas Tech University, and the University of Texas at Austin.

She carried out fieldwork with Zapotec handweavers in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. Primarily, she has been a member of the library faculty of the Edmon Low Library since the summer of 2000. She enjoys helping people with their research questions, and her work in selecting books for the social sciences, including American Indian Studies.

Copies of “Medicine River” can be picked up at the Stillwater Public Library.  Books in the series are provided by the Oklahoma Humanities Council with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Kirkpatrick Family Fund and the Inasmuch Foundation.  Reading the book is encouraged but not required to participate.

The “Let’s Talk About It” programs are free and open to the public.  For more information, visit the Stillwater Public Library web site at, or call 405-372-3633, or the OSU Library website at or call 405-744-7331.

Partners for “Native American Writers of the Plains” include Friends of Stillwater Public Library and City of Stillwater. Partners from OSU include Friends of OSU Library, Division of Institutional Diversity, Center for Oklahoma Studies, American Indian Studies, American Indians in Psychology Department of History, Department of English, Learning And Student Success Opportunity Center, Native American Faculty/Staff Association, and Native American Student Association.  Stillwater Public Library programs are co-sponsored by KOSU.

The Stillwater Public Library is located at 1107 S. Duck St. (the corner of Duck and 12th Ave.). The OSU Edmon Low Library is located in the heart of the OSU campus. Community parking on the OSU campus is available for a fee in the Student Union or Monroe Street Parking Garages.