Choctaw writer and scholar LeAnne Howe named keynote speaker for UNC Pembroke’s 12th annual Southeast Indian Studies Conference


Dr. LeAnne HoweDr. LeAnne Howe, a novelist, poet and playwright, will join several American Indian historians and other speakers at the 12th annual Southeast Indian Studies Conference at UNC Pembroke on April 7-8.

The conference will be held in the Thomas Assembly Room in Old Main. Southeast Indian Studies Conference is one of the many featured events during Installation Week. Dr. Robin Gary Cummings will be installed as the sixth chancellor of UNC Pembroke at 3 p.m. at Givens Performing Arts Center. A reception will follow at the English Jones Center. 

Dr. Alfred Byrant, director of the Southeast American Indian Studies Program, said the Southeast Indian Studies Conference has grown into one of the premiere venues for students and scholars interested in American Indian Studies. 

“It is a great event that highlights and focuses on the southeastern tribal groups across this region,” Bryant said. “This conference is something we really look forward to each year. We want it to continue to grow and become a major part of the Southeast American Indian Studies program.”

Bryant said the conference provides a venue to discuss culture, art, history, and issues affecting American Indians across the Southeast. 

Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday inside Old Main. The opening ceremony will begin at 9:15 a.m. Sessions, featuring several distinguished researches, will be held throughout the day. And continue on Friday. 

LeAnne Howe will speak at 1:30 p.m. on Friday inside the Moore Hall Auditorium on the UNC Pembroke campus. 

“We are excited and pleased to have Dr. Howe on campus where she will get a chance to interact with our students, faculty and staff,” Bryant said. “She is an expert in her field and well known throughout the nation.   

Howeis the author of novels, plays, poetry, and screenplays that deal with Native experiences. A Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma citizen, her latest book, Choctalking on Other Realities (2013) won the inaugural 2014 MLA Prize for Studies in Native American Literatures, Cultures, and Languages. She received the Western Literature Association’s 2015 Distinguished Achievement Award for her body of work. Other awards include the Fulbright Scholarship 2010-2011 to Jordan; the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas; American Book Award 2002, and a 2012 United States Artists Ford Fellowship, an award that carries a stipend of $50,000. She is the Eidson Distinguished Professor of American Literature in English at the University of Georgia. Howe’s current projects include a new poetry book, Savage Conversations; a new novel set in the Middle East, and Searching for Sequoyah, a documentary film with Ojibwe filmmaker, James M. Fortier, and the Director of the Native American Institute Dr. Jace Weaver. Filming began in March in Oklahoma. 

For more information, visit 

UNC Pembroke is a constituent institution of the University of North Carolina system.  For more information, contact Joanna Warner, interim executive director of University Communications and Marketing, via email, ( or by phone (910.775.4587). Connect with UNC Pembroke online at or on social media to learn how the university is changing lives through education.