Vine DeLoria, Native American

Vine DeLoria, perhaps the articulate writer of Native American life as well as the most profilific, passed away.
I tried to interview him for the Voices of Civil Rights oral history project a couple years ago, but our interview was cancelled when Congress approved the Medicare prescription bill. "I don't feel too kindly toward AARP right now, " DeLoria told me after the bill passed. AARP sponsored the Voices of the Civil Rights oral history project. I replied that if I was in his shoes, I would have done the same. So I lost the interview and the chance to sit at the feet of a giant. Little did I realize my stepmother, Margaret Patoski, a history professor, knew him from history conferences she'd attended. Here is her Letter to the Editor of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, chided the paper for not noting DeLoria's passing. DEATH OF A WONDERFUL BUCKAROO

We are diminished by the passing of Vine Deloria, Jr., premier author of American Indian literature. He was a theologian, an attorney specializing in land and water rights, a historian and genuine scholar. One KERA reporter commented that Vine has written "more books than most people read in a lifetime." Pick up a copy of Custer Died for Your Sins and work your way through his other books. You will find his style eminently readable and his insights intriguing.

Vine Deloria, Jr., that big bear of a man, was also a success as a human being, beloved by all but those who opposed American Indian rights. Those of us in academia looked forward to hearing his booming voice call out across a crowded conference lobby, "Hey, buckaroo!" If I simply hear the word "buckaroo" (his name for everyone), I instinctively brace my lesser self for a bear hug.

Deloria's body of work survives, to our enrichment, but the man will be sorely missed.

Margaret Patoski
Emerita Professor of History, Texas Wesleyan University

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