The winner of the 2021 Stubbendieck Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize is author Leo Killsback for the two-volume set “A Sacred People: Indigenous Governance, Traditional Leadership and the Warriors of the Cheyenne Nation” and “A Sovereign People: Indigenous Nationhood, Traditional Law and the Covenants of the Cheyenne Nation” (Texas Tech University Press, 2020).
Killsback is an associate professor in the Department of Native American Studies at Montana State University who specializes in indigenous governance, traditional law, sovereignty and treaty rights. He grew up on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation and is devoted to the preservation and resurgence of Cheyenne language and culture. He sustains relationships within his nation through collaborative methodologies that neither exploit nor marginalize.
The Center for Great Plains Studies’ Stubbendieck book prize celebrates the most outstanding work about the Great Plains during the past year, chosen by an independent group of scholars. “This is a humbling, ennobling work — grounded in the indivisibility of the Cheyenne Nation and the Great Plains,” said book prize committee chair Patty Simpson, professor of modern languages at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. “Killsback’s work disseminates a growing sense of urgency about the academic and activist dimensions of Indigenous scholarship and the imperative to understand in a new way the significance of the very ground beneath our feet. We congratulate him on this achievement.”
Killsback said: “I am honored and humbled to be selected for this prestigious prize. It is important that Indigneous histories, experiences and voices are recognized as new horizons in scholarship are reached in Great Plains and Native American studies. As an Indigenous scholar, I will continue to contribute research and scholarship that is meaningful and significant to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Nea’ish (thank you).”
Along with receiving a $10,000 cash prize, Killsback has been invited to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln to present a lecture on the book’s topic. First-edition, full-length, nonfiction books copyrighted in 2020 were eligible for the award. Nominations were made by publishers or authors.
Other finalists included:
“Too Strong to be Broken: The Life of Edward J. Driving Hawk” by Edward J. Driving Hawk and Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve (University of Nebraska Press).
“Ours by Every Law of Right and Justice: Women and the Vote in the Prairie Provinces” by Sarah Carter (University of British Columbia Press).
For more information on the award or the Center for Great Plains Studies, click here.