Press Release

Release Date: May 19, 2017

by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office, Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office



  • Dr. Amanda Cobb-Greetham, director of Native American Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

  • Dr. Robin Gunning

  • Mike Larsen

  • Rilla Askew

  • Towana Spivey

ADA, Okla. – Writers looking to enhance their skills should plan to attend the annual Imanoli Writers Conference scheduled for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday, June 1, at the Chickasaw Arts & Humanities building, 201 N. Broadway.

The conference offers learning and camaraderie for anyone interested in writing. Registration opens at 8:30 a.m.

Experts from diverse fields of writing will share their knowledge about the writing process and writing styles during the conference, which is open to the public at no charge.

The day dedicated to writing starts with a welcome and presentation by Chickasaw author, Dr. Robin Gunning. Gunning has spent much of his life working in medicine. He penned the book “Wenonah’s Story: A Memoir of a Chickasaw Family.” In the book he weaves a narrative shaped from a lifetime of stories his mother shared with him.

Rilla Askew, recipient of the Western Heritage Award and Oklahoma Book Award, is slated to speak at 10:05 a.m. Askew is the author of four novels and a book of stories, including “Fire in Beulah,” her novel about the Tulsa race riot and an upcoming collection of nonfiction titled “Most American: Notes from a Wounded Place.”

Chickasaw artist and sculptor, Mike Larsen, will speak at 11 a.m. A member of the Chickasaw Nation Hall of Fame and the 2006 “Oklahoman of the Year,” Larsen has dedicated much of his career to depicting the life of Chickasaw people in his artwork and writing. His books, “They Know Who They Are,” and “Proud to Be Chickasaw,” feature portraits of revered Chickasaw elders.

Keynote speaker Dr. Amanda Cobb-Greetham, director of Native American Studies at the University of Oklahoma, will speak at 1:15 p.m. Cobb-Greetham was awarded the North American Indian Prose Award in 1998 and an American Book Award in 2001 for her book “Listening to Our Grandmother's Stories: The Bloomfield Academy for Chickasaw Females, 1852-1949.” Professionally and personally, she has shared knowledge and wisdom about Native Americans.

During 2016, Cobb-Greetham was appointed as member of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian Board of Trustees and as a member of the Board of Governors for the Harvard Project on Economic Development Honoring Nations Program.

Historian Towana Spivey will speak at 2:10 p.m. Spivey served as director and curator at the Fort Sill National Historic Landmark and Museum for nearly 30 years. He has written numerous books and articles about frontier and Native American history. In 2012, Spivey was inducted into the Chickasaw Nation Hall of Fame.

The Imanoli Writers Conference concludes with a panel and question-and-answer segment at 3:05 p.m., lasting until 3:50 p.m. After the panel, authors will be available for a book signing.

For more information, contact arts & humanities at (580) 272-5520.

Last Updated: 09/16/2016