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Native American author to make stop in Lawrence during Ancestral Land Tour

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A short story collection by Chelsea T. Hicks that centers Native women and ancestral connection will spark conversation Monday during a free event at the Raven Bookstore.

Hicks will read from and sign copies of her book “A Calm and Normal Heart.” She’ll be joined in conversation with Jimmy Lee Beason II, a writer and professor in the Department of Indigenous and American Indian Studies at Haskell Indian Nations University.

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“From Oklahoma to California, the heroes of ‘A Calm and Normal Heart’ are modern-day adventurers – seeking out new places to call their own inside a nation to which they do not entirely belong,” according to a news release from the Raven.

Hicks (Osage Nation, Pawhuska district) has penned short stories “compelled by an overlooked diaspora happening inside America itself: that of young Native people.” The book’s characters occupy complicated and unreliable terrain in stories that will “subvert long-held assumptions for many readers and inspire hope along the way.”

“I’ve named my book tour the Ancestral Land Tour because I’m in a process of visiting, honoring and repatriating my ancestral land,” Hicks wrote. “I am inviting nearby tribes and tribal people, whose ancestral land I’m visiting across the country, to honor them and have them open the readings with anything they’d like to share. I invite you to join us.”

Hicks encourages attendees to download the Native Land app and identify the ancestral lands they occupy. Click here for more information and to download the Native Land app.

Hicks’ work has been featured in LA Review of Books, The Paris Review, McSweeney’s, Believer Magazine, The Audacity, Yellow Medicine Review and Indian Country Today.

Contributed Jimmy Lee Beason II

She has earned an incoming Tulsa Artist Fellowship and a master’s in creative writing at the Institute of American Indian Arts. She is a 2016 Wah-Zha-Zhi Woman Artist featured by the Osage Nation Museum, a 2016 and 2017 Writing By Writers Fellow, and a 2020 finalist for the Eliza So Fellowship for Native American women writers. 

Beason (Osage) advocates for decolonization and Native empowerment and is the author of “Native Americans in History: A History Book for Kids.”

The event is free and open to the public. It begins at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 8 at the Raven, 809 Massachusetts St.

The Raven requires attendees to wear face masks and provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19. Visit this link for more information about the event.

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Tricia Masenthin (she/her), equity reporter, can be reached at tmasenthin (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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