Living Distance: The Life and Papers of James Welch

May 27, 2009

Living Distance: The Life and Papers of James Welch; an audio essay by Eric Ward ‘09, read by Presca Ahn ‘09, exploring the life, legacy, and archive of James Welch, the American writer of Blackfeet and Gros Ventre heritage. (MP3: 15:28)

James Welch was a poet, novelist, and teacher. Born on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Browning, Montana, with Blackfeet and Gros Ventres ancestry, Welch drew upon the histories and experiences of Native Americans in his literary work.

His publications include collections of poetry, novels, and nonfiction. Works include Riding the Earthboy 40 (1971), Fools Crow (1986), The Heartsong of Charging Elk (2000), and Killing Custer: The Battle of the Little Bighorn and the Fate of the Plains Indians (1994).

The James Welch Papers consist of manuscripts, correspondence, and personal papers documenting Welch’s life and work. Welch is well known for his fiction dealing with the histories and experiences of Native Americans, and the drafts of manuscripts, together with correspondence and secondary literature, make the Welch papers a valuable resource for research in literary, American, and Native American studies.

The collection spans the years 1889 to 2006, with the bulk of the collection dating from the early 1960s to 2003.

A complete description of the collection is available online: James Welch Papers (call number: YCAL MSS 248). Image: Photograph of James Welch by LaVerne Harrell Clark