Robert J. Conley Papers
Robert J. Conley (1940-2014), an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, was born in Cushing, Oklahoma. He began his career as an actor and ballet dancer, but soon transitioned to the academy, where he taught at Morningside College, Missouri State University, Northern Illinois University, Eastern Montana College, and Bacone College.
In 1986, after leaving the academy, he published his first novel Back to Malachi, which launched an impressive career including over 80 published books, mostly novels. He was elected president of the Western Writers of America, the first American Indian to hold that position. He ended his career as the Sequoyah Distinguished Professor of Cherokee Studies at Western Carolina University. His collection contains original manuscripts of his publications, correspondence, promotional materials for his public appearances, and awards and honors received throughout his lifetime. The Center also holds his entire personal library of over 1,000 volumes.
Hirschfelder-Molin Native American Stereotypes Collection
Arlene Hirschfelder (1943-2021) and Paulette Fairbanks Molin (White Earth Ojibwe) collected over 1500 museum objects and archival documents that depict Native Americans as stereotypes for over 40 years.
They lectured on the topic extensively and highlighted the damaging effects specifically on Native American youth. The collection was acquired through eBay, yard sales, toy stores, gifts from friends, and even international travel. Highlights of the collection include sports mascots, advertisements, children’s toys, games, media, and scholarly research.
Maurice Kenny Papers
Maurice Kenny (1929-2016), of Mohawk descent, was born in Watertown, New York. After a brief period of acting and singing on stage, he attended Butler University. After graduation, he began a long writing career, primarily as a poet. As his career progressed, he was sought out by most Native American writers of the time and assisted many of them in getting their works published. He also associated with many mainstream writers, primarily those living in New York.
Kenny was also a teacher, working at different periods at North Country Community College in Saranac Lake, New York, and the State University of New York, Potsdam, as well as visiting poet in residence at the University of Oklahoma and other institutions of higher education. During his career, he produced nearly forty books, primarily of poetry, fiction, and essays and made more than a thousand public appearances. His collection contains extensive correspondence, manuscripts of his work, documentation of his public appearances, and copies of individual published works and small literary magazines, poem broadsides, and poem cards.