Published on September 28, 2013 by Amy
John Christian Hopkins (born 1960) is a Narragansett journalist, author, poet and public speaker who resides in Tuba City, Arizona, United States. After having grown up in Westerly, Rhode Island, Hopkins graduated from the University of Rhode Island with degrees in journalism and history in 1987.
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Hopkins spent time as a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist for the Gannett News Service, and has also written for USA Today, The News-Press, The Pequot Times, The Westerly Sun, Indian Country Today Media Network, News from Indian Country and Native Peoples magazine. His work has received recognition from the Gannett Awards and the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) Awards. In 2003, he became the first member of the NAJA to receive awards in four different writing categories during the same year (news, features, sports and columns). Hopkins is one of very few Narragansett writers, and one of very few opinion columnists from any tribe at the time his career began, as noted in Sage’s Encyclopedia of Journalism.
In an interview with University of New Hampshire Professor Siobhan Senier, Hopkins noted the challenges in getting accepted by traditional publishers. Hopkins said, “I can paper a house with the rejections from traditional publishers! I’ve come so close to being published, but it always seemed to come apart for some silly reason beyond my control.”
Nonetheless, Hopkins has published five books: Carlomagno in 2003, Nacogdoches in 2004, The Pirate Prince Carlomagno in 2011, Twilight of the Gods in 2011, and Rhyme or Reason: Narragansett Poetry in 2012.
While Hopkins has been in the journalism business for twenty-plus years, he also delved into writing novels over the last decade. His first book, Carlomagno, is based off King Philip’s War, fictionally elaborating on the story of King Philip’s captured son, whom he names “Carlomagno.” Hopkins’s long love of westerns is apparent in Nacogdoches, which follows “The Rango Kid,” as he impersonates a sheriff and finds himself forced to stand up to a criminal. The Prince of Carlomagno continues to tell a story of a young Native American’s struggles to elude slavery. In Twilight of the Gods, Hopkins explores the science fiction genre by writing about the supernatural coming to life, based on the Mayan calendar’s predictions. Most recently, Hopkins published Rhyme or Reason: Narragansett Poetry, which touches on Narragansett tribal history.
In 1999, Hopkins published a tribute in The Westerly Sun to his grand uncle, the famous runner Ellison Brown. The tribute is excerpted in Michael Ward’s 2006 book, Ellison Tarzan Brown: The Narragansett Indian Who Twice Won the Boston Marathon.