Published on September 18, 2012 by Carol
Author: Ray A Young Bear
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About the author
Young Bear, whose first language is Mesquakie, began to seriously write in English when he was in his teens. As a beginning writer, he would think in his native tongue and translate his ideas into English.
He was born in Marshalltown, Iowa, and raised on the Mesquakie Tribal Settlement near Tama, Iowa. Young Bear received his higher education from several institutions: Pomona College in California; Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa; the University of Northern Iowa; and Iowa State University. He has taught creative writing and Native American literature at the Institute of American Indian Art, Eastern Washington University, Mesquakie Indian Elementary School, the University of Iowa, and Iowa State University.
His work, which has been greatly influenced by his grandmother, Ada Kapayou Old Bear, often incorporates elements of Mesquakie history and tradition. Young Bear’s poetry volumes include Waiting to be Fed (1975), Winter of the Salamander: The Keeper of Importance (1980), and The Rock Island Hiking Club (2001). Among his prose writings are Remnants of the First Earth (1996) and Black Eagle Child: The Facepaint Narratives (1992). In addition to writing, Young Bear devotes much of his creative energy to Black Eagle Child, a touring performance group founded by Young Bear and his wife, Stella.