Griffin-Pierce, Trudy 1949-

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PERSONAL: Born December 27, 1949, in Spartanburg, SC; daughter of Benjamin Tillman, Jr. (a military officer) and Trudy (a homemaker; maiden name, Owens) Griffin; married A. Keith Pierce (a solar astronomer), December 27, 1979. Ethnicity: "Native American." Education: Florida State University, B.F.A., 1970; University of Arizona, Ph.D., 1987. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Unity. Hobbies and other interests: Hiking, sewing, painting.

ADDRESSES: Offıce—Department of Anthropology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721.

CAREER: Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Albuquerque, NM, curator, 1975; Kitt Peak National Observatory, curator, 1976-77; University of Arizona, Tucson, adjunct faculty, 1987-2002, assistant professor of anthropology, 2003—. Gives readings from her works; consultant on Native American art.

MEMBER: American Anthropological Association, American Association of Museums.

AWARDS, HONORS: Longan Award, 2000, for Native Peoples of the Southwest.


Earth Is My Mother, Sky Is My Father: Space, Time, and Astronomy in Navajo Sandpainting, University of New Mexico Press (Albuquerque, NM), 1992.

The Encyclopedia of Native America, Penguin (New York, NY), 1995.

Native America: Enduring Cultures and Traditions, Metro Books (New York, NY), 1996.

Native Peoples of the Southwest, University of New Mexico Press (Albuquerque, NM), 2000.

Contributor to books, including Peoples of the World, National Geographic Society (Washington, DC), 2001.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Indians of the Southwest, for Columbia University Press (New York, NY); editing and writing a chapter for Time, Self, and Society: The Cross-Cultural Embodiment of Time in Illness and Health, University of Arizona Press (Tucson, AZ); research on traditional Navajo beliefs and practices and the conflict with "biomedicine."

SIDELIGHTS: Trudy Griffin-Pierce told CA: "I cannot imagine a life without writing, and I cannot remember a time when I did not write. I began keeping a journal after my mother died when I was sixteen, although this connection did not register in my mind until much later. In many ways, we were more like sisters, and the sudden death of the person who was my whole world shattered my core beliefs about reality and sent me searching for meaning. The only things in my life to which I was truly connected were writing and the Navajo Indians.

"Born in South Carolina, I am part Catawba Indian, but the Navajos captured my heart and my imagination from an early age. Since early childhood—I was a military nomad who grew up in Hawaii, California, England, Florida, and Illinois—I had always known that someday I would live with the Navajos. Two years after my mother died, I wrote to Navajo Tribal Chairman Raymond Nakai, asking him 'to find a traditional family that I could join as a daughter.'

"And so I came to live with a non-English-speaking older couple who lived in a hogan between Many Farms and Round Rock, Arizona. Without electricity or running water, we got up at dawn to chop firewood, fix breakfast, and pack food for lunch before we ushered a flock of sheep and goats out of their corral and over the hill. All day long we herded them, occasionally resting beneath the spotty shade of a lone juniper, where my Navajo mother spun carded wool into yarn with her wooden spindle. We returned home with just enough sunlight to chop firewood and prepare dinner; I usually finished drying the dishes by the light of an oil lamp.

"After I returned to Florida State to complete my final semester, I moved to Arizona for good to be close to my Navajo parents and began graduate school at the University of Arizona. At the time, I did not really know where I was going, but I knew that I had begun. I was only following what sustained me and what was most alive in me; little did I dream that the Navajos would lead me to a career of writing and university teaching in anthropology."



American Indian Quarterly, winter, 1994, Stephen C. McCluskey, review of Earth Is My Mother, Sky Is My Father: Space, Time, and Astronomy in Navajo Sandpainting, p. 137.

Booklist, September 1, 1995, review of The Encyclopedia of Native America, p. 106.

Library Journal, April 15, 2001, review of Native Peoples of the Southwest, p. 106.

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Griffin-Pierce, Trudy 1949-

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