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Helmut Schmidt, Published April 01 2013

Louise Erdrich, renowned author, receives ND's 39th Rough Rider Award

BISMARCK – Renowned author and Wahpeton native Louise Erdrich on Monday was named the 39th recipient of the North Dakota Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple will officially present Erdrich with the state’s highest commendation April 19 in Wahpeton, making her the 10th woman to receive the honor and the third author – joining Western novelist Louis L’Amour and North Dakota poet laureate Larry Woiwode.

“Throughout her career, Louise has maintained strong ties to North Dakota, often featuring her home state in her books,” Dalrymple said in a news release. “She has proudly represented our great state, and it is my privilege to honor her with this prestigious recognition.”

Erdrich is the author of 14 novels, as well as volumes of poetry, children’s books and a memoir of early motherhood. Her latest novel, “The Round House,” won the National Book Award for fiction in 2012.

“I will always consider Wahpeton, and the Turtle Mountains of North Dakota, my home,” Erdrich said. “As I’ve been helped by powers beyond my ordinary talents, this award is for all. It honors my family, teachers, friends, ancestors, the characters in my books and the generosity of this land.”

Karen Louise Erdrich was born in 1954 in Little Falls, Minn., and grew up in Wahpeton, where her parents worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs School. Erdrich is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. She now lives in Minneapolis.

She graduated from Dartmouth College and received a master’s degree in fine arts from Johns Hopkins University.

Her 1984 novel “Love Medicine” won the National Book Critics Circle Award. “The Plague of Doves,” published in 2008, won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

“An Evening with Louise Erdrich” will begin at 7 p.m. April 19 at the North Dakota State College of Science Student Center in Wahpeton. At the event, Dalrymple will unveil a portrait of Erdrich that will hang in the state Capitol in Bismarck, joining the previous winners of the state’s highest honor.

Erdrich will give a reading after the presentation, and a public reception and book signing will follow at the Red Door Art Gallery in Wahpeton.

Recipients of the Rough Rider Award are chosen by the governor, with the concurrence of secretary of state and the director of the State Historical Society.


List of Rough Rider Award recipients

Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award winners:

•Lawrence Welk, entertainer, 1961

•Dorothy Stickney, actress, 1961

•Ivan Dmitri, artist, 1962

•Roger Maris, athlete, 1964

•Eric Sevareid, journalist, 1964

•Gen. Harold K. Johnson, military service, 1965

•Dr. Anne H. Carlsen, educator, 1966

•Edward K. Thompson, journalist, 1968

•Dr. Robert Henry Bahmer, archiving, 1970

•Louis L’Amour, author, 1972

•Bertin C. Gamble, entrepreneur, 1972

•Casper Oimoen, athlete, 1973

•Peggy Lee, entertainer, 1975

•Harold Schafer, entrepreneur, 1975

•Era Bell Thompson, journalist, 1976

•Dr. Leon Orris Jacobson, physician, 1976

•Elizabeth Bodine, humanitarian, 1979

•Phyllis Frelich, actress, 1981

•Cliff “Fido” Purpur, athlete, 1981

•Gen. David C. Jones, military service, 1982

•Ronald N. Davies, judge, 1987

•Phil Jackson, athlete, 1992

•Larry Woiwode, author, 1992

•Angie Dickinson, actress, 1992

•Rev. Richard C. Halverson, minister, 1994

•Brynhild Haugland, legislator, 1995

•Admiral William A. Owens, military service, 1996

•Carl Ben Eielson, pioneer aviator, 1997

•Warren Christopher, public service, 1998

•Bobby Vee, entertainer, 1999

•Chester “Chet” Reitan, entrepreneur, 2002

•Thomas J. Clifford, educator, 2002

•Sister Thomas Welder, educator, 2004

•Harry J. Pearce, business leader, 2004

•William C. Marcil, business leader, 2006

•Master Sgt. Woodrow Wilson Keeble, military service, 2008

•Doug Burgum, entrepreneur and philanthropist, 2009

•Ronald D. Offutt, agribusiness leader and philanthropist, 2011

•Louise Erdrich, author, 2013.

Source: North Dakota governor’s office


Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583