Birchbark © Author Adventures
Made with fallen birchbark © Author Adventures

Louise Erdrich, Child of North Dakota

Louise Erdrich (1954- ) is a highly accomplished writer whose writings encompass novels, short stories, a travelogue, and a remarkable children’s series. Her award-winning works are permeated with the Native American experience. She grew up in North Dakota, where her parents worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs School.

She is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. Read more about the Bureau and its service to the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa here: https://www.bia.gov/regional-offices/great-plains/north-dakota/turtle-mountain-agency. According to its website: “The land holdings of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa and individual tribal members stand at approximately 79,176 acres with an equal amount located in Montana and South Dakota. The agency is staffed with approximately 50 employees, the vast majority being tribal members.”

The population of Bismarck is approximately 73,000, which is roughly twice the number of residents during Louise Erdrich’s childhood.

What to Read

A list of books by this prolific author can be found here: https://www.bookseriesinorder.com.

What to See in North Dakota

In Bismarck, you can take a North Dakota State Capitol Tour (600 E. Boulevard Avenue, Bismarck) and view the  Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award, which was given to Louise Erdrich in 2013. Read about it here: https://www.governor.nd.gov/theodore-roosevelt-rough-rider-award/louise-erdrich.

More to See Outside North Dakota

Find out more about Louise Erdrich on our Minnesota page.

“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.” — Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum

The North Dakota State Capitol is the third stop on our North Dakota Author Adventures Trail!

Rebecca Blake Beech