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Susan Supernaw

Muscogee Daughter: My Sojourn to the Miss America Pageant

Winner of the 2003 First Book Award for Prose from the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas under the title: The Power of a Name.

Muscogee Daughter will be released in September 2010 by the University of Nebraska Press, as part of their American Indian Lives Series by Bison Books.

book jacket cover

Addressing the power of names and the quest to earn her American Indian name gives this partial autobiography a narrative spine that strings memorable life episodes together in a rich and thought-provoking thematic expression of contradictory elements including: personal strength/vulnerability, pain/healing, intellect/emotion, assimilation/cultural identity, rural upbringing/big city experiences, and science/spirituality.

But despite these paradoxical tensions, an underlying spiritual unity gives the story meaning beyond the conflict to show the balance and harmony of yin and yang - different sides of the same person. Covering the years from 1950 to 1971 in eastern Oklahoma, the Muscogee Creek and Munsee author traces her childhood years in poverty, alcoholism and domestic abuse to her extra-curricular activities and scholastic achievements in school. A cheerleader with a straight "A" average, Supernaw became a Presidential scholar, earned a Washington D.C. internship with House Majority Leader Carl Albert, won a National Merit scholarship to college, and was crowned Miss Oklahoma in 1971. Although she did not win the Miss America pageant that year, she did call attention to the Native peoples living largely invisible lives throughout their own American land. And she did at long last earn her Native American name.

Chronicling a quest to escape poverty and find meaning, Supernaw's story is revealing, humorous, and deeply moving. Muscogee Daughter is the story of finding a Native American identity among the distractions and difficulties of American life, and of discerning an identity among competing notions of what it is to be a woman, a Native American, and a citizen of the world.


Praise for Muscogee Daughter.

"A unique story, but also an iconic American story, it is inspiring and heartbreaking, and ultimately redemptive. Susan Supernaw is living testimony to the triumph of the human spirit as well as the strength of Native American culture."

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of Red Dirt: Growing Up Okie

"The publication of Susan Supernaw's Muscogee Daughter establishes this former beauty queen as a powerful storyteller. We hear the unlikely tale of how a rowdy, barefoot girl growing up in Indian country made it to the Miss America pageant. What remains most striking is the unexpected gift of the heavy understory of Supernaw's spiritual tests. Throughout the telling, she remains straightforward and mesmerizing. This story is a giveaway, in honor of all those who assisted her in her journey of becoming."

Joy Harjo, Mvskoke poet and musician.

"This is a riveting story about resilience and strength. Susan Supernaw opens the door into the beauty of the Native American spirit as a young girl who triumphs in spite of tough circumstances. It's also the best of the Miss America story-not about who wins a crown but about who is helped to become all she is called to be."

Jane Jayroe, author of More Grace than Glamour: My Life as Miss America and Beyond

To order a hardcover copy:

Order Online: Online catelogs are available at: University of Nebraska Press. The University of Nebraska Press Fall and Winter 2010 book catelog lists the book on page 9 under "Memoir, Native Studies and Women's Studies" and is also featured on the back cover.

Order by phone or mail: Longleaf Services, Inc. is responsible for orders and customer service. You may place an order with them. Their address is PO Box 8895, Chapel Hill,NC 27515-8895. Their phone is 800.848.6224.

Instructor Examination Copy: For a $6.00 shipping fee, a free examination copy of a paperback book can be sent to instructors who request them for possible adoption in their classroom. Subject areas may include (but are not limited to) high school and university courses related to American history, culture, and literature. The request must be made on their institution's letterhead and indicate the course, projected enrollment and semester along with requester's name, address and e-mail. Direct your request to Longleaf Services, Inc., PO Box 8895, Chapel Hill, NC 27515-8895. The University of Nebraska Press examination copy policy is fully explained on the Press's Web site at: www.nebraskapress.unl.edu/pages/BookSellers_educators.aspx.

Memorial Pages
Our elders have walked into the west and are remembered by those left behind.

  Phillip Deere - Muscogee                               Kenneth Anquoe - Kiowa                               Marcellus Williams - Muscogee
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For more information or comments, please email us: info@susansupernaw.com