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D'Arcy McNickle

D'Arcy McNickle

American writer
D'Arcy McNickle
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American writer
Was Writer Anthropologist Novelist
From United States of America
Type Literature Social science
Gender male
Birth 14 January 1904, St. Ignatius
Death 10 October 1977, Albuquerque (aged 73 years)
Peoplepill ID darcy-mcnickle
The details (from wikipedia)


(William) D'Arcy McNickle (January 14, 1904 – October 10, 1977) was a writer, Native American activist, college professor, and anthropologist.


D’Arcy McNickle, an enrolled Salish Kootenai on the Flathead Indian Reservation, became one of the most prominent twentieth-century American Indian activists. He was born on January 14, 1904, to an Irish father, William McNickle, and a full Cree Métis mother, Philomene Parenteau. His mother fled to Montana to escape the Metis revolution and eventually found solace in the Flathead reservation. He grew up on the Flathead Reservation in St. Ignatius, Montana and went to mission and non-reservation boarding schools. At the age of seventeen, he gained attendance to the University of Montana where he attended from the years 1921-1925. This is where he found his love for language and began to pursue his wordsmith qualities, where he studied Greek and Latin. In 1925 McNickle sold his land allotment on the Flathead Reservation so that he could raise the money necessary to study abroad at Oxford University and the University of Grenoble. After returning to the United States, McNickle lived in New York City until he was hired by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1936.

McNickle worked under Commissioner of Indian Affairs John Collier during the 1930s and 1940s. The Bureau of Indian Affairs first hired him as an administrative assistant, but by 1950 he had been appointed chief of the tribal relations branch, and he soon became an expert. He was appointed the director of the University of Colorado's American Indian Development, Inc. in 1952, and received an honorary Doctor of Science degree in 1966. Later that year, he moved to what is now the University of Regina, to create the anthropology department. In 1972, he helped create the Center for the History of the American Indian in Chicago's Newberry Library; the center was named in his honor in 1984. Also named in his honor was the library at the Salish Kootenai College on the Flathead Reservation.

McNickle was also instrumental in drafting the "Declaration of Indian Purpose" for the 1961 American Indian Chicago Conference, helped found the National Congress of American Indians, and was named a fellow of the American Anthropological Association.

McNickle was married three times: to Joran Jacobine Birkeland from 1926–1938; to Roma Kaye Haufman from 1939–1967; and to his AID co-worker, sociologist Viola Gertrude Pfrommer, from 1969-1977. He had two daughters, Antoinette Marie Parenteau McNickle (with Joran) and Kathleen D'Arcy McNickle (with Roma). He died of a heart attack in October 1977.

The Surrounded

McNickle's best-known literary contribution was his novel The Surrounded, which tells of Archilde Leon, a young half-Salish male returning to the Flathead Indian Reservation who finds that he cannot communicate with either his white (Spanish) father or his traditionalist Indian mother. The relationship between him and his parents become strained when they are against him taking his passions to the big city far away from home. Archilde begins to find his place on the reservation after one of the elders, Modeste, teaches him the stories of Salish history, and Archilde reconciles with his father and adopts his mother's Indian traditions. However, at the end of the novel, he is wrongly accused of two murders (one committed by his mother) and surrenders in a scene that represents the book's title.

The Hawk is Hungry and Other Stories

This is a compilation of sixteen stories that pave the way to explain McNickle's literary style. It was published in 1992 and contains some of McNickle's best works of literature. The compilation contains:

  • "The Reservation"
  • "Hard Riding"
  • "En roulant ma boule roulant..."
  • "Meat for God"
  • "Snowfall"
  • "Train Time"
  • "Montana"
  • "The Hawk Is Hungry"
  • "Debt of Gratitude"
  • "Newcomers"
  • "Man's Work"
  • "Going to School"
  • "The City"
  • "Manhattan Wedlock"
  • "Let the War Be Fought"
  • "In the Alien Corn"
  • "Six Beautiful in Paris"
  • and "The Silver Locket"



  • National Congress of American Indians (N.C.A.I)
  • American Indian Development, Inc.

Literary contributions

  • The Surrounded (1936)
  • Wind From an Enemy Sky (1978)
  • The Hawk is Hungry and Other Stories (1992)
  • Indian Man: A Life of Oliver La Farge (1971)
  • Indians and Other Americans: Two Ways of Life Meet (1959)
  • Native American Tribalism: Indian Survivals and Renewals (1973)
  • Runner in the Sun: a story of Indian Maize (1954)
  • They Came Here First : the Epic of the American Indian (1949) Revised (1975)
  • The Indian in American Society (for National Congress of American Indians, 1955)
  • An Historical Review of Federal-Indian Relationships (American Indian Policy Review Commission, 1975)

American Indian Chicago Conference

June 1961

  • Declaration of Indian Purpose

Academic criticism

  • Cobb, Daniel M. “Chapter One: Declarations.” In Before Red Power: The Politics of Tribal Self-Determination in Cold War America. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2008.
  • Cobb, Daniel M. “Indian Politics in Cold War America: Parallel and Contradiction.” Princeton University Library Chronicle LXVII, no. 2 (winter 2006): 392-419.
  • Cobb, Daniel M. “Talking the Language of the Larger World: Politics in Cold War (Native) America.” In Beyond Red Power: New Perspectives on American Indian Politics and Activism. Edited by Daniel M. Cobb and Loretta Fowler. Santa Fe: School of American Research Press, 2007.
  • Collier, John. “A Perspective on the United States Indian Situation of 1952 in its Hemispheric and Worldwide Bearing.” América Indígena 13, no. 1 (January 1953): 7-13.
  • Cowger, Thomas. The National Congress of American Indians: The Founding Years. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2001.
  • Cracroft, Richard H. Twentieth-century American Western Writers. Detroit: Gale Group, 1999.
  • Critical Perspectives on Native American Fiction. Edited by Richard F. Fleck. Washington, D.C.: Three Continents Press, 1993.
  • Handbook of Native American Literature. Edited by Andrew Wiget. New York: Garland, 1996.
  • Hans, Birgit, ed. “The Hawk is Hungry” & Other Stories: An Annotated Anthology of D’Arcy McNickle’s Short Fiction. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1992.
  • Hans, Birgit. “Surrounded: The Fiction of D’Arcy McNickle.” Thesis Dissertation (Ph.D.) University of Arizona, 1988.
  • Hans, Birgit. The Hawk is Hungry: An Annotated Anthology of D’Arcy McNickle’s Short Fiction. Thesis (M.A.) University of Arizona, 1986.
  • Lagrand, James B. Indian Metropolis: Native Americans in Chicago, 1945-75. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2002.
  • Libby, Orin Grant. The Arikara Narrative of Custer’s Campaign and the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Introduction by D’Arcy McNickle. 1920. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1998.
  • Lurie, Nancy Oestreich. “Sol Tax and Tribal Sovereignty,” Human Organization: Journal of the Society for Applied Anthropology, Vol. 58 No. 1 (Spring 1999): 108-117.
  • Miller, Jay. Writings in Indian History, 1985-1990. Compiled by Jay Miller, Colin G. Calloway, and Richard A. Sattler. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1995.
  • Nagel, Joane. American Indian Ethnic Renewal: Red Power and the Resurgence of Identity and Culture. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.
  • Native American Literature: An Anthology. Compiled by Lawana Trout. Lincolnwood, Ill.: NTC Pub. Group, 1999.
  • Ortiz, Alfonso. D’Arcy McNickle (1904–1977): Across the River and Up the Hill: A Personal Remembrance. 1980-1989?.
  • Ortiz, Simon J. “Towards a National Indian Literature: Cultural Authenticity in Nationalism.” MELUS 8, no. 2 (summer 1981): 7-12.
  • Owens, Louis. Other Destinies: Understanding the American Indian Novel. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1992.
  • Parker, Dorothy R. “Choosing an Indian Identity: A Biography of D’Arcy McNickle.” Thesis Dissertation (Ph. D.) University of New Mexico, 1988.
  • Parker, Dorothy R. “D’Arcy McNickle: Living a Broker’s Life.” In Between Indian and White Worlds: The Cultural Broker. Edited by Margaret Connell Szasz. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1994.
  • Parker, Dorothy R. Singing an Indian Song: A Biography of D’Arcy McNickle. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1992.
  • Parker, Dorothy. “D’Arcy McNickle.” In The New Warriors: Native American Leaders since 1900. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2001.
  • Parker, Robert Dale. The Invention of Native American Literature. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2003.
  • Provinse, John Henry, Thomas Segundo, Sol Tax, and D’Arcy McNickle. The American Indian Now: An NBC Radio Discussion. Chicago: University of Chicago Round Table (Radio Program), 1954.
  • Purdy, John Lloyd. Word Ways: The Novels of D’Arcy McNickle. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1990.
  • Rains, James W. “Today Speaks in Yesterday’s Voice: Writing American Indians into History in the Fiction of D’Arcy McNickle." Thesis Dissertation (Ph.D.) University of Michigan, 2004.
  • Roemer, Kenneth M. Native American Writers of the United States. Detroit: Gale Research, 1997.
  • Rosier, Paul C. “’They Are Ancestral Homelands’: Race, Place, and Politics in Cold War Native America, 1945-1961.” Journal of American History 92, no. 4 (March 2006): 1300-1326.
  • Ruppert, James. D’Arcy McNickle. Boise, Idaho: Boise State University, 1988.
  • Smoke Rising: The Native American Literary Companion. Edited by Joseph Bruchac, managing editor; Janet Witalec, editor with Sharon Malinowski. Detroit: Visible Ink Press, 1995.
  • Squires, Nancy Elam. "Back to the Blanket: The Indian Fiction of Oliver La Farge, Joseph Matthews, D’Arcy McNickle, Ruth Underhill and Frank Waters, 1927-1944." Thesis (Ph.D.) Harvard University, 2004.
  • Stories for a Winter’s Night: Short Fiction by Native Americans. Edited by Maurice Kenny. Buffalo, N.Y.: White Pine Press, 2000.
  • Straus, Terry, Ron Bowan, and Michael Chapman, “Anthropology, Ethics, and the American Indian Chicago Conference,” American Ethnologist Vol. 13 No. 4 (November 1986): 802-804.
  • The Legacy of D’Arcy McNickle: Writer, Historian, Activist. Edited by John Lloyd Purdy. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1996.
  • The Singing Spirit: Early Short Stories by North American Indians. Edited by Bernd C. Peyer. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1989.
  • Thompson, Joan Elizabeth. “The Control of Water and Land: Dams and Irrigation in Novels by Mary Hallock Foote, Mary Hunter Austin, Frank Waters, and D’Arcy McNickle.” Thesis Dissertation (Ph.D) University of Minnesota, 1994.
  • Towner, Lawrence William. “D’Arcy McNickle.” In Past Imperfect: Essays on History, Libraries, and the Humanities. Edited by Robert W. Karrow, Jr. and Alfred F. Young, with an introduction by Alfred F. Young. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993.
  • Voice of the Turtle: American Indian Literature, 1900-1970. Edited by Paula Gunn Allen. New York: Ballantine Books, 1994.

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