N. Scott Momaday

Start Your Free Trial

Download N. Scott Momaday Study Guide

Subscribe Now


(Literary Masters)

Scott Momaday


1934: Navarro Scott Momaday is born on 27 February to Alfred Morris Momaday and Mayme Natachee Scott Momaday at the Kiowa and Comanche Indian Hospital in Lawton, Oklahoma. In the summer the family travels to Devils Tower, a rock formation in northeastern Wyoming; from this journey Momaday receives the Kiowa name Tsoai-talee (Rock-Tree Boy).

1936: The Momaday family leaves Oklahoma, moving to the Navajo reservation in Shiprock, New Mexico.

1943: After moving to several different towns in Arizona, the Momadays move to Hobbs, New Mexico, where Momaday’s father works for an oil company and his mother works for the civilian personnel office at Hobbs Army Air Base.

1946: The Momaday family moves to Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico, where both parents take teaching jobs at Jemez Day School.

1951: After attending various schools in New Mexico, Momaday completes his secondary education at the Augustus Military Academy in Fort Defiance, Virginia.

1952: Momaday begins studies at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.

1956: Momaday enters the prelaw program at the University of Virginia.

1957: Momaday returns to the University of New Mexico.

1958: Momaday graduates from the University of New Mexico with a major in English and a minor in speech. He takes a teaching job at the Dulce Independent School on the Jicarilla Apache reservation in Duke, New Mexico.

1959: In Dulce, Momaday meets and marries Gaye Mangold, with whom he has three daughters: Cael, Jill, and Britt. His first published poem, “Los Alamos,” appears in the New Mexico Quarterly. He wins a Wallace Stegner Creative Writing Fellowship to attend Stanford University.

1962: Momaday wins the Academy of American Poets Prize for “The Bear.”

1963: Momaday earns a doctorate in English at Stanford. He begins teaching at the University of California at Santa Barbara and publishes a short story, “The Well,” in Ramparts.

1965: Momaday’s dissertation is published as The Complete Poems of Frederick Goddard Tuckerman.

1966: Momaday receives a Guggenheim Fellowship for study of the intellectual background of Tuckerman’s poetry, and he moves to Amherst, Massachusetts to do his research.

1967: Momaday’s The Journey of Tai-me is published.

1968: Momaday’s first novel, House Made of Dawn, is published.

1969: Momaday’s The Way to Rainy Mountain is published. He receives the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for House Made of Dawn and is named Outstanding Indian of the Year by the American Indian community. Momaday begins teaching at the University of California, Berkeley, and is initiated into the Gourd Dance Society of the Kiowa tribe.

1972: Momaday joins the faculty at Stanford but immediately takes a leave of absence to serve as Distinguished Visiting Professor of Humanities at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. He begins writing a weekly column for Viva: Northern New Mexico’s Sunday Magazine.

1973: Colorado: Summer/Fall/Winter/Spring, a book of photographs with text by Momaday, is published.

1974: Momaday returns to Stanford and then takes a position as a visiting professor at the University of Moscow in the Soviet Union. His Angle of Geese and Other Poems is published. He begins sketching and drawing seriously.

1976: Momaday’s The Names: A Memoir and a poetry collection, The Gourd Dancer, art published. A series of prose poems, The Colors of Night, is published in an illustrated, limited edition.

1978: Momaday marries Regina Heitzer, whom he met while serving as a visiting professor at the University of Regensburg in Germany and with whom he has one daughter.

1979: Momaday has his first one-man show of artwork at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

1980: Momaday receives an honorary doctorate of fine arts from Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa.

1981: Momaday moves to Tucson, Arizona, to begin teaching at the University of Arizona. His father dies.

1989: Momaday’s second novel, The Ancient Child, is published.

1992: Momaday’s In the Presence of the Sun: Stories and Poems, 1961-1991 is...

(The entire section is 61,980 words.)