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College of Arts and Humanities

CWU History Professor Wins Prestigious Labriola National Book Prize

Central Washington University History Professor Daniel Herman has received the Labriola National Book Award for Modern American Indian History/Studies for his book, Rim Country Exodus: A Story of Conquest, Renewal, and Race in the Making (University of Arizona Press, 2012). Herman will receive the award at the Labriola Center at Arizona State University on Monday, March 25. He will receive a cash prize of $500 and will speak at the award announcement ceremony.

“I wrote this book,” says Herman, “because of an elderly Yavapai man named John Williams who I interviewed for a school project in 1974. It turned out he’d spent much of his life off the reservation.  He had worked all over Arizona and the West as a cowboy, as a miner, and more. I wanted to find out more about the lives of people like him who left the rez [reservation] in the early twentieth century.”

Herman’s book examines not only Indians who left the reservation, but the larger history of Yavapais and Dilzhe’es (“Tonto Apaches”) from the time of the Indian Wars of the 1860s through the 1930s, when reservation Indians adopted tribal constitutions. Their history, says Herman, is “both tragic and hopeful.” The two closely related peoples, notes Herman, experienced what amounts to ethnic cleansing followed in 1875 by a forced march to an alien reservation. Two decades later, thousands abandoned that reservation and made their way back to their homeland, where they sought to live among settlers.

“Herman’s narrative of the tumultuous experiences of the Dilzhe’e and Yavapai bands is exceptionally interesting and extremely important to the growing body of literature on Native peoples in Arizona,” said Jeffery P. Shepherd, author of We are an Indian Nation: A History of the Hualapai People.

An Arizona native, Herman specializes in American cultural history, American Indian history, the American West, Jacksonian America, and the Civil War. He has produced three books, twelve scholarly articles, and some thirty book reviews, and encyclopedia articles. His first book, Hunting and the American Imagination (Smithsonian Institution Press, 2001), won the 2002 American Historical Society/Pacific Coast Branch book prize and became a History Book Club selection. His second book, Hell on the Range: A Story of Honor, Conscience, and the American West (Yale University Press, 2010) was chosen as a Pima County Library Southwestern Book of the Year. 

Dedicated in 1993, the Labriola National American Indian Data Center in the Arizona State University (ASU) Libraries is one of the only repositories within a public university library devoted to American Indian collections.

Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,

March 13, 2013

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