Author Nerburn to speak at library

Courtesy photo: Kent Nerburn

BROOKINGS – In the 2019 One Book South Dakota selection, “Neither Wolf nor Dog: On Forgotten Roads with an Indian Elder,” author Kent Nerburn challenges readers to re-examine their thoughts on race relations, cultural acceptance and other ideas crucial to co-existence.

The Brookings Public Library will host Nerburn on his One Book South Dakota Author Tour for “Neither Wolf nor Dog,” at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Cooper Room. He will discuss his work, answer questions and sign books.  For more information, contact Library Director Ashia Gustafson at 692-9407 or [email protected]

“Neither Wolf nor Dog” discussions and author visits fulfill the South Dakota Humanities Council’s mission to “celebrate literature, promote civil conversation, and tell the stories that define our state.”

Because the book is told from a multicultural perspective, it will provide historical context for race relations in South Dakota and elsewhere while also encouraging civil and thoughtful dialogue as readers reflect on the three main characters’ attempts to understand each other.  

 “In ‘Neither Wolf nor Dog,’ I tell the story of three men – two Native and one non-Native – as we journey through a world too often hidden and too little understood, and struggle to see the world through each other’s eyes,” Nerburn said. “I hope readers who share this journey will learn something of our complex and difficult intertwined histories and reflect on what it means to go forward as common children of this common land.”

Nerburn will deliver a keynote address at the 2019 South Dakota Festival of Books in Deadwood, Oct. 3-6. He will also visit several other South Dakota communities in June. Watch for schedule details.

Born and raised near Minneapolis, Nerburn earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Minnesota in American studies. He went on to study humanities and religious studies at Stanford University before earning a doctorate in religious studies and art at the University of California at Berkeley. 

Originally a sculptor, Nerburn became a writer to reach broader audiences with his work. After spending 25 years in northern Minnesota, Nerburn and his wife now live near Portland, Oregon. 

A two-time winner of the Minnesota Book Award, Nerburn is the author of 14 books on spiritual values and Native American themes, including “Letters to My Son,” “Chief Joseph and the Flight of the Nez Perce” and, most recently, “Dancing with the Gods.”

“For several years I worked on the Red Lake Ojibwe reservation helping students collect the memories of the tribal elders,” Nerburn said. “This changed my life and introduced me to the native spiritual traditions that have become so central to the message in my writings.”

Perhaps his most well-known book, “Neither Wolf Nor Dog” was made into a feature film in 2016.

“I am humbled to have my unique literary child, ‘Neither Wolf nor Dog,’ chosen as the one book South Dakota selection for 2019,” Nerburn said. “A Native elder once counseled me: ‘You should always teach by story, because stories lodge deep in the heart.’”

The South Dakota Humanities Council coordinates the One Book South Dakota program, as well as the South Dakota Festival of Books and the Speakers Bureau programs. Learn more at

For additional information about the programs and services of the Brookings Public Library, visit and follow the library on Facebook @bkglib. 

The mission of Brookings Public Library is to provide materials and information contributing to the education, recreation and quality of life for the Brookings community.


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