Nebraska Authors

Joe Starita

Born 1948 Lincoln, NE (USA)

Starita has two Pulitzer Prize nominations, one for investigative reporting with the Miami Herald, the other for his book, The Dull Knifes of Pine Ridge, 1995. Dull Knifes was a Book of the Month Club, History Book Club and Quality Paperback selection and has been translated into six foreign languages. Starita had a distinguished 12 year career with the Miami Herald, which including local and investigative reporting as well as serving as that newspaper's New York bureau chief from 1983 to 1987. He has served as City Editor for the Lincoln Journal Star, and is currently professor of journalism at UNL. He has received numerous awards for both his journalism and his books on Native Americans.

Asked about influences, Starita has cited a period of extensive travel and varied work after he left school in the early 1970s, and the practice of journalism, which he says "forces you to be able to organize and present information in a coherent and readable package--often under field deadline pressure." He also cites the literary influences of writers: "Mark Twain (because he could tell a good story with a powerful message as well as anyone)--Willa Cather (because she understood the powerful relationship between the land and the people of the midwest)--and Wallace Stegner (because he conveyed the great subtlety and beauty of the Great Plains better than anyone)."

In 2012 Starita started the Chief Standing Bear Journey for Justice Scholarship Fund, which awards six to eight scholarships annually to Nebraska Native American high school graduates.

Starita's 2009 book I Am a Man: Chief Standing Bear's Journey for Justice, was the 2011 One Book One Lincoln selection and the One Book One Nebraska selection for 2012.

See also other recent authors with interest in Native Americans: Alan Boye, Stew Magnuson, David Wishart, and John R. Wunder.

Places Lived

Lincoln, NE: 1948-68, 1992-present
New York, NY
Miami, FL
Oakland, CA
Hoboken, NJ

Author Of

  • Fiction
  • Journalism
  • Nonfiction


History--Native American; Journalism; Investigative Reporting; Nonfiction Books; Magazine Articles


Graduate, 1967, Northeast High School, Lincoln, NE
Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and Journalism, 1978, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE
Master of Arts Degree in Journalism, 1996, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE


Journalist for, The Miami Herald, 1979-1992
City Editor for, The Lincoln Journal Star,1997-2000
2000- Present (noted 2017) Pike Professor of Journalism, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Professional Basketball in Turkey, 1970
Construction Paving Crew, Oakland, CA
Private Testing Firm, Hoboken, NJ

Places Worked

Miami Herald Newspaper, 1979-92, (New York bureau chief, 1983-87)
University of Nebraska - Lincoln, Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, 1995-97
Lincoln Journal Star, City Editor, 1997-2000
University of Nebraska - Lincoln, Journalism faculty 2000-present


John H. Ames Reading Series, Featured Reader, 16 May 1996, 19 April 2007, and 19 April 2009
Sigma Delta Chi (Society of Professional Journalists)
Kappa Tau Alpha (Journalism Honorary)
National Investigative Reporters and Editors award, University of Missouri, 1991 National Education
Mountain and Plains Booksellers Award for Best non-fiction, 1995
Nominated for Pulitzer Prize for Dull Knives
Association Civil Rights Award, 2011
Nebraska Literary Heritage Association’s Literary Heritage Award, 2012
Nebraska 150 Books honor for "I Am a Man", 2017
Susan La Flesche Picotte “150 Notable Nebraskans”, Number 23 on the Journal Star Sesquicentennial List of Significant Nebraskans
Standing Bear “150 Notable Nebraskans”, Number 2 on the Journal Star Sesquicentennial List of Significant Nebraskans
Nebraska Journalism Hall of Fame, 2019

Many awards for reporting


Interviewed the Dull Knife family of the Pine Ridge Reservation


The Dull Knifes of Pine Ridge. 1995.
A Day in the Life: The Fans of Memorial Stadium. 1996.
I Am a Man: Chief Standing Bear's Journey for Justice. 2009.
A Warrior of the People: How Susan La Flesche Overcame Racial and Gender Inequality to Become America's First Indian Doctor. 2016.

Joe Starita has participated in three Ames Reading Series programs:

May 1996:

April 2007:

April 2009:

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Joe Starita

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(e.g. Author is buried in Fremont, not in David City / Also wrote for the Daily Nebraskan during her time as a student)