Nebraska Authors

Ruth Beebe Hill

Born 1913-04-26 Cleveland, OH (USA)

Died 2015-05-28

Ruth Beebe Hill is NOT a Nebraska author. She was the author of a single novel about Native Americans that became mired in intense controversy soon after it was published. Hill's novel Hanta Yo! was published at a moment of intense enthusiasm for Alex Haley's 1976 novel Roots, which was grounded in the history of Haley's own African-American family. Hill's novel came to be marketed, badly, as a kind of Native American analogue to Roots. But her work was entirely fictional. She was a nice enough white lady who had done much research, but her anthropological assumptions, her vision of the "primitive" life of prehistorical Native Americans, irritated many (though not all) present day Native Americans. Her most important Native American informant, Chunksa Yuha was a Nebraskan. Her visit to Lincoln, Nebraska in April, 1980 was subject to local and national protest. Her planned presentation at the University of Nebraska at that time was cancelled. News clippings and letters in her Heritage Room files document the controversy. Hill is retained in the database because of the local impact of the controversy over her work.

Author Of

  • Fiction


Native Americans; Literary Controversies


Hanta Yo. 1979.

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Ruth Beebe Hill

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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)