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Good understanding--a conversation with Bennis Blue, Ph.D.

Dr. Bennis Blue is a prolific writer and a dedicated scholar. This dynamic Cherokee author has inspired many with her writing and with her teaching at the university level. As a writer, her work revived interest in the writings of Native American author Olivia Ward Bush Banks. As a teacher, Dr. Blue shares her love of English with students. As a scholar, Dr. Blue shares her knowledge with the readers of this publication in a thoughtful interview.

Q: Who is Bennis Blue?

A: A child of God who just keeps getting up and walking because of the Biblical and Scriptural promises.

Q: How did you come to do the work that you do?

A: My family and community always expected me to to lead and to be a teacher. I teach what I love and I try very hard (though flailing) to teach by example.

Q: Years ago, throughout the USA, people of color were persecuted and even slain for pursuing literacy. What do you see as the greatest threat to our literacy now? Our greatest ally?

A: We are our own worst enemies, but those who persist will make inroads in the end. Our greatest ally would be ourselves and our spiritual focus.

Q: What projects are you working on now? Please tell us all about them?

A: I am working on journal reviews, conference presentations, and a book proposal that currently is asking me to haul out my salesmanship skill or persuasive finesse.

Q: How does your tribal heritage shape your work?

A: Being of Native (N.C. Cherokee) heritage, sometimes is limiting because of the bureaucracy, but it does not hinder my ability to see what I hope to do and how it adds to or shapes the history of my multi-cultured/race heritage.

Q: What work have you done that makes you the most gratified?

A: I feel most gratified when I see a student walk across the stage and accept a diploma knowing they must give back.

Q: Are there spiritual or cultural beliefs that guide your path and your work? How so?

A: I base my life on Scriptural promises.

Q: What do you hope your audience learns from your work?

A: I hope that people will learn ways to strengthen and reify themselves in places where others wittingly or by happenstance decrement them.

Q: Do you have artists, writers or leaders that inspire you? Tell us about them please.

A: I love all things and people that God has made--I have spent years adoring Native and African American writers. I am seeking to love the creative genius that I am told resides in me!


Q: Whom do you hope to inspire?

A: My students, and anybody who hopes to be inspired by someone who loves the hurts and successes of humanity.

Q: How can we inspire future generations, in a world of video games and i-pods, to enjoy the written word?

A: Let them alone--they will find their way as we did.

Q: Have you faced challenges? How did you overcome them?

A: Life is a challenge; finding ways to be happy and enjoy the abundant life we have been given has been my challenge for years now.

Q: Any wisdom for those facing obstacles now? Pray--acknowledge your higher Power--give--be happy with your-self--know that your time on Earth is terminal, and make a difference while you can. What would you advise someone who wants to walk a similar path to yours to do?

A: Find your own model and follow it!

Q: Thank you for sharing with us. We appreciate your wisdom. Any parting thoughts?

A: Thank you for wanting to share my experience! Much Love--Peace, Love, and ChickenGrease!

Dr. Dawn Karima Pettigrew is a NAMMY-nominated recording artist and the host of REZERVATIONS WITH HONEY DAWN KARIMA, a Native American talk show that airs on "Native Voice One" ( and

Interview by Dawn Karima Pettigrew, Ph.D.
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Title Annotation:Book Corner
Author:Pettigrew, Dawn Karima
Publication:Whispering Wind
Article Type:Interview
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2011
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