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Summer 2019 Newsletter

Joe Starita to Receive 2019 Sower Award in the Humanities

Joe Starita of Lincoln will receive the 2019 Sower Award in the Humanities at 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 24 at the Holland Performing Arts Center in Omaha. The award ceremony will precede the 24th Annual Governor’s Lecture in the Humanities featuring historian Dwight David Eisenhower II. 

Each year, the Sower Award is presented to someone who has made “a significant contribution to public understanding of the humanities in Nebraska.”

Molly O’Holleran nominated Starita for the Sower Award, describing him as the “ultimate storyteller” who “inspires our thinking in a way that calls each of us to seek truth in our own lives, analyze the problems, explore solutions, and plant our own seeds of courage to enhance humanity.”

Currently a journalism professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Starita previously worked as an investigative reporter for the Miami Herald. There, he was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in local reporting. 

He has also penned three award-winning books that explore the historic role of Native Americans, showcasing their courage in the face of racial prejudice. All profits from his books, “I Am A Man: Chief Standing Bear’s Journey for Justice” and “A Warrior of the People: How Susan La Flesche Overcame Racial and Gender Inequality to Become America’s First Indian Doctor,” go to a scholarship fund that enables Nebraska Native American students to attend college. 

As a university professor, Starita inspires students to use journalism to expose prejudice and effect change. Students in his in-depth reporting class who wrote about the troubles in Whiteclay became the first college students to win the Robert F. Kennedy Humanities Foundation Grand Prize, besting The New York Times, National Geographic, Reuters TV, and HBO. 

Starita also gives public talks across the state, independently and as a member of the HN Speakers Bureau, telling the stories of Chief Standing Bear and Susan La Flesche.

Judi M. gaiashkibos, executive director of the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs, also supported his nomination. She wrote, “Starita’s passion for Indian culture, his relentless research and creative work, have earned him the trust and respect of Indian people throughout Nebraska and America...He is
truly worthy of the Sower Award.”

The Sower Award Presentation and Governor's Lecture are free and open to the public. No tickets are required to attend. 

Table sponsorships and tickets to the dinner prior to the Sower Award presentation are still available. Please call 402.474.2131 to make your reservations or go to 

Humanities Nebraska programming is made possible by:

and generous individuals, foundations, and businesses across Nebraska.