Sharing His Heritage Through the Written Word
Dean Hutchins’ first career was in information technology, but that wasn’t what he wanted to do with the rest of his working life. He wanted to write.
He’s now a senior in Mason’s BFA program in Creative Writing, a field in which he’s able to incorporate his Native American heritage and his activism on Native issues.
Hutchins recently took Mason’s introductory Native American and Indigenous Studies course (“I can hardly think of it as ‘work’ ”) and is active in the university’s Native American and Indigenous Alliance.
His activism often provides inspiration for his work.
“My writing tends to focus on areas of injustice, and though I'm not always talking about Native traditions, I usually work some Native thinking into the story,” he says.
Find Dean Hutchins’ recent short fiction in When Spirits Visit: A Collection of Stories by Indigenous Writers and a nonfiction essay in Unraveling the Spreading Cloth of Time: Indigenous Thoughts Concerning the Universe.
For more than two decades, Hutchins has been a member of the Nuyagi Keetoowah Society, a Cherokee scholarly organization in New York. He’s now the society’s chairman (Kalona), and has represented the group at the NGO Committee on the Rights of Indigenous People. He’s also spoken at the annual United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
At Mason, he participated in the NAIS’s Veteran’s Day Pow Wow, and has spoken to the Student Senate about changing the Columbus Day holiday to Indigenous People Day.
“There was a member of the audience who was against the idea and brought up the fact that the issue had been discussed unfavorably at the U.N.,” Hutchins says. “I was at the U.N. when that happened and was able to correct his misrepresentation.”