This collection, 1927-2000, and updated, contain biographical materials, books, poems, letters, photographs, cassette tapes, poetry serials and monographs, some of which are from or focus on Indigenous poets and poetry, indigenous newspapers in which he published his poetry, indigenous reading materials, and a few objects.
This collection, 1927-2000, and updated, contain biographical materials, books, poems, letters, photographs, cassette tapes, poetry serials and monographs, some of which are from or focus on Indigenous poets and poetry, indigenous newspapers in which he published his poetry, indigenous reading materials, and a few objects. The collection is organized by size, series, and then alphabetically and chronologically. Overall the collection is in very good physical condition, except for the newspapers which are acidic. All the boxes are .5 cubic foot letter size, except for Box 4 which is a .25 cubic foot letter-size box and Box 5 which is a .25 cubic foot legal-size box.
The majority of Boxes 1-5 consists of letters from Carroll Arnett to various people. Three folders contain letters to other poets including J.D. Whitney (1940-), Linda Hogan (1947-) who in 2023 was the Chickasaw Nation’s Writer in Residence, and Peter Blue Cloud or Aroniawenrate (1933-2011), of the Turtle Clan of Mohawk Nation. There are folders with letters from Arnett’s time at Knox College and Central Michigan University (CMU), which includes his request for a sabbatical and promotion. There is also a substantial number of letters between Arnett and his main publisher, (The) Elizabeth Press. There are folders with poems and publications written by Arnett including: La Dene, Someone in Another Place, and Thematic Structure in Keats’s Endymion. There are three folders of notes written by Arnett about the American Indian Movement (AIM), the Michigan Civil Rights Commission Report, and Wounded Knee. There are photographs of Arnett. There is a folder of documents and notes while Arnett was on the CMU President’s Advisory Committee that investigated the “Chippewas” as the University Symbol. There are two folders of Arnett’s association with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, a nonprofit organization that seeks to advance right to work laws in the U.S. Arnett brought a court case against CMU and the Michigan Education Association, which is documented in the collection. There is also a folder containing a racist letter that was sent to Arnett while he was teaching at CMU that contains cruel racist language.
Box 4 contains folders that are not entirely related to Arnett but are Indigenous reading materials that Arnett collected. There are two folders with educational materials on the Cherokee language. There is a folder of materials from AIM. There are also materials from Dennis Banks who visited CMU in 1973, including a photograph.
Box 5 is legal-size (.25 cubic foot) box containing three folders with objects including: an AIM pin, AIM bumper stickers, and Arnett’s glasses and case.
Boxes 6-9 consists mainly of publications in which he published his poetry, including serials as well as a few journals or books he edited or which were dedicated or inscribed to him, and poetry and indigenous newspapers. Indigenous reading materials, poetry in serials or monographs, are also included. Most of these materials are in English, but some are in Cherokee and Dutch. Issues of indigenous-generated or focused newspapers and general poetry newspapers, all but one of which contains one or more poems by Arnett, complete the collection. The newspapers are mainly in English but also include poetry and other information in Mohawk, Shawnee, and Cherokee.
During processing 5.5 feet of materials were withdrawn, including duplicates, miscellaneous letters, blanks, reading materials, out-of-scope material, and duplicate and/or miscellaneous publications.
Numerous books and periodical titles donated with the collection were separately cataloged, both examples of Arnett’s writing and editing, and materials written by other indigenous writers. The Clarke also has publications by Arnett that preceded the donation of this collection. Titles in boxes 6-9 were originally going to be separately cataloged, but due to resources it was eventually decided to add them to this collection.
Carroll Arnett’s suitcase, a powder horn, and an Oklahoma state flag were transferred to the CMU Museum of Cultural and Natural History.