AMS Alum Spotlight: Gretchen Cassel Eick, Ph.D

Gretchen Cassel Eick, Ph.D. American Studies 1998, won Prose Writer of 2021 and her double biography and history, They Met at Wounded Knee: The Eastmans’ Story, University of Nevada Press, 2020, won the J. Donald and Bertha Coffin Memorial Book Award from the Kansas Authors Club at its 2021 convention. Eick’s first scholarly book, Dissent in Wichita: The Civil Rights Movement in the Midwest, 1954-72 published by the University of Illinois Press won three regional awards and resulted in a public television documentary of the Dockum Drug Store Sit-ins of 1958. 


Her Eastman book delves into the marriage, writing and lifelong work of Dakota physician Charles Ohiyesa Eastman and Anglo writer and activist Elaine Goodale. Through their writing and the story of their work to change US Indian policy, Eick makes accessible little known aspects of the nature of US colonization of indigenous Americans from 1860-1940. Her book received praise from Phillip Deloria and Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, leading scholars of Indigenous American history.


After fourteen years on Capitol Hill working on foreign and military policy, she taught for twenty years at Friends University in Wichita as Professor of History. She retired in 2013 to have more time to write. Eick has written four novels with a fifth forthcoming in early 2022 and contributed to two collaboratively written books. Her novels vary from the civil rights movement to Britain’s biggest drug bust to a future fascist Britain and its treatment of asylum seekers. She is also an opinion writer for the Kansas Reflector.


Having taught on Fulbright Fellowships in Latvia and at a Muslim university in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, she and her husband continued teaching in Mostar as volunteers until mid-2020 and Covid. In 2021 she taught a class at Wichita State.