Having served as one of the University's first Harper fellows
from 1975 to 1978, Straus--who goes by Terry--returned to the
faculty five years ago to teach graduate courses on Native-American
topics. Though she often travels to the Northern Cheyenne Reservation
in Montana (and runs a beef-cattle ranch on the neighboring Crow
Indian Reservation, some 20 miles up a dirt road in the Wolf Mountains),
her work is focused on Chicago's urban Native Americans.
her motto of "practice what you teach," she's active as a volunteer,
adviser, and advocate in the city's community of 7,000 Native
Americans from more than 100 tribal backgrounds. In addition to
her work with NAFPA, she serves on the national advisory council
of the Newberry Library's D'Arcy McNickle Center for American
Indian History and is vice president of the board of directors
of the Red Path Theater Company of Chicago.
former dean of Chicago's Native American Educational Services
(NAES) College, she has published several books on the history
and literary life of the city's Native Americans. Says Native-American
writer and Red Path director E. Donald Two-Rivers: "She has been
a trusted member of our community for as long as I can remember.
I have always regarded her as a trusted educator and diplomat
for our issues."
54-year-old Straus, a third-generation Hyde Parker who is not
Native American, grew up on 56th Street in a gray frame house
between Kenwood and Dorchester. Today, she and her husband, Albert
K. Straus, a surgeon at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center,
live on that same block and have sent all four of their children
to the Lab Schools. The University named a professorship in the
humanities after her grandmother, actress Phyllis Fay Horton,
AB'15, and her parents--Winston & Strawn attorney Calvin P. Sawyier,
AB'42, AM'42, and Illinois Institute of Technology professor emerita
Fay Horton Sawyier, AB'44, PhD'64--met as U of C students. Her
mother, she says, was a role model and encouraged her "as a pre-women's-movement
daughter to do and be anything I might dream of."