|Erdrich's mother was Chippewa, her father German, and she was raised in North Dakota near the Chippewa reservation where her grandparents lived--a setting for much of her work. She attended Dartmouth, where she met the writer Michael Dorris, whom she married in 1981, and from whom she separated shortly before his suicide in 1997. Erdrich and Dorris collaborated on several of their fiction works. In her novels and short stories, Erdrich writes about her Native-American heritage, often transplanting characters from one book to another. Her dominant theme is the struggle to retain traditional Native-American values in the face of poverty, racism, and the pervasiveness of white culture.