Their 2012 book You Can’t Eat Dirt: Leading America’s First All-Women Tribal Council and How We Changed Palm Springs won for Best Regional Non-Fiction from the West-Pacific United States.

Diana du Pont and Debra Olinger, Mrs. Ortner’s daughter, will attend the IPPY Awards Ceremony in New York City on May 29th to receive the Silver Medal. On this special occasion, You Can’t Eat Dirt will also be featured in the “New Title Showcase” at BookExpo America, the premier North American publishing event dedicated to helping authors, readers, and industry professionals discover new books.

The Independent Publisher Book Awards, also known as the IPPY Awards, honors independent authors and small press publishers. Launched in 1996, the IPPY Awards was “conceived as a broad-based, unaffiliated awards program open to all independent authors and publishers worldwide who produce books written in English.”

This year the IPPYs judged a record number of entries across all categories, over some 5,000. “Most of the IPPY medal-winning books came from California, with a whopping 49 winners!” said Jim Barnes, IPPY Awards Director. “Independent publishers are growing in number, and the quality of their work is increasing. One element driving the high rate of excellence is the participation from university presses,” continued Barnes.

You Can’t Eat Dirt tells the remarkable story of Vyola Ortner and how she led the first all-women tribal council in the United States. Part autobiography, part biography, this beautifully designed book—filled with photographs, maps, historical documents, and news clippings—chronicles how, Olinger (later Ortner) and her fellow female tribal leaders set in motion a sequence of events during the 1950s that would alter the destinies and fortunes of their native people and, ultimately, Native Americans across the nation.

You Can’t Eat Dirt is published by the Fan Palm Research Project and is available through

The Fan Palm Research Project, based in Santa Barbara and Palm Springs, studies the modern Agua Caliente Cahuilla of Palm Springs, California, and the greater Coachella Valley Region. Its title derives from the common name for Washingtonia filifera, which is the Latin term for the iconic palm tree that is native to the Western United States and is particularly abundant in the Indian Canyons where the Agua Caliente Cahuilla once lived.

The following link connects to the complete list of all awards for the 2013 Independent Publisher Book Awards:


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