Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Leslie Marmon Silko

Born this day in 1948: Leslie Marmon Silko (b. 1948), prominent figure in the Native American literary renaissance of the 1970s

Silko was born Leslie Marmon on the Laguna Pueblo reservation in New Mexico and is of mixed Laguna, Mexican, and Anglo-American ancestry. As a child she attended Bureau of Indian Affairs schools as well as a private day school (the Albuquerque Indian School). She was also educated in Laguna folklore by her grandmother and great-grandmother, both of whom were storytellers. She briefly attended law schools, but gave up pursuing a law degree in order to write.
Silko has written numerous critically acclaimed short stories, poetry, novels, essays, and works of mixed genre. She is noted for her narrative style, her in-depth exploration of Native American–Anglo relations, and her explorations of Native Americans’ relationship to the natural world. She received a MacArthur genius grant in 1981, under which she wrote Storyteller, a work that includes poetry, folklore, fiction, and photographs. Her other major works include Ceremony, Almanac, Laguna Woman, Yellow Woman and a Beauty of the Spirit.

In the clip below (the first in a series of three), Silko shares some stories and discusses the role of storytelling in Laguna culture.

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