Sunday, January 18, 2009

Luci Tapahonso, Navajo poet and native New Mexican

I heard about Luci Tapahonso long before I moved to New Mexico.

She is a native New Mexican, born in Shiprock, NM in 1953, attended school in Farmington, NM and attended the University of New Mexico. But I heard about her when she was a professor of English at the University of Kansas, which I attended at the same time she was on faculty there.

I became interested in her life and her accomplishments, and especially her poetry. Her writing is usually based on her childhood, life and culture as a member of the Navajo Nation. She is recognized as an authority in the Navajo cultures.

She is such a well-rounded person, with a long resume in education, poetry writing, giving speeches and writing magazine articles, but more interesting to me, in promoting the Native American culture.

Right now I am re-reading Saánii Dahataal: The Women Are Singing: Poems and Stories, a collection of poetry about her childhood and her life as a Navajo woman.

She is one of my New Mexico heroes, right at the top of my list. If I ever have a chance to hear her speak, I will not miss the opportunity.

(bio and picture from

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