A new U.S. poet laureate, Joy Harjo

Joy Harjo will become the 23rd poet laureate of the United States, making her the first Native American to hold the position. Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, she is a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation. In her own words—

“It’s such an honoring for Native people in this country, when we’ve been so disappeared and disregarded,” Harjo says. “And yet we’re the root cultures, over 500-something tribes and I don’t know how many at first contact. But it’s quite an honor … I bear that honor on behalf of the people and my ancestors. So that’s really exciting for me.”

It seems as fitting time to recommend Barry Lopez’s book, *Crow and Weasel. Set in the mythic past and inspired by the traditions of the North American Plains people, this fable of self-discovery follows Crow and Weasel as they face unfamiliar perils on a quest for knowledge and wisdom  The book contains one of my most treasured souvenirs—a quote directly from the book I like to keep ad share with others.

“The stories people tell have a way of taking care of them. If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive. That is why we put these stories in each other’s memory. This is how people care for themselves.”

 

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