Published on December 22, 2012 by Amy
Marilou Awiakta (born January 24, 1936, Knoxville, Tennessee) is an Eastern Band Cherokee author. She is renowned for writing several books that blend stories, essays and poetry. She graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1958 receiving a B.A. magna cum laude, in both English and French. She worked as a civilian liaison officer and translator for the U.S. Air Force at Laon-Couvron Air Base, France from 1964-1967.
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She worked in the Arts-In-Schools program in Memphis, Tennessee, and formed poetry workshops in the Women’s Prison. She was co-founder of the Far Away Cherokee Association which is now the Native American Intertribal Association. She lives in Memphis, with her husband, Paul Thompson. They have three children.
Abiding Appalachia: Where Mountain and Atom Meet. Memphis: Saint Luke’s Press, 1978. Rpt. Bell Buckle, TN: Iris Press, 1995. 71 pp. Rpt. 2006 Pocahontas Press, 65 pp. illustrated with Afterword by Parks Lanier, Jr. Now available from Pocahontas Press, Jane L. Abraham, owner, 304 Royal Lane, Blacksburg, VA 24060.Phone 540-230-0981. Poetry that weaves together Cherokee history, the legend of Little Deer, memories of growing up in Oak Ridge (where the atom was split in the 1940s), and thoughts on family, society, and the land.
Rising Fawn and the Fire Mystery: A Child’s Christmas in Memphis, 1833. Memphis: Saint Luke’s Press, 1983.
Selu: Seeking the Corn-Mother’s Wisdom. Golden, CO: Fulcrum, 1993. A blend of story, essay, and poetry. Cherokee legends and images from the double weave of Cherokee baskets point us toward preserving a nurturing relationship between humanity and Mother Earth, by instilling appreciation for the earth and applying Native American philosophies to modern problems.
Awiakta’s poetry is analysed at length in Our Fire Survives the Storm by Daniel Heath Justice (Cherokee Nation)..