LESLIE MARMON SILKO Biography - Famous Poets and dancers


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Leslie Marmon Silko, an accomplished Native American contemporary writer, was         
born in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1948. She has a mix of Laguna Pueblo, Mexican,     
and White ancestry. Silko grew up at the Pueblo of Laguna, located in west             
central New Mexico. She attended a Catholic school in Albuquerque, commuting           
from Laguna. In 1969 she received a bachelor's degree in English from the             
University of New Mexico. She later taught creative writing and a course in oral       
tradition for the English department at the University.                               
Silko reveals that living in Laguna society as a mixed blood from a prominent         
family caused her a lot of pain. It meant being different from, and not fully         
accepted by either the full blooded Native Americans or white people. Silko,           
despite her pain, was able to overcome the lack of acceptance and identify with       
the Laguna culture Despite her keen awareness of the equivocal position of mixed-bloods
in Laguna society, she considers herself Laguna. As she puts it : "'I am of           
mixed-breed ancestry, but what I know is Laguna'"(Velie 106).                         
As a child Silko became familiar with the cultural folklore of the Laguna and         
Keres people through the stories passed down to her by her grandmother Lilly and       
her Aunt Susie. These women both had a tremendous effect on Silko, "passing down       
an entire culture by word of mouth" (Velie 106). While still in college Silko         
wrote and published a short story "The Man to Send Rain Clouds." For this story       
she was awarded with the National Endowment for the Humanities Discovery Grant.       
In 1974 she published Laguna Woman, a book of poetry. In 1977 she wrote her           
novel Ceremony. The novel received high praise from critics and its readers. She       
has in fact been called the most accomplished Native American writer of her           
generation, as well as an "American Indian Literary Master"(Velie npg).               
Silko's additional literary works include Storyteller, Almanac of the Dead, and       
Yellow Woman + the Beauty of Spirit . She has also published several articles         
dealing with literature as well as other pertinent social issues. Examples of         
these articles include "In the Combat Zone" and "Race + Racism- Faces Against