As part of RWHP’s US Women’s History Month mission, we’ll be featuring a photo and profile of an individual radical woman of history each day of the month.
Acclaimed novelist, poet, and essayist Leslie Marmon Silko is known for her lyric treatment of Native American subjects. Born in 1948 to the photographer Lee Marmon and his wife Mary Virginia Leslie, Marmon Silko is of Laguna Pueblo, Mexican and Anglo-American heritage. Her mixed ancestry has influenced her work in myriad ways. Growing up on the edge of the Laguna Pueblo reservation, Marmon Silko’s earliest experiences were positioned between cultures. Remarking in an interview with Alan Velie “I am of mixed-breed ancestry, but what I know is Laguna,” Marmon Silko has deepened her affiliation to her tribe through her books, which draw on Laguna myths and story-telling traditions. In 1974 she published a volume of poetry called Laguna Woman. Marmon Silko has also acknowledged the influence of her own family’s storytelling on her method and vision.Her works primarily focus on the alienation of Native Americans in a white society and on the importance of native traditions and community in helping them cope with modern life. She has been noted as a major contributor to the Native American literary and artistic renaissance, which began in the late 1960s.