Leslie Marmon Silko's
To find out about Leslie Marmon Silko's life and writing, here are some places to start:
the NativeWiki entry for Silko,
the Internet Public Library Native American Authors Project site for Silko,
and the Silko page from the Voices from the Gaps website at the University of Minnesota.
In 1992, Silko participated in the Poetics and Politics seminar at the University of Arizona; a video/audio clip of Silko reading from her 1991 novel, Almanac of the Dead, as well as an interview and other materials are available online. Running on the Edge of the Rainbow: Laguna Stories and Poems is a wonderful video that was made originally in 1978 but is now available online: it features Silko talking about her writing, reading poems, and telling a Coyote story to her young sons. In June 2007, Silko delivered the keynote address for the Native Voices: Indigenous Language and Poetry Symposium at University of Arizona; you can listen to it in the video below.
Robert Nelson at the University of Richmond has written a couple of useful essays on Silko and her novel: see "A Laguna Woman," which covers biographical information, and "Rewriting Ethnography: The Embedded Texts in Leslie Silko's Ceremony," which discusses the traditional Laguna texts Silko includes in her novel. He also has some valuable maps of the area covered in the novel and has posted some of his own photographs of places mentioned in the novel.
The Pueblo Cultural Center website gives a brief look at 19 different pueblos, including Laguna, where Silko is from. The Pueblo of Laguna also maintains a webpage with helpful information and links.
Franz Boas's collection of Keresan traditional tales can be found online courtesy of the University of Michigan Digital Collection:
click here for Keresan Texts Part I
click here for Keresan Texts Part II
Laura Arnold (Leibman) of Reed College put together a nice page of links and information on Silko and Laguna culture for her 2000 Native American Literature course. Not all of the links are valid, but there are still some great resources available here.
On the important issue of uranium mining on tribal lands, see the following:The hazardous effects of uranium mining on Navajo lands can be seen in an latimes.com audio-slideshow from November 2006 titled Blighted Homeland, consisting of four parts: Toxic Houses, Poisoned Water, Superfund, New Uranium Rush.
Paula Giese's review of If You Poison Us: Uranium and Native Americans, by Peter H. Eichstaedt, highlights an important book on the subject.
You can also read online the first chapter of a gripping book titled Leetso, the Powerful Yellow Monster: A Navajo Cultural Interpretation of Uranium Mining, by Esther Yazzie-Lewis and Jim Zion.
The Southwest Research and Information Center’s Uranium Impact Assessment Program has a website with useful information, and for further insight see The Uranium Industry and Indigenous Peoples of North America, a report from the Fourth World Documentation Project.
Since Mount Taylor (Tse-pi' na) serves a central place and reference point in Silko's novel, you may be interested in viewing some photos of Mount Taylor that are available on the web: from Harrison Lapahie Jr's site (which also describes the significance of the mountain for the Diné), from the Ski Mountaineering site, from the Mt. Taylor Enterprises site, and from the Gallup Independent online page for February 2, 2006 (scroll to the bottom of the page).
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This page was last updated on 26 August 2008. Send questions/comments to Nancy J. Peterson.