August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Navajo Poet Laureate Laura Tohe receives Academy of American Poets Fellowship


Laura Tohe Photo by J Morgan Edwards

Navajo Poet Laureate Laura Tohe receives Academy of American Poets Fellowship

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

Laura Tohe, Poet Laureate of the Navajo Nation, is the recipient of a major fellowship award from the Academy of American Poets. She is one of 23 Poets Laureate of states, cities, counties, and the Navajo Nation who will receive the Poets Laureate fellowship this year. And the funds will be used to lead civic poetry programs locally in the year ahead. These initiatives will take place between 2020-2021.

Tohe, who grew up in the Chuska Mountains, on the Navajo Nation in Crystal, New Mexico, shares the joy of life and the Female Rain in the sweet-scented pinyon high county. She also shares the reality of the abuse in boarding schools.

“Our language was beat out of us,” Tohe said. “Boarding school was taking away our voices.”

Tohe, however, struggled and maintained her “Navajo heart and Navajo mind.”

“I wrote in secret for a long time," Tohe said in Tucson in 2007.