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Class Overview:

Each of the three sessions will be centered on Native American poetry from When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through, A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry, by Joy Harjo. The class instructor, Carol, will highlight three or so poems in each session. She will emphasize what the primary editor, Joy Harjo, wrote in her introduction about the character of all poetry, but indigenous poetry especially:

“What is shared with all tribal nations in North America is the knowledge that the earth is a living being, and a belief in the power of language, to create, to transform, and to establish change. Words are living beings. Poetry in all its forms, including songs, oratory, and ceremony, both secular and sacred, is a useful tool for the community. Though it is performative there is no separations of the audience and performer” (p. 2).

Though the anthology includes the work of more than 160 poets from hundreds of indigenous nations, in the time and space we have, Carol will focus primarily, but not exclusively, on work by several of the really fine poets who live in our region, described in the anthology as “the Northeast and Midwest.”

Each of our three sessions will look closely at just a few poems, texts of which students will be able to read and have access to by email or on the web site before each session. So students will not have to purchase the complete anthology to have full access to the poems we’ll be discussing in the series!

Poems for Session 1:

N. Scott Momaday, (Kiowa) – A Blessing, Prayer for Words

Origin Stories

Poems for Session 2:

Self-Representation and Identity

Poems for Session 3:

The Ghosts of Forgotten Histories—and Sovereignty

  • Layli Long Soldier (Oglala Lakota) – 38 (pp. 149-55)
  • Alexander Posey (Muskoka) “To Allot, Or Not To Allot”  (p. 373)
  • Elizabeth Cook-Lynn (Crow Creek Sioux) “At Dawn, Sitting at My Father’s House”  p. 107)
  • Elizabeth Woody (Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs) – Translation of Blood Quantum (230-31)


Carol Miller

Carol Miller is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma (and perhaps the only Okie from Muskogee you’ll ever meet (virtually anyway)). She is a Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor, Dept. of American Indian Studies and Program in American Studies, Emeritus, University of Minnesota, TC Campus. She is currently teaching an on-line class, Indigenous Literature and the West, at Montana State University. She and her husband, Terry Collins, have lived full time in Grand Marais for sixteen years but have owned the little house with iron turtles on the front porch and an iron horse in the front yard, directly below Higher Ed, for thirty years!

Course Details:

Class meets for 3 sessions from 6:00pm – 7:00pm CST on the following dates:

  • February 2
  • February 16
  • February 23

Can’t attend the entire series? No problem, register for one or two individual sessions from the series below.

The price is $60 for the entire series or $20 for each individual session.

Registration Details:

  • Immediately after registering you will receive an email with the Zoom link in an email titled Your CCHE Registration Details, please save this email.
  • If you are having technical issues joining the event please call 952-237-3517.
  • To ensure that cost is not a barrier we are offering two scholarship options – choose your level:
    • 50% off scholarship, enter the following code at checkout: scholarship50
    • 100% off scholarship, enter the following code at checkout:  scholarship100

Tickets / Registration

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February 16
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
$20.00 – $60.00
Event Categories:


Cook County Higher Education

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