Maurice Kenny: Celebrations of a Mohawk Writer by Penelope Myrtle Kelsey

By Penelope Myrtle Kelsey

Explores the paintings of Maurice Kenny, a pivotal determine in American Indian literature from the Nineteen Fifties to the current.

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Extra info for Maurice Kenny: Celebrations of a Mohawk Writer

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13. , 143:18–20. 14. , 143:21–25. 15. , 136:16–18. 16. , 121:1–2 and 12–15. 17. , 303:9–13 and 44–49. This page intentionally left blank. FOUR DANCING BACK STRONG OUR NATIONS Performance as Continuance in Maurice Kenny’s Poetry Qwo-Li Driskill Maurice Kenny is an elder to me as a Native, Queer, Two-Spirit, mixedblood poet. 1 In the early and mid-1990s I was living in a small university town in conservative Colorado, and this collection was a lifeline to me in many ways, not the least was the inclusion of a handful of Native writers including Beth Brant, Chrystos, the late Vickie Sears, and Kenny.

Native poets are very aware of this, and it is my hope that other Native activists continue to engage with poetry and other arts as powerful tools for social justice. Native poetry also provides 34 QWO-LI DRISKILL critiques and theories for Native activist movements. Part of what we have to learn as activists in Native communities is the centrality of our traditions to activist struggles. Kenny’s poetry reminds Native activists that part of the core work that must be done is active and intentional engagement with our lifeways.

She died at the age of twenty-four on April 17, 1680, THE BREATH AND SKIN OF HISTORY 21 and upon her death her face was healed of smallpox scars. She was declared venerable by Pope Pius XII in 1943 and “Blessed” by Pope John Paul II in 1980. She still awaits canonization. While Kateri is a culture hero among not only Mohawks but also Catholic Natives across the country, and represents missionary success to the Jesuits, Kenny makes clear in Kateri’s monologue (“Tekawitha [Kateri]”) the reason why other Mohawks would have persecuted her: I shall atone for the sins of my people, and for my own sins of ignorance and blasphemy.

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