North Dakota lawmakers have named a Chippewa woman the state’s Poet Laureate, making her the first Native American woman to hold that position in the state and drawing attention to her expertise in the troubled history of Native American boarding schools.
Denise Lajimodiere, a resident of the Turtle Mountain Band of the Chippewa Indians of Belcourt, has written several award-winning volumes of poetry. She is considered a national expert on the history of Native American boarding schools and wrote a 2019 scholarly book, Stringing Rosaries, about the atrocities faced by survivors of boarding schools.
“I feel honored and humbled to represent my tribe. You are and will always be my inspiration,” Lajimodiere said in an interview following a bipartisan confirmation of her two-year tenure as Poet Laureate on Wednesday.
Poetry award winners represent the state in inaugural addresses, inaugurations, poetry readings and educational events, said Kim Konikow, executive director of the North Dakota Council on the Arts.
Lajimodiere, an educator who earned her PhD from the University of North Dakota, said she plans to use her role as Poet Laureate to hold workshops with local students across the state. She wants to develop a new book focused on her.
Lajimodiere’s appointment is powerful and inspiring because “representation matters at every level,” said Nicole Donaghy, executive director of the North Dakota Native Vote and Hunkpapa Lakota advocacy group of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation.
The more Native Americans can see themselves in positions of honor, the better it will be for our communities, Donaghy said.
“I grew up knowing how amazing she is,” said Rep. Jayme Davis, a Rolette Democrat who is from the same Turtle Mountain Band from Chippewa as Lajimodiere. “In my eyes, there is no one who deserves it more.”
By highlighting personal accounts of what boarding school survivors experienced, Lajimodiere’s book, Stringing Rosaries, sparked discussions about how to deal with injustices experienced by First Nations people, Davis said.
From the 18th century through the 1960s, boarding school networks institutionalized the legal abduction, abuse, and forced cultural assimilation of Indigenous children in North America. Much of Lajimodiere’s work deals with trauma as felt by the region’s indigenous people.
“Sap trickles down the trunk of a fir like bitter tears… I lean against the tree and weep for the children, for the parents left behind, for my father who lived, for those who didn’t,” Lajimodiere wrote in a poem based on interviews with boarding school victims and in hers Book “2016” was published. Bitter tears.”
Davis, the lawmaker, said Lajimodiere’s letter informs ongoing work to address the past, such as returning ancestral remains — including boarding school victims — and protecting tribal cultures in the future through the codification of India’s Federal Child Welfare Act into state law .
The law, enacted in 1978, gives tribes power in foster and adoption processes involving Aboriginal children. North Dakota and several other states have considered codifying it this year as the US Supreme Court considers a challenge to the federal law.
The US Department of the Interior released a report last year that identified more than 400 Native American boarding schools that were trying to integrate Native children into white society. The federal study found that more than 500 students died in the boarding schools, but officials expect that number to increase exponentially as the research progresses.
Trisha Ahmed is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that brings journalists into local newsrooms to cover undercover topics. Follow Trisha Ahmed on Twitter: @TrishaAhmed15.
Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.
#Chippewa #woman #history #Nobel #laureate #North #Dakota
More From Shayari.Page