( – promoted by DocHoc)
“I belong to a race of people, a society, that has been oppressed. We, the Indians, have had a hard time, for a long time. We have had to endure a great deal, but the dream means as much to us as it does to anyone. You’ll never find a greater patriot than an American Indian. It’s not by accident that I, a member of the Gourd Dance society, go to Oklahoma to dance on the 4th of July, you know. It is not an accident that the greatest honor that can come to an American Indian in my generation is to serve in the Armed Forces. And the veterans who have given their lives are greatly honored by the Native people. So, the dream is very important to me, and it is, I think, to Native Americans in general.”—N. Scott Momaday in a 1996 interview.
Gov. Brad Henry recently appointed Lawton native N. Scott Momaday as state poet laureate, and the author now has a home in Oklahoma City.
This is great news for the state and especially for the state’s creative community. Momaday brings stature, power, and prestige to a position that is often forgotten or dismissed in the day-to-day world of state government. Momaday will travel the state during his tenure as poet laureate. He will be a great ambassador for Oklahoma.
The author won a Pulitzer Prize in 1969 for his novel, House Made of Dawn, and he has taught at the University of California, Berkeley, Stanford University, and the University of Arizona. He was born in Lawton, lived on the Kiowa Indian Reservation before he moved to Arizona, and later obtained a Ph.D.
He is perhaps best known for his work, The Way to Rainy Mountain. In the introduction to the book, Momaday describes an Oklahoma landscape.
He writes, “A single knoll rises out of the plain in Oklahoma, north and west of the Wichita Range. For my people, the Kiowas, it is an old landmark, and they gave it the name Rainy Mountain. The hardest weather in the world is there. Winter brings blizzards, hot tornadic winds arise in the spring, and in summer the prairie is an anvil’s edge. The grass turns brittle and brown, and it cracks beneath your feet.”
Yet the landscape created by these harsh conditions is surprisingly creative and productive.
“All things in the plain are isolate; there is no confusion of objects in the eye, but one hill or one tree or one man. To look upon that landscape in the early morning, with the sun at your back, is to lose the sense of proportion. Your imagination comes to life, and this, you think, is where Creation was begun.”
Okie Funk featured Momaday in its Okie Rebels With A Cause Series a couple of years ago.