Featuring Joy Harjo (23rd United States Poet Laureate; member of the Muscogee [Creek] Nation) and Jenny L. Davis (American Indian Studies and Anthropology; member of the Chickasaw Nation).
About the Speakers
In 2019, Joy Harjo was appointed the 23rd United States Poet Laureate, the first Native American to hold the position and only the second person to serve three terms in the role. Harjo’s nine books of poetry include Weaving Sundown in a Scarlett Light, An American Sunrise, Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings, How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems, and She Had Some Horses. She is also the author of two memoirs, Crazy Brave and Poet Warrior, which invites us to travel along the heartaches, losses, and humble realizations of her “poet-warrior” road. She has edited several anthologies of Native American writing including When the Light of the World was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through — A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry, and Living Nations, Living Words, the companion anthology to her signature poet laureate project. Her many writing awards include the 2024 Frost Medal for Distinguished Lifetime Achievement from the Poetry Society of America, the 2022 Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2019 Jackson Prize from Poets & Writers, the Ruth Lilly Prize from the Poetry Foundation, the 2015 Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets, and the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. She is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, Board of Directors Chair of the Native Arts & Cultures Foundation, and is artist-in-residence for the Bob Dylan Center. A renowned musician, Harjo performs with her saxophone nationally and internationally; her most recent album is I Pray For My Enemies. She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Jenny L. Davis
Jenny L. Davis is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation and an Associate Professor of Anthropology and American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign where she is the director of the American Indian Studies Program and co-director of the Center for Indigenous Science. She is the co-editor of the Studies in Language and Gender series at Oxford University Press.
Her research interests sit at the intersections of Indigenous language futurism (including language reclamation & revitalization); Queer Indigenous Studies; Speculative fiction and poetry; NAGPRA & repatriation; and collaborative/community-based methods. Her research has been published in the Annual Review of Anthropology, American Anthropologist, Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, Gender & Language, Language & Communication, Collections: A Journal for Museum and Archives Professionals, the American Journal of Biological Anthropology, and The Routledge Companion to Publicly Engaged Humanities Scholarship (forthcoming), among others. She is the recipient of two book prizes: the 2019 Beatrice Medicine Award from the Association for the Study of American Indian Literatures for Talking Indian: Identity and Language Revitalization in the Chickasaw Renaissance (University of Arizona Press, 2018) and the 2014 Ruth Benedict Book Prize from the Association for Queer Anthropology and the American Anthropological Association for her co-edited volume Queer Excursions: Retheorizing Binaries in Language, Gender, and Sexuality (Oxford University Press, 2014).
Her 2022 poetry manuscript, Trickster Academy, was published in the University of Arizona Press Sun Tracks Series, and her creative work has most recently been published in Transmotion; Anomaly; Santa Ana River Review; Broadsided; North Dakota Quarterly; Yellow Medicine Review; As/Us; Raven Chronicles; and Resist Much/Obey Little: Inaugural Poems to the Resistance and exhibited at the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture & Lifeways and the Minnesota Center for Book Arts.
From 2019-2022 she served as the Chancellor's Fellow of Indigenous Research & Ethics. In that role, she worked to develop initiatives, including a campus-wide NAGPRA office and Tribal Liaison postion, to ensure that the University is knowledgeable about and in compliance with U.S. and tribal government policies and protocols through collaborating with faculty, the NAGPRA Officer, campus and tribal leaders, and advising the Chancellor and Vice Chancellors on issue involving ethical research of Indigenous people, histories, and cultures. She currently serves as the co-chair of the campus NAGPRA Advisory Committee.