Leslie Marmon Silko (born March 5, 1948) is a Laguna Pueblo writer and one of the key figures in the First Wave of what literary critic Kenneth Lincoln has called the Native American Renaissance.
Silko was a debut recipient of the MacArthur Foundation Grant, now known as the "Genius Grant", in 1981 and the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994. She currently resides in Tucson, Arizona.
Leslie Marmon Silko was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico to Leland Howard Marmon, a noted photographer, and Mary Virginia Leslie.
Silko has noted herself as being 1/4 Laguna Pueblo (a Keres speaking tribe), also identifying as Anglo American and Mexican American.
Silko grew up on the edge of pueblo society both literally – her family’s house was at the edge of the Laguna Pueblo reservation – and figuratively, as she was not permitted to participate in various tribal rituals or join any of the pueblo's religious societies.
While her parents worked, Silko and her two sisters were cared for by their grandmother, Lillie Stagner, and great-grandmother, Helen Romero, both story-tellers. Silko learned much of the traditional stories of the Laguna people from her grandmother, whom she called A'mooh, her aunt Susie, and her grandfather Hank during her early years. As a result, Silko has always identified most strongly with her Laguna ancestry, stating in an interview with Alan Velie, "I am of mixed-breed ancestry, but what I know is Laguna"...
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