Nora Marks Dauenhauer

Nora Marks Dauenhauer Biography

Nora Marks Dauenhauer (born May 8, 1927) is an American poet and short-story writer and a scholar of the language and traditions of the Tlingit aboriginal nation in Alaska, of which she is a member. She won an American Book Award for Russians in Tlingit America: The Battles of Sitka, 1802 And 1804.
Nora Marks was born May 8, 1927, the first of sixteen children of Emma Marks (1913–2006) of Yakutat, Alaska, and Willie Marks (1902–1981), a Tlingit from Hoonah, Alaska. Nora's Tlingit name at birth was Keix̱wnéi. Following her mother in the Tlingit matrilineal system, she is a member of the Raven moiety of the Tlingit nation, of the Lukaax̱.ádi clan, and of the Shaka Hít or Canoe Prow House, from Alsek River. Emma's maternal grandfather had been Frank Italio (1870–1956), an informant to the anthropologist Frederica de Laguna whose knowledge was incorporated into De Laguna's 1972 ethnography of the northern Tlingit, Under Mount St. Elias.
She earned a degree in anthropology and, with her husband Richard Dauenhauer, a poet and translator, she has co-edited the Sealaska Heritage Foundation's highly regarded Classics of Tlingit Oral Literature series.

The Best Poem Of Nora Marks Dauenhauer

Grandmother Eliza

My grandmother Eliza
was the family surgeon.
Her scalpel made from a pocketknife
she kept in a couple of pinches of snoose.
She saved my life by puncturing
my festering neck twice with her knife.
She saved my brother's life twice
when his arm turned bad.
The second time she saved him
was when his shoulder turned bad.
She always made sure
she didn't cut an artery.
She would feel around for days
finding the right spot to cut.
When a doctor found out
she saved my brother's life
he warned her,
"You know you could go to jail for this?"

Her intern, my Auntie Anny, saved my life
when I cut a vessel on my toe.
While my blood was squirting out
she went out into the night
and cut and chewed the bark
of plants she knew.
She put the granules of chewed up bark
on my toe before the eyes of the folks
who came to console my mother
because I was bleeding to death.
Grandma's other intern, Auntie Jennie,
saved our uncle's life when his son
shot him through the leg by accident.
A doctor warned her, too,
when he saw how she cured.
Her relative cured herself of diabetes.
Now, the doctors keep on asking,
"How did you cure yourself?"

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