Elizabeth Cook-Lynn Quotes
“The journey through another world, beyond bad dreams
beyond the memories of a murdered generation,
cartographed in captivity by bare survivors
makes sacristans of us all.
The old ones go our bail, we oblate preachers of our tribes.
Be careful, they say, don't hock the beads of
kinship agonies; the moire-effect of unfamiliar hymns
upon our own, a change in pitch or shrillness of the voice
transforms the ways of song to words of poetry or prose
and makes distinctions
no one recognizes.
Surrounded and absorbed, we tread like Etruscans
on the edge of useless law; we pray
to the giver of prayer, we give the cane whistle
in ceremony, we swing the heavy silver chain
of incense burners. Migration makes
new citizens of Rome.”
- Description: Elizabeth Cook-Lynn (born 1930 in Fort Thompson, South Dakota) is a Crow Creek Lakota editor, essayist, poet, novelist, and academic, whose trenchant views on Native American politics, particularly tribal sovereignty, have caused controversy.
Cook-Lynn co-founded Wíčazo Ša Review ("Red Pencil"), an academic journal devoted to the development of Native American studies as an academic discipline. She retired from her long academic career at Eastern Washington University in 1993, returning to her home in Rapid City, South Dakota. She has held several visiting professorships since retirement. In 2009, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas.