January 24, 1936 -
Marilou Awiakta is a poet whose perspective fuses her Cherokee, Scots-Irish, and Appalachian heritage with experiences of growing up in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, on the atomic frontier. She is internationally known for her poetry and cultural essays. Her work has been featured in magazines, literary journals, and various anthologies of literature around the world.
"When the people call Earth 'Mother,' they take with love and with love give back so that all may live."
"Under reverent, patient care, the wild seed gradually relinquishes its protective husk and entrust its reproductive life to human hands. (thus) this sacred law and covenant with Mother Earth; Respectful care brings abundance. If you take, you must give back - Return the gift."
"Beauty is no threat to the wary who treat the mountain in its way, the copperhead in its way, and the deer in its way, knowing that nature is the human heart made tangible."
In this video Marilou Awiakta, of Cherokee/Appalachian heritage, tells a traditional Cherokee story in which humans are killing too many of their animal relatives, threatening the delicate balance of nature. Little Deer leads the animals in taking action, teaching the lesson that people should take "only what you need with respect and gratitude."