their thoughts are dancing in the dirty air.
Their feet touch the cement, the asphalt
delighting, still they weave dreams upon our
shadowed skulls, if we could listen.
If we could hear.
from "Kopis'taya, a Gathering of Spirits"
Other Writing for Paula
Information about Paula
This site is for the family, friends, colleagues, and admirers of Paula Gunn Allen, Ph.D., American Indian scholar and poet. Paula joined the Ancestors on May 29, 2008 at her home in Ft. Bragg, California, after a long battle with illness. Funeral services were held graveside on June 2, 2008, at Rose Memorial Park, Ft. Bragg.
by Paula Gunn Allen
(c) January 2008
Please share your thoughts, memories, and prayers on our guestbook and read what others have written:
Paula's daughter, Lauralee Brown, wrote this song
and read it at the funeral
Gaia weaves Her Song with Passion
Spinning out of every blue-green thread
At Midnight you can hear Her sighing
As She climbs into the Earth,
Her woven bed
Now She's Dreaming, Dreaming of the Tides
From the North She spins her Song, intending
To rise up as the full Moon in the West
Reflecting silver Light on the Ocean waves
Whispering deep Mysteries
She has blessed
Now She's Dreaming, Dreaming of the Fire...
Brigid lights the Flame creating
The place from which She has begun
Once again She Dances with red-hot feet
To the Golden beat of the Fire
In Her Drum
She is calling on the Fire
Calling from the Fire
Stirring the Wind
She sings the Southern Breeze connecting
To the Life She has between each Death
Winging Her way East into the Pale Dawn,
Daybreak is Born
On her very Breath
Now She's Dreaming, She is Dreaming...
Dreaming of the Earth
Swimming in the Tides
Calling from the Fire
Stirring up the Wind
Dreaming of this World...
© Lauralee Brown 2001
Paula Gunn Allen (1939-2008)
Paula Gunn Allen, award-winning American Indian scholar and poet, passed away at her home in Ft. Bragg, California, on May 29, 2008, after a prolonged illness. She was 68 years old. Family and friends surrounded her at the time of her passing. Born Paula Marie Francis, in 1939, she grew up on the Cubero land grant in New Mexico, the daughter of former Lieutenant Governor of New Mexico Elias Lee Francis and Ethel Francis. Both her father’s Lebanese and her mother’s Laguna Pueblo-Métis-Scot heritages shaped her critical and creative vision.
For the last thirty years Allen was a foremost voice in Native American literature and the study of American literature. She was also a founding mother of the contemporary women’s spirituality movement. Her most recent work, Pocahontas: Medicine Woman, Spy, Entrepreneur, Diplomat (2004, Harper-Collins), received a Pulitzer Prize nomination. The Sacred Hoop: Recovering the Feminine in American Indian Traditions (1986, Beacon), a collection of critical essays, is a cornerstone in the study of American Indian culture and gender. Her edited anthology Studies in American Indian Literature: Critical Essays and Course Designs (1983, MLA) laid the foundation for the study of Native American literature. She promoted and popularized the works of other Native American writers through the anthologies Song of the Turtle: American Indian Literature, 1974-1995 (1996, Ballantine); Voice of the Turtle: American Indian Literature, 1900-1970 (1994, Ballantine); and Spider Woman’s Granddaughters: Traditional Tales and Contemporary Writing by Native American Women (1989, Ballantine Books), which received the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. She also authored Off the Reservation: Reflections on Boundary-Busting, Border-Crossing, Loose Canons (1998, Beacon); As Long as the Rivers Flow: The Stories of Nine Native Americans (with Patricia Clark Smith) (1996, Scholastic Press), and Grandmothers of the Light: A Medicine Woman's Sourcebook (1992, Beacon Press).
A prolific writer, Allen published six volumes of poetry: Life Is a Fatal Disease: Collected Poems 1962-1995 (1997, West End Press); Skins and Bones (1988, West End Press); Wyrds (1987, Taurean Horn); Shadow Country (1982, University of California Indian Studies Center); A Cannon Between My Knees (1981, Strawberry Press); and Blind Lion (1974, Thorp Springs Press). Her latest book of poetry, America the Beautiful, is forthcoming from West End Press. The Woman Who Owned the Shadows, a novel, was published in 1983 (Aunt Lute Books). Her creative and critical work has been widely anthologized.
Allen received her BA degree in English in 1966 and her MFA in creative writing in 1968, both from the University of Oregon. She earned her Ph.D. in American Studies in 1976 from the University of New Mexico. She taught at Ft. Lewis College in Colorado, the College of San Mateo, San Diego State University, San Francisco State University, and the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque prior to joining the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley, where she became a professor of Native American and Ethnic Studies. In 1999, she retired from the University of California, Los Angeles as a professor of English, Creative Writing, and American Indian Studies.
Allen received many awards, including postdoctoral fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ford Foundation-National Research Council, the Hubbell Medal for Lifetime Achievement in American Literary Studies from the Modern Language Association, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas, the Susan Koppelman Award from the Popular and American Culture Associations, the Native American Prize for Literature, and most recently a Lannan Foundation Fellowship.
She is survived by a daughter, Lauralee Brown (Roland Hannes), a son, Suleiman Allen (Millisa Russell), two granddaughters, two sisters, and one brother. Two sons, Fuad Ali Allen and Eugene John Brown, preceded her in death.
For information, please email info at paulagunnallen dot net.
This site was established by Paula's family and friends. It is maintained, under the family's direction, by Mary Churchill, Ph.D.