Poet Laureate Joy Harjo / Historian Tiya Miles

Fresh Air

By NPR

Poet Laureate Joy Harjo / Historian Tiya Miles

Tuesday, 7 September

The nation's first Native American poet laureate has a new memoir in which she tells her own story — as well as the story of her sixth-generation grandfather, who was forced from his land in the Trail of Tears. It's called 'Poet Warrior.' "If my work does nothing else, when I get to the end of my life, I want Native peoples to be seen as human beings," she says.

Historian Tiya Miles tells the story of an enslaved woman who, upon hearing that her child was being sold off, hastily packed her a cotton sack with a few personal items. That cotton bag remained in the child's possession and was passed on from one generation to the next, and at one point in the early 1900s, was inscribed with the family's tale. Eventually it ended up at the National Museum of African American History. Miles joins contributor Arun Venugopal to talk about what this story tell us about slavery. Her book is 'All That She Carried.'
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