MariJo Moore, of Eastern Cherokee, Dutch, and Irish ancestry, resides in Asheville, NC, where she is a member of the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers & Storytellers. She was chosen as the 1998 North Carolina Distinguished Woman of the Year in the Arts and her works have appeared in National Geographic, Indian Artist, Voices, and numerous other magazines. She is a free-lance writer for News From Indian Country, and presents workshops and lectures throughout the U.S. Her published works include Returning To The Homeland-Cherokee Poetry and Short Stories, Crow Quotes, Stars Are Birds And Other Writings, and Spirit Voices Of Bones. MariJo can be contacted by e-mail at

Excerpt from Stars Are Birds And Other Writings
Suda Cornsilk's Gathering
Suda Cornsilk sits for a long time around the storyteller's campfire tonight, listening and gathering. Listening to learn, gathering to remember. Close to the center of the night she returns home, and begins to comb from her long, thick hair the words of the tribal stories she has gathered.

Suda watches as the words fall, releasing themselves from their nestled resting places. Watches as the age-old words hit the earth, bounce lightly, then settle into a pile of colorful dances. Purple circling words of laughter, silver floating words of wisdom, green twirling words of healing, blue floating words of gratitude, and yellow stomping words of hope.

Necessary and magnificent all.

Combing her dark smooth hair softy so as not to cause any erasure of the remaining words, Suda watches them falling, one by one, now two by two, quietly bumping into one another. But something is not right! The words have no order! There can be no meanings to these stories for her! These revered words are too jumbled, too meshed, too together!

As she begins to weep, Suda suddenly remembers something very important. She touches the tiny braid of hair near her left ear. The tiny braid her mother had woven into her hair just a few days before. It is here she will find what she needs. Here is where the heart of the tribal stories are hiding.

As Suda slowly and carefully unwinds the braid, out, out, and down float four red words as sacred and important as fire. Words that will give a deeper meaning to the purple, silver, green, blue and yellow words circling and dancing around her, and make the tribal stories real, make them whole. From the tiny braid in her hair the gifted red words respect, share, remember and persevere have softly fallen. Suda watches gratefully as these words carefully join with the others, making colorful sense of all.

The tribal stories are now in order, complete within themselves. Suda scoops them up, word by word, and places them inside her open heart. After performing a ceremony of gratitude to the spirits of the stories, and offering a sweet prayer of gratitude to her mother, Suda allows a deep sleep to visit her shining dark eyes, bringing a welcomed restful night.

For now - because of this gift from her mother and all the mothers before - Suda can carry the stories of her people forever within easy reach inside the protected sanctuary of her heart. And one day she will braid these four most sacred words into the hair of her daughters, so they may share them with their children, and their children's children. As long as there is life. As long as there are tribal stories to respect, share, remember and persevere. As long as there are those who care.

Excerpts from Crow Quotes

This morning a crow said, "All I ever needed was for you to listen."

Know the highest form of respect for yourself is not accepting responsibility for what is not wanted in your life.

Often times humans seek answers outside themselves to questions they have developed on their own.

To dream of colored snakes is to dream of deepening wisdom.

Excerpts from Spirit Voices of Bones

"The crisp clear evocative poetry of MariJo Moore is leading the way in raising American Indian poetry from merely ethnic reflections to a universal form of emotional expression." ~ Vine Deloria, Jr

The History of Our Mother's Dreams
The deepest part of ourselves
is formed before we are born.
This is when the grandparents
breathe into the dreams of our mothers.

Heavy breaths colored by
yellow black red and white.
Sighing breaths sounding of
poetry singing music and dance.

Falling breaths formed from
birds clouds trees and tears.
Yet we do not know
the history of our mother's dreams.

The colored sounding forming dreams
holding the breaths of our grandparents.
It is time we begin to listen.

Excerpt from Returning To The Homeland-
Cherokee Poetry and Short Stories
Everyone Needs Someone
My granddaddy was a full-blooded Cherokee Indian
with eyes and hair black as tar
and shiny as a crow's back.
My Irish grandmother said
I looked like him.
I hoped so 'cause I liked him.

I liked the way his voice sounded
like soft running water over smooth pebbles
whenever he would tell me to ignore the poor black
children living down the road whenever they would
laugh, point at us and demand
"Talk some Mexican!"

"Sometimes," he would tell me, touching
my crying eyes with a copper-colored hand,
"it's better not to claim you're Indian
in these parts of Tennessee.
Everyone needs someone to look down on.

But my granddaddy died long before I learned the truths
behind stockade forts made of greed
thousands of tears trailing in the snow
unwanted lands reserved
the ridiculous act of termination
and the never-ending stings of discrimination.

Long before he finished telling me the stories
of how our family had to hide out in the caves
of western North Carolina.
Long before the Cherokee blood in my veins began to
truly overflow the Irish.

And when he died
his eyes no longer shone, his hair was dirty, matted,
and the smooth stones in his voice were muddied gravel.

My granddaddy died drunk and alone
speaking his language
to the stars.

To Order:

Stars Are Birds And Other Writings
32 pages PB Full Color Cover with b&w illustrations
$8.95* + $2.50 S&H
Crow Quotes
pocket-size book printed on TREE-FREE paper!
Book of 60 "crowtations" beautifully illustrated in b&w
$6.00* + $1.50 S&H
Spirit Voices Of Bones
96 pp PB Full color cover
$12.95 plus $3.00 S&H
Returning To The Homeland
(with foreword by John Ehle)
112 pages, full color cover with b&w illustrations
(c1994 WorldComm)
$9.95* + $2.50 S&H
*NC residents add 6% sales tax
Send check or money order to:

130 Beaverdam Loop Road
Candler, NC 28715
MariJo Moore c1997

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