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More from the Dark Water: Lumbee Women’s Poetry

Friday from the Archives: “The Politics of Recognition and the Power of Place in Lumbee Women’s Poetry” by Jessica Cory from NCLR 32 (2023).

WCU professor Jessica Cory examines selected poetry of Anetra L. Dial, Wendy Moore-Cummings, Becky Goins, Barbara Braveboy-Locklear for how these Lumbee women think of their relationships to both place and people. Cory writes, “we may see across Native women’s poetry, and indeed quite clearly in Lumbee women’s poetry, the ways in which connection to place, often one’s ancestral homelands, does define one as belonging to a particular people.”

The selections speak to the writers’ desire for a unifying vision as to what makes Native peoples themselves, and the idea of federal recognition is not as important as the very land, cultural customs, and familial ties. The poetry selected shares similar ideas to that written by and performed in the musical play “lumBEES: Women of the Dark Water,” excerpted in NCLR Online Fall 2023.

Cory states of one writer that “the goal of Braveboy-Locklear’s poem seems to be encouraging Native peoples to engage in the stories, traditions, and systems that are born from their lands and ways of being in the world, as it is these connections that make one Indigenous, not a state entity.” However, the same could be said of all the poets included.

Read the article on ProQuest and order the 2023 issue for your collection.