Early in 2006, Gabrielle Welford and I met with Paula after hearing that she had lung cancer. While Paula was being treated, I offered to create a web site for some of her archival material. After a few months of therapy in Ukiah and Fort Bragg, the doctors found that the cancer was no longer present. But shortly afterwards, in October, Paula's trailer burned down--oily rags caught fire in the shed out back--and she collapsed with respiratory failure. Coming back from the beyond, like her dear friend Mary TallMountain before her, she began to write the Perils.
Friends and colleagues created a fund to support Paula at that time. And, later in 2007, she unexpectedly received a fellowship from the Lannan Foundation in New Mexico, which enabled her to rebuild her life.
In the midst of these extreme difficulties, Paula maintained her spirit and intense intelligence. For a narrative of her experience see Perils of Being Paula.
In April and May of 2006, Paula made some recordings and provided the pictures above. Paula began sending narratives for these photos which we added as we got them. After recovering from her near death in late 2006, Paula was hit with more than a year-long bout with chronic fatigue syndrome and couldn't do any more with the photos or the Perils. We're grateful she had the energy to do what she did here.
Much more about Paula Gunn Allen is available on other web sites, including: www.hanksville.org/storytellers/paula/
Gabrielle Welford and King Collins
Updated June, 2008
A brief bio of
Paula Gunn Allen
from Femspec journal:
Paula Gunn Allen (1939 --), a poet, novelist, and editor, was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and grew up in Cubero, New Mexico. She received a bachelor's degree in English (1966) and a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing (1968) from the University of Oregon. She received her doctorate in American studies with an emphasis on Native American literature (1975) from the University of New Mexico. Her books of poetry include The Blind Lion (1974), A Cannon between My Knees (1981), Shadow Country (1982), and Life Is a Fatal Disease (1996). Her novel, The Woman Who Owned the Shadows was published in 1983. In addition, she has contributed to The Sacred Hoop: Recovering the Feminine in American Indian Traditions (1986), Grandmothers of the Light: A Medicine Woman's Sourcebook (1991), As Long as the Rivers Flow: The Stories of 9 Native Americans (with Patricia Clark Smith) (1996). Finally, she has edited From the Center: A Folio: Native American Art and Poetry (1981), Studies in American Indian Literature: Critical Essays and Course Design (1983). Spider Woman's Granddaughters: Traditional Tales and Contemporary Writing by Native American Women (1990), Voice of the Turtle: American Indian Literature, 1900-1970 (1994), and Song of the Turtle: American Indian Literature, 1974-1995 (1996)