MOHAWK PETER BLUE CLOUD BORN—POET, AKWESASNE NOTES EDITOR
Born on the Caughnawaga Reserve in Kahnawake, Quebec, Canada, Peter began writing poems as a teenager. In the 1950s, he moved to the West Coast where he worked as an ironworker, a logger, a ranch hand, and an archaeological field worker. Moving to the San Francisco area, he discovered the Beat poetry and folk music scenes. The occupation of Alcatraz Island from 1969 to 1971 sparked Peter’s interest in the fight for the rights of Native Americans. Moving to the Sierra Nevada foothills in the 1970s-’80’s, he met guitarist Rex Richardson who set his poems to music. Blue Cloud later worked for the Native journal Akwesasne Notes as writer/editor in 1975-76, and again from 1983-85. He published several books of poetry and won the American Book Award for Back Then Tomorrow in 1981. Peter returned to Kahnawake in 1986, where he briefly published his own newspaper, The Kariwakoroks, before writing a column from 1992 to 2006. Blue Cloud died in Montreal on April 27, 2011.
Sources: “Native Writer Peter Blue Cloud (Mohawk),” Native Jewelry, Writing and Art. Retrieved 7/2/2019, http://nativejewelrylit.com/native-writers-bluecloud.html “A tribute to Peter Blue Cloud,” The Union, 6/15/2012. Retrieved 7/2/2019, https://www.theunion.com/news/a-tribute-to-peter-blue-cloud/ Photo: Author and date unknown. Courtesy of John Stokes (also pictured).