KOYUKON POET/STORYTELLER MARY TALLMOUNTAIN (MARY LOUISE RANDALL) BORN
Tallmountain, born in Nulato, Alaska, was of Russian and Koyukon heritage. Adopted at age 6 by a non-Indian couple, she grew up in Oregon and did not return to her homeland for over 50 years. Mary later lived in Reno, Nevada, and then in San Francisco, where she became a popular author of 8 collections of poems and stories. Her work appeared in The Alaska Quarterly, Los Angeles Times, and Harper’s Anthology of 20th Century Native American Poetry, among other publications. Mary taught in California and was featured in the PBS poetry series “The Power of the Word.” Her spiritual connection to her birthplace and Native culture inspired much of her writing. Returning to Alaska, TallMountain taught and performed in schools with a tour arranged by the Institute of Alaska Native Arts and Poets. Her works addressed poverty, prejudice, and environmental damage. She also combined her radical Christian ideals with Native spiritual beliefs. TallMountain died September 2, 1994, in Petaluma, California.
Source: "Mary Louise Randle TallMountain (1918 - 1994)," Anchorage Daily News, 9/16/1994. Retrieved 5/17/2020, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/26184015/mary-louise-tallmountain. Photo: Denali National Park and Reserve, 6/29/2010. Public Domain.