April 7, 2023 -North Dakota lawmakers have appointed an Ojibwe woman as the state’s poet laureate, making her the first Native American to hold this position in the state and increasing attention to her expertise on the troubled history of Native American boarding schools.
Denise Lajimodiere, a citizen of the Turtle Mountain Band in Belcourt, has written several award-winning books of poetry. She’s considered a national expert on the history of Native American boarding schools and wrote an academic book called “Stringing Rosaries” in 2019 on the atrocities experienced by boarding school survivors.
“I’m honored and humbled to represent my tribe. They are and always will be my inspiration,” Lajimodiere said in an interview, following a bipartisan confirmation of her two-year term as poet laureate on Wednesday.
Poet laureates represent the state in inaugural speeches, commencements, poetry readings and educational events, said Kim Konikow, executive director of the North Dakota Council on the Arts.