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Chime in with Amanda Watson Johnson

Mar 26, 2021

Amanda speaks with Marilou Awiakta, internationally known writer and poet, about the importance of returning to nature. They dive into Marilou's rich experience of what it was like to grow up in Oak Ridge, Tennessee on the atomic frontier. Oak Ridge, often called "Secret City" was at the epicenter of the Manhattan Project, the American-led effort to build an atomic bomb. They discuss why Oak Ridge was an ideal location to create the atomic bomb, and how her writing and poetry are influenced by her Cherokee, Scots-Irish, and Appalachian heritage. Marilou talks about the importance of celebrating the women in our life and lifting up their individual gifts and skillsets. They discuss how we are being called back to the "balance of life," and what that looks like during the age of technology. Marilou explains the power of language and the importance of being mindful about the words that we use in life, as well as to describe illness. Marilou even recites some of her brilliant poetry. This interview is filled with so much wisdom and remarkable history.

Marilou Awiakta is an internationally known poet and writer who brought poetry workshops to women's prisons. She cofounded Far Away Cherokee Association, which is now the Native American Intertribal Association. Marilou has won the Distinguished Tennessee Writer Award and the Appalachian Heritage Writers Award. She made history in 2020 as one of 10 women chosen from Tennessee and 500 nationwide for USA Today's Women of the Century, recognizing women who helped change the world. Marilou has written: Abiding Appalachia: Where Mountain and Atom Meet, Rising Fawn and the Fire Mystery: A Child's Christmas in Memphis 1833, and Selu: Seeking the Corn Mother's Wisdom.

You can find all three of Marilou's books on Amazon at the link below:

To order Abiding Appalachia: Where Mountain and Atom Meet email Marilou's daughter at

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