Ofelia Zepeda (born in Stanfield, Arizona, 1952) is a Tohono O'odham poet and intellectual. She is Regents' Professor of Tohono O'odham language and linguistics and Head of American Indian Studies at The University of Arizona.
Zepeda is a professor of linguistics at the University of Arizona and is well known for her efforts in the preservation of and the promotion of literacy in Tohono O'odham. She served as director of the American Indian Studies Program at the University of Arizona from 1986 to 1991. She is a consultant and advocate on behalf of a number of American indigenous languages. She is the author of A Papago Grammar and co-author of the article "Derived Words in Tohono O'odham", published in the International Journal of American Linguistics. She was a student of MIT linguistics professor Ken Hale.
Zepeda has worked with her tribe to improve literacy in both English and Tohono O'odham. In 1983, she developed A Papago Grammar from tapes of Native speakers because no textbook existed for the classes she taught. Her work with the reservation committee for Tohono O'odham language policy yielded an official policy that encourages the speaking of the Native language at all grade levels.
In 1995 she published a book of poetry, Ocean Power: Poems from the Desert, and she titled the introduction, "Things That Help Me Begin to Remember".
In 1999, Zepeda received a MacArthur Fellowship. She was a member of the literary advisory committee for Sun Tracks, a publishing program featuring Native American works, and is the series editor. In 2012, her book of poetry was banned by Tucson schools.
- Where Clouds Are Formed. University of Arizona Press. 2008.
- Jewed 'i-hoi : O'odham c milga:n s-ke:g ha'icu cegĭtodag = Earth movements : a collection of poems in O'odham & English. Kore Press. 2005.
- Home Places: Contemporary Native American Writing from Sun Tracks. University of Arizona Press. 1995.
- Ocean Power: Poems from the Desert. University of Arizona Press. 1995.
- A Papago Grammar. The University of Arizona Press. 1983.
- When It Rains, Papago and Pima Poetry = Mat hekid o ju, 'O'odham Na-cegitodag. University of Arizona Press. 1982.
- "Dr. Ofelia Zepeda". Department of Linguistics, University of Arizona. Retrieved 2016-12-26.
- "Ofelia Zepeda." Contemporary Authors Online. Gale: 2011. Retrieved via Biography in Context database, 2016-12-26.
- "Ofelia Zepeda | The Department of Linguistics". linguistics.arizona.edu. Retrieved 2018-03-23.
- Native American Women. New York: Routledge. 2001. p. 343.
- "MacArthur Fellow Ofelia Zepeda". dingo.sbs.arizona.edu. Retrieved 2018-03-23.
- Brenda Norrell (January 14, 2012). "Tucson schools bans books by Chicano and Native American authors". narcosphere. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- Interview with Ofelia Zepeda on Where Clouds are Formed by Christopher Nelson, November 30, 2008
- Poems by Zepeda, and recording of her appearance on All Things Considered, NPR, April 26, 2001
- Ofelia Zepeda's author page on Storytellers: Native American Authors Online
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