Ofelia Zepeda

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Ofelia Zepeda (born in Stanfield, Arizona, 1952) is a Tohono O'odham poet and intellectual.[1]


Zepeda is a professor of linguistics at the University of Arizona and is well known for her efforts in the preservation of her native language and promotion literacy in it. She is also known for her work as a consultant and advocate on behalf of a number of American indigenous languages. Her book A Papago Grammar is the standard textbook used to teach the Tohono O'odham language. She was a student of MIT linguistics professor Ken Hale.

In 1999, Zepeda received a MacArthur Fellowship. She is the Poet Laureate of Tucson, Arizona. For several years, she continues to serve as editor for numerous journals and book series. In 2012, her book was banned by Tucson schools.[2]


  • When It Rains, Papago and Pima Poetry = Mat hekid o ju, 'O'odham Na-cegitodag (1982)
  • A Papago Grammar (1983)
  • Ocean Power: Poems from the Desert (1995)
  • Home Places: Contemporary Native American Writing from Sun Tracks (1995)
  • Where Clouds Are Formed (2008)
  • Jewed 'i-Hoi / Riding the Earth (2009)


  1. ^ Dr. Ofelia Zepeda
  2. ^ Brenda Norrell (January 14, 2012). "Tucson schools bans books by Chicano and Native American authors". narcosphere. Retrieved January 16, 2012. 

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