Name: Joy Harjo

Tribe: Muscogee (Creek)

Born: Tulsa, Okla., in 1951

Hometown: Creek Nation, Okla. "My house is the red earth; it could be the center of the world. I've heard New York, Paris or Tokyo called the center of the world, but I say it is magnificently humble. You could drive by and miss it." From her prose-poem book Secrets from the Center of the World (1989)

Vocation: Poet, playwright, writer and musician with Joy Harjo and the Arrow Dynamics Band, in which she sings and plays sax and flute.

She says: "It's very important that all children, I think, and all people, have access to arts and are educated in arts. When a culture starts losing that, or the culture no longer thinks it's important, then you know the culture is in danger."