Cherokee-Appalachian poet and essayist. Name variations: Marilou Awiakta; Marilou Bonham Thompson; Marilou Awiakta Bonham. Born Marilou Awiakta Bonham, Jan 24, 1936, in Knoxville, Tennessee; grew up in Oak Ridge, TN; dau. of Bill and Wilma Bonham; University of Tennessee, BA, 1958; m. Paul Thompson; children: 3.
Conducted poetry workshops in women's prison in Tennessee; was co-founder of Far-Away Cherokee Association (now Native American Intertribal Association); draws on Cherokee—Appalachian heritage for her writings, which include Abiding Appalachia: Where Mountain and Atom Meet (1978), Rising Fawn and the Fire Mystery: A Story of Heritage, Family, and Courage 1833 (1983), and Selu: Seeking the Corn-Mother's Wisdom (1993); also published short stories in anthologies.