Simon J. Ortiz was born on May 27, 1941 in Albuquerque,New Mexico. He was raised in the Acoma Pueblo reservation. Ortiz was very close with his family, his mother, father, and older sister. He was fluent in his native language Aacpumeh dzehni. Ortiz attended the U.S. government McCarty's Day school up until the sixth grade. there he was required to learn and speak English. When Ortiz was young he didn't see himself  as a poet but as a singer/song writer. Ortiz was very successful in high school. He Keeped journals and read all the time. During the 1950's it was difficult to be an ambitious Native American. The greatest opportunity's offered to them where to learn a trade and find a job. After his graduation in 1960 Ortiz went to work in mining. Ortiz spent time in the military during the 60's. He attended several colleges, including Ft. Lewis College, University of New Mexico, and the University of Iowa. Since then he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award and taught at various institutions. Ortiz has three daughters and is divorced from his wife, Marlene and recently recovering from alcoholism. Ortiz is now living in Deetseyamah, New Mexico.