In Conversation: Native Writers and Scholars from Colorado’s Front Range, Part I

 

 

 

Counterpath is excited to host a 2-part series, curated by Jennifer Foerster, that highlights Native writers and scholars from Denver, Boulder, and Colorado Springs. The ten Native authors featured over two evenings—Saturday, September 16, 7 pm, and Saturday, November 11, 7pm—are producing creative and critical work in various genres that is engaged with indigenous activism and a range of today’s political and ecological concerns. Each evening will be a gathering of stories, poetry, scholarly work, and conversation. September 16 will feature Erika T. Wurth, Penelope Kelsey, Clint Carroll, David Heska Wanbli Weiden, and Jennifer Elise Foerster. November 11 features Natanya Pulley, Tanaya Winder, Crisosto Apache, Janice Gould, and Byron Aspaas. The series will also be complemented by an additional reading, curated by Tanaya Winder and featuring Hannabah Blue and Gregg Deal, at Counterpath’s Unseen Festival on October 1 at 7:30pm.

We hope you will join us for each of these inspiring evenings with some of our region’s most exciting writers.

Erika T. Wurth’s published works include a novel, Crazy Horse’s Girlfriend, two collections of poetry, Indian Trains and One Thousand Horses Out to Sea and a collection of short stories, Buckskin Cocaine. A writer of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, she teaches creative writing at Western Illinois University and has been a guest writer at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals, including Boulevard, Drunken Boat, The Writer’s Chronicle, Waxwing, and South Dakota Review, and she is a regular contributor to ROAR. She is represented by Peter Steinberg. She is Apache/Chickasaw/Cherokee and was raised in Colorado just outside of Denver.

 

Penelope Kelsey is of Seneca descent with family roots at Buffalo Creek.  She is a professor of English at University of Colorado at Boulder and a faculty affiliate in Ethnic Studies. Her first book, Tribal Theory in Native American Literature, was published by University of Nebraska Press (2008), and it examines the role of Dakota language and worldview in early Dakota authors’ writing, arguing for their overt and covert use of tribal tropes as expressions of tribal theory. Tribal Theory won the Woodward-Pope Prize (2011). Kelsey is the editor of Maurice Kenny: Celebrations of a Mohawk Poet (SUNY Press, 2011), which won the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers & Storytellers Best Literary Criticism Award for 2012. Her second monograph, Reading the Wampum, examines Hodínöhsö:ni:h images of wampum in works by contemporary Hodínöhsö:ni:h authors and artists and argues that wampum belts and practices play a significant role in intellectual transmission and cultural resurgence amongst Six Nations peoples, for which it received the 2014 Syracuse University Press Director’s Choice Award. She is co-editor with Christopher Liese and Scott M. Stevens of For Seven Generations, the first anthology of Six Nations literature.  Her current critical project, Sovereign Stories, examines Native American creation stories, especially Hodínöhsö:ni:h and Dakota, as the basis for Native concepts of science (from biology to quantum physics), law, and time.

Clint Carroll is Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, located on Cheyenne-Arapaho homelands. He received his doctorate from the University of California Berkeley in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona in Anthropology, with a minor in American Indian Studies. A citizen of the Cherokee Nation, his work with Cherokee government actors and communities in northeastern Oklahoma centers on Indigenous environmental governance as it is informed by traditional forms of decision-making and perspectives on the environment. His book, Roots of Our Renewal: Ethnobotany and Cherokee Environmental Governance (2015, University of Minnesota Press), explores the interplay between tribal natural resource management programs and governance models that the Cherokee people have developed, showing how Indigenous state forms can articulate alternative ways of interacting with and “governing” the environment. This work derives from his enduring relationship with a group of Cherokee elders and knowledge keepers in northeastern Oklahoma—the Cherokee Nation Medicine Keepers. He is also a recent recipient of a five-year Early Career Grant funded by the National Science Foundation, which he and the Cherokee Nation Medicine Keepers will use to build a Cherokee land education program and to understand Cherokee resource access in Oklahoma.

David Heska Wanbli Weiden is an author, professor, and community activist.  An enrolled member of the Sicangu Lakota Nation, he is Associate Professor and Director of the Native American Studies program at Metropolitan State University of Denver.  He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Denver Indian Family Resource Center, and has recently signed a contract to write the first college textbook in the discipline of Native American Studies.  As for his creative writing, he pursued his MFA in fiction, first at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, and then at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. He has published creative work in Yellow Medicine Review, Transmotion, Criminal Class Review, and Tribal College Journal among others. He is currently working on a novel, Winter Counts, which will be one of the first thrillers to be written by an indigenous author.

Jennifer Elise Foerster is an alumna of the Institute of American Indian Arts, received her MFA from the Vermont College of the Fine Arts, and is completing a PhD at the University of Denver. She is the recipient of a 2017 NEA Creative Writing Fellowship, a Lannan Foundation Writing Residency Fellowship, and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University. A member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma, her first book of poems, Leaving Tulsa, was published by the University of Arizona Press in 2013. Her poems have recently appeared in Colorado Review, Eleven Eleven, The Brooklyn Rail, and Kenyon Review Online. Jennifer currently lives in Colorado Springs.

 
 

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