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Volume 61, Issue 4

Watch our virtual reading from this issue here.

WE ARE HONORED to present to you the very first Massachusetts Review issue focused on Native American writing. We are thankful to Associate Editor N. C. Christopher Couch and the rest of the MR team for dreaming up this issue and for asking us to be guest editors, and we are especially thankful to the writers and artists whose work we’ve chosen for this special issue. Their words and images are a gift.

This issue, as it was first imagined, was set to coincide with and push back against Massachusetts’s planned celebration of the four hundredth anniversary of the Mayflower voyage and the settlers’ arrival at Plymouth. Instead of commemorating the settler colonial narrative that surrounds the founding of Plymouth Colony, we sought instead to celebrate Indigenous narratives, not only from the Northeast but also from all of what is now the United States.

This issue emerges in a world much changed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the current administration’s failure to mitigate it, which is devastating to Native communities—places already impacted by environmental racism as well as underfunded and understaffed health services. We have lost and are losing our community members, some of them young and healthy and some who are tribal elders, keepers of languages and Indigenous knowledge. We mourn for these losses and for those to come. Indigenous people have endured many epidemics, including those brought four hundred years ago, which makes the current moment also a reminder of these past traumas and the erasures of those histories. As a reminder of the impact of the current pandemic on Native peoples, we have chosen to include some images from the “Protect Your Elders” series, a project that features public health posters designed by Indigenous artists and imagined by Lee Francis IV, founder of the comic book publishing house Native Realities.

Our world is simultaneously engaged in a struggle for racial and social justice, sparked by protests over the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The Black Lives Matter movement leads this national and international reckoning, the focus not just on extra-judicial police violence and abolition but also on the way we remember and symbolize the past. In the U.S., we have witnessed Confederate statues and Columbus statues fall (33 to date!), and we have finally seen the end of the Washington Football Team name—a harmful mascot that Native activists have been fighting for years to have retired. In Massachusetts, legislation has been passed by the state senate that promises to remove the “Indian” from the state flag, seal, and motto.

This powerful movement has been bolstered by a landmark win for tribal sovereignty: in July of this year the Supreme Court case McGirt v. Oklahoma confirmed that 47 percent of Oklahoma is still Native land, and that the reservations of the Five Southeastern Tribes (Muscogees, Cherokees, Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Seminoles) were never disestablished. At question in this case is whether a crime committed by a Seminole man named Jimcy McGirt occurred on Muscogee Creek land—and was therefore a federal crime, not a state one. The 5–4 decision in favor of McGirt and the Muscogee Creek Nation is a powerful affirmation of Indigenous title, one that is already being cited in other land and jurisdiction cases.

Other struggles for sovereignty and the protection of Indigenous rights, lands, and waters continue. The Kumeyaay Nation in California and the Tohono O’odham in Arizona are currently fighting the construction of the border wall that is destroying burial sites and impeding access to cultural and ceremonial sites. Litigation continues over the Dakota Access pipeline that crosses Standing Rock Sioux tribal lands, desecrates burial sites, and threatens to pollute the Missouri River—though a district court ruled in July that the pipeline had to cease operations. The fate of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would cross Rosebud Sioux territory and the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation (home of Gros Ventre and Assiniboine peoples), is still to be determined—a lawsuit brought by these two communities against the current administration is pending. Legislation to reinstate the trust status of the Mashpee Wampanoag Reservation in Taunton, Massachusetts, was passed by the U.S. House last year but still awaits Senate approval. To the north, in Nova Scotia, the Mi’kmaq First Nation community in St. Mary’s Bay is in the midst of a much-publicized struggle over fishing rights.

Amidst all of this, Indigenous writers are writing. Prolifically. So much so that author Erika Wurth (Apache/Chickasaw/Cherokee) has argued that we are seeing a second Native American Renaissance.1 This year alone has seen a record number of new books from Native and First Nations authors. At the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, the low-residency MFA is turning out a multitude of new writers, some of whom are included in this issue. Tommy Orange (Cheyenne/Arapaho), whose debut novel There There (2018) won numerous accolades (it was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize), is also an IAIA graduate. For the first time, the U.S. has a Native Poet Laureate: Joy Harjo (Mvskoke). Harjo has just edited the first Norton Anthology of Native American Poetry, to be released in fall 2020. It is an exciting time for Indigenous literature.

It’s an exciting time for Indigenous art as well. Our issue features the work of Rose B. Simpson, an artist from Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico. Simpson’s mixed-media art, including our issue’s cover piece, works to challenge stereotypes about Native peoples, especially stereotypes about Native peoples and gender. Her work transforms everyday, overlooked objects and makes or incorporates them into art that both showcases and transforms traditional art.

The issue’s poetry and prose show the depth and range of Native writing in our current moment. We put forward work by both new and established Indigenous writers that is diverse in its aesthetics and comes from tribal people who live all over the country. These writers’ words celebrate the living, mourn for the dead, and show all of us the pain and pleasure of living in America. Some work is set on reservations, some in urban environments, and some in rural places. Some is overtly political, some is deeply personal, and some is the very best mixture of both. All feature precise images, language, or languages, and all deserve as wide and diverse an audience as the territories from which the writers come. We hope that you enjoy reading it as much as we have enjoyed bringing it together.

—Laura Furlan, Toni Jensen, and Tacey M. Atsitty,
for the editors

1. The first Native American Renaissance began in 1969 when N. Scott Momaday won the Pulitzer Prize for House Made of Dawn. A rush of interest in publishing Native American writing followed. Wurth’s article, entitled “The Fourth Wave,” was published in Waxwing (2016).




by Andrea L. Rogers


Sonnet 1

by Esther Belin


Heritage X

by Elise Paschen


from Tiger Lily and the Impossible Neverland

by Natanya Ann Pulley


"Eating Like a Bird, It's Really a Falsity"

by Jessica Mehta


The Raid

by Chip Livingston



by Sherwin Bitsui


River City

by Laura Dá


Moth Madness

by Laura Tohe

Novel Excerpt

from The Seed Keeper

by Diane Wilson



by Chandre Szafran


Girls Are Coming out of the Water

by Abigail Chabitnoy


Excavation: She Was Dug Up

by Michelle LaPena


Recent Work

by Rose B. Simpson


Directed South

by Rose B. Simpson


Mata la Araña

by Rose B. Simpson



by LeAnne Howe


The Boys Are Back in Town

by Theodore C. Van Alst, Jr.


Earth Shaker

by Jon Hickey


Ghazal VI

by Bojan Louis



by Erika Wurth


I Was Hurried, Not Agitated

by Suzanne Rancourt


A Door That Can't Stay Shut

by Dennis E. Staples

hybrid text

Crossing Cuyahoga

by Crater Meland


Salt for the Stain

by Summer J. Hart


There's the Indian!

by Ruby Hansen Murray


Orthindis (Blue Jay)

by Stephanie Lenox


dá’ák’ehdi (in the cornfield)

by Lemanuel Loley

Table of Contents


sheltering, an essay by Tiffany Midge

Sonnet 1, a poem by Esther Belin

Diné Abecedarian, an essay by Shaina A. Nez

Heritage, a poem by Elise Paschen

from Tiger Lily and the Impossible Neverland,
      a novel excerpt by Natanya Ann Pulley

“Eating like a Bird, It’s Really a Falsity,”
      a poem by Jessica Mehta

The Guy with the Name,
      a story by Stephen Graham Jones

The Raid, a story by Chip Livingston

Amá, a poem by Sherwin Bitsui

River City, a poem by Laura Da’

Moth Madness, a poem by Laura Tohe

from The Seed Keeper, a novel excerpt by Diane Wilson

Marrow, an essay by Chandre Szafran

Girls Are Coming out of the Water,
      a poem by Abigail Chabitnoy

Excavation: She Was Dug Up, an essay by Michelle LaPena

Recent Work, art by Rose B. Simpson

Mata la Araña, an essay by Rose B. Simpson

1918, a poem by LeAnne Howe

I Am Another of Yourself, a poem by Michael Wasson

The Boys Are Back in Town,
      a story by Theodore C. Van Alst, Jr.

Earth Shaker, a story by Jon Hickey

Ghazal VI, a poem by Bojan Louis

Cecilia, a story by Erika Wurth

I was hurried, not agitated,
      a poem by Suzanne S. Rancourt

A Door That Can’t Stay Shut,
      an essay by Dennis E. Staples

Crossing Cuyahoga, a hybrid text by Carter Meland

Salt for the Stain, a poem by Summer J. Hart

Gikendaan Gikendamaazoo Learning to Sense,
      a poem by Margaret Noodin

Lens, a story by Andrea L. Rogers

There’s the Indian!, a story by Ruby Hansen Murray

Orthindis (Blue Jay), a poem by Stephanie Lenox

dá’ák’ehdi (in the cornfield), a poem by Lemanuel Loley

Notes on Contributors

Volume Index


ESTHER G. BELIN is a Diné multimedia artist and writer, currently a faculty mentor in the low-rez MFA program at the Institute for American Indian Arts. She holds degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, the Institute of American Indian Arts, and Antioch University, Los Angeles. Her poetry collection From the Belly of My Beauty (University of Arizona Press, 1999) won the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. Her latest collection is Of Cartography: Poems (University of Arizona Press, 2017). She is a second-generation off-reservation Native American resulting from the U.S. federal Indian policies of termination and relocation. Her art and writing reflect the historical trauma from those policies as well as the philosophy of Saah Naagháí Bik’eh Hózho, the worldview of the Navajo people.

SHERWIN BITSUI (Diné) is originally from White Cone, Arizona, on the Navajo Reservation. He is Diné of the Todich’ii’nii (Bitter Water Clan), born for the Tl’izilani (Many Goats Clan). He is the author of Shapeshift, Flood Song, and Dissolve. His honors include a Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship and a Native Arts & Culture Foundation Arts Fellowship. He is also the recipient of a 2010 PEN Open Book Award, an American Book Award, and a Whiting Writers Award. He is on faculty at Northern Arizona University.

ABIGAIL CHABITNOY is the author of How to Dress a Fish (Wesleyan 2019), winner of the 2020 Colorado Book Award for Poetry and shortlisted in the international category of the 2020 Griffin Prize for Poetry. She was a 2016 Peripheral Poets fellow, and her poems have appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Boston Review, Tin House, Gulf Coast, LitHub, and Red Ink, among others. Most recently, she was the recipient of the Witter Bynner Funded Native Poet Residency at Elsewhere Studios in Paonia, CO, and is a mentor for the Institute of American Indian Arts MFA in Creative Writing. She is a Koniag descendant and member of the Tangirnaq Native Village in Kodiak.

LAURA DA' is a poet and teacher. A lifetime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Da’ studied creative writing at the University of Washington and The Institute of American Indian Arts. Da’ is Eastern Shawnee. She is the author of Tributaries, winner of the American Book Award, and Instruments of the True Measure, winner of the Washington State Book Award. Da’ lives near Seattle with her husband and son and is a writer in residence at Richard Hugo House.

SUMMER J. HART is an interdisciplinary artist from Maine, living in the Hudson Valley, New York. Her written and visual narratives are influenced by folklore, superstition, divination, and forgotten territories reclaimed by nature. She is the author of the microchapbook Augury of Ash (Post Ghost Press, 2020). Her poetry appears in Waxwing, Northern New England Review, Third Point Press, and elsewhere. She is a member of the Listuguj Mi’gmaq First Nation.

JON HICKEY lives with his wife and son in San Francisco. His work has appeared in the Madson Review, Meridian, Virginia Quarterly Review, and Gulf Coast. He received his MFA from Cornell University and was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. He is a member of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians (Anishinaabe).

LEANNE HOWE is the recipient of a United States Artists Ford Fellowship, Lifetime Achievement Award by the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas, American Book Award, Oklahoma Book Award, and she was a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar to Jordan. She received the Modern Languages Association inaugural Prize for Studies in Native American Literatures, Cultures, and Languages. She received an MFA from Vermont College of Norwich University and shares a Native and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) award for literary criticism with eleven other scholars for Reasoning Together: The Native Critics Collective, named one of the ten most influential books of the first decade of the twenty-first century for indigenous scholarship. Her books include Shell Shaker, Evidence of Red, Miko Kings: An Indian Baseball Story, and Choctalking on Other Realities. She co-edited a book of essays on Native films with Harvey Markowitz and Denise K. Cummings titled Seeing Red, Pixeled Skins: American Indians and Film. She is the Eidson Distinguished Professor in American Literature at the University of Georgia.

STEPHEN GRAHAM JONES is the author of twenty-five or so novels and collections, and there’s some novellas and comic books in there as well. Most recent are The Only Good Indians and Night of the Mannequins. Stephen lives and teaches in Boulder, Colorado.

MICHELLE L. LAPENA is a member of the Pit River Tribe and a mother of three. She is an Indian law attorney, and she has represented Indian tribes since 1999. She has lectured at primary, secondary, and university levels on topics related to California Indians and federal Indian law for over two decades. In addition, she has published a number of law review articles, essays and nonfiction articles on topics relative to her work with California Indian tribes. She received her BA in 1993 and her J.D. in 1998, both from the University of California, Davis. She was a recipient of the 2015 Truman Capote Creative Writing Fellowship and earned her MFA in creative writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts in 2017.

STEPHANIE LENOX is a citizen of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. She is the author of two full-length poetry collections, The Business, winner of the 2015 Colorado Prize for Poetry, and Congress of Strange People. With H. K. Hummel, she co-authored Short-Form Creative Writing: A Writer’s Guide and Anthology. She lives in Salem, Oregon, where she works for Chemeketa Community College.

CHIP LIVINGSTON is the mixed-blood Creek author of two poetry collections, Crow-Blue, Crow-Black and Museum of False Starts, a novel, and a story and essay collection. His writing has appeared in Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Mississippi Review, Cincinnati Review, Subtropics, and New American Writing, among other journals. He teaches in the low-res MFA program at Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM, and lives in Montevideo, Uruguay.

LEMANUEL LOLEY is ‘Áshįįhi born for Tó Baazhní’ázhí; his maternal grandparents are the Tódích’íi’nii, and his paternal grandparents are the Kinyaa’áanii. Loley is from Casamero Lake, New Mexico. He holds an MFA in fiction from the Institute of American Indian Arts and he is a current Ph.D. candidate in English and literary arts at the University of Denver. Loley is a member of Saad Bee Hózhǫ́: Diné Writers’ Collective and director of the Emerging Diné Writers’ Institute. His work has appeared in HIKA, Pollentongue: An Indigenous Poetry Salon and Reading, RED INK, the Santa Fe Literary Review, and is forthcoming in Diné Reader: an Anthology of Navajo Literature. His short story “Na’nízhoozhi Di” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by the Santa Fe Literary Review in 2019. Loley is at work on a novel titled They Collect Rain in Their Palms.

BOJAN LOUIS (Diné) is the author of the poetry collection Currents (BkMk Press 2017), which received a 2018 American Book Award, and the nonfiction chapbook Troubleshooting Silence in Arizona (The Guillotine Series 2012). He is an assistant professor in the Creative Writing and American Indian Studies programs at the University of Arizona.

JESSICA (TYNER) MEHTA is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, interdisciplinary artist, multi-award-winning poet, and author of several books. She’s also the owner of an award-winning small business. MehtaFor is a writing services company that offers pro bono services to Native Americans and indigenous-serving nonprofits. Her novel The Wrong Kind of Indian won gold at the 2019 Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPYs) and at the American Book Fest Best Book. Mehta’s Savagery won the Reader Literary Reviews 2020 award for “most innovative collection of poetry.” Selected Poems: 2000 – 2020 received the 2020 Birdy Prize from Meadowlark Books. Jessica has also received the Everett Helm Visiting Fellowship at the Lilly Library at Indiana University in Bloomington and the Eccles Centre Visiting Fellowship at The British Library in London among others. Jessica was featured recently at the US State Department’s National Poetry Month event “Poets as Cultural Emissaries: A Conversation with Women Writers,” as well as the “Women’s Transatlantic Prison Activism Since 1960” symposium at Oxford University. She has undertaken poetry residencies around the globe including at Hosking Houses Trust with an appointment at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-Upon-Avon, England, Paris Lit Up in France, and at the Crazy Horse Memorial and museum in South Dakota. Her work has been featured at galleries and exhibitions around the world, including IA&A Hillyer in Washington, DC, The Emergency Gallery in Sweden, and the Institute of American Indian Arts in New Mexico. Her doctoral research addresses the intersection of poetry and eating disorders.

CARTER MELAND is a tall, left-handed descendant of White Earth Anishinaabe. He takes writing seriously but does so with good humor. His novel Stories For a Lost Child invokes the waters of Lake Superior and the Mississippi River, and the deepwoods voice of Misaabe (Bigfoot) to help his characters make sense of the problems in their lives. By day he teaches students in the department of American Indian studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth about the wicked smart, moving, and profound things that Native writers have to say about the world, and by night he tries to rise to the standards they set. Stories for a Lost Child was a finalist for the 2018 Minnesota Book Award.

TIFFANY MIDGE is a citizen of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and was raised by wolves in the Pacific Northwest. A former humor columnist for Indian Country Today, she taught writing and composition for Northwest Indian College. Her memoir is Bury My Heart at Chuck E. Cheese’s (Bison Books).

RUBY HANSEN MURRAY is an award-winning columnist for the Osage News. She’s a winner of the Montana Nonfiction Prize awarded fellowships at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Ragdale, Hedgebrook, and Fishtrap. See her work in High Desert Journal, Seventh Wave, Moss, Exquisite Vessel: Shapes of Native Nonfiction, Native: Voices, Indigenous American Poetry, World Literature Today, CutBank, and The Rumpus. A citizen of the Osage Nation with West Indian roots, she received an MFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts.

SHAINA A. NEZ is ‘Áshįįhi born for Táchii’nii. Her maternal grandfather’s clan is Ta’neeszahnii, and Kin łichii'nii is her paternal grandfather’s clan. She is from Lukachukai, Arizona, and currently lives in Mentmore, New Mexico. Nez received her MFA in creative writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts with her focus in creative nonfiction. Shaina has one daughter, named Hailee April.

MARGARET NOODIN received an MFA in creative writing and a PhD in linguistics from the University of Minnesota. She is currently a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she also serves as director of the Electa Quinney Institute for American Indian Education and a scholar in the Center for Water Policy. She is the author of Bawaajimo: A Dialect of Dreams in Anishinaabe Language and Literature and two bilingual collections of poetry, Weweni and Gijigijigikendan: What the Chickadee Knows. Her poems are also anthologized in New Poets of Native Nations, Poetry, The Michigan Quarterly Review, Water Stone Review, and Yellow Medicine Review. Her research spans linguistic revitalization, indigenous ontologies, traditional science and prevention of violence in indigenous communities. Noodin and other students and speakers of Ojibwe have created an online space for the language to be shared by academics and the Native community.

ELISE PASCHEN, an enrolled member of the Osage Nation, is the author of The Nightlife, Bestiary, Infidelities (winner of
the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize), and Houses: Coasts. Her poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, The New Yorker, and Poetry, among other publications. She has edited many anthologies, including The Eloquent Poem as well as the New York Times best-selling Poetry Speaks. A cofounder of Poetry in Motion, Paschen teaches in the MFA Writing Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

NATANYA ANN PULLEY is a Diné writer, and her clans are Kinyaa’áani (Towering House People) and Táchii’nii (Red Running into Water People). She’s published in Waxwing, Monkeybicycle, Entropy, and The Offing, among others. Natanya is the founding editor of Hairstreak Butterfly Review and teaches texts by Native American writers, fiction writing, and experimental forms at Colorado College. Her debut story collection With Teeth was published by New Rivers Press (Oct. 2019).

Multimodal EXAT SUZANNE S. RANCOURT, of Abenaki/Huron descent, has published two books: Billboard in the Clouds, 2nd print, Northwestern UP, which received the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas First Book Award; and murmurs at the gate, Unsolicited Press, 2019. A third book, Old Stones, New Roads, is under contract, and her fourth, Songs of Archilochus, seeks a press. She is a USMC and army veteran who holds an MS in psychology from SUNY, Albany and an MFA in writing from VCFA. Suzanne is widely published.

ANDREA L. ROGERS grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. She got a bachelors in English and a minor in art at the University of Tulsa. She graduated from the MFA program at the Institute for American Indian Arts in creative writing, fiction. She currently splits time between Fort Worth, Texas, and Fayetteville, Arkansas, where she is working on a Ph.D. in English. While teaching art at an all-girls public school in Fort Worth, she wrote Mary and the Trail of Tears: A Cherokee Removal Survival Story, published by Capstone in 2020. Her short stories have been published in Transmotion, Kweli Journal, Yellow Medicine Review, The Santa Fe Literary Review, and Waxwing. Her essay “My Oklahoma History” is included in You Too? 25 Voices Share Their #MeToo Stories, a YA anthology. Her short story “The Ballad of Maggie Wilson” is included in Ancestor Approved, an anthology of Native writers forthcoming from Heartdrum Press/HC in February 2020.

ROSE B. SIMPSON is a mixed-media artist from Santa Clara Pueblo, NM. Her work engages ceramic sculpture, metals, fashion, performance, music, installation, writing, and custom cars. She received an MFA in ceramics from Rhode Island School of Design in 2011, an MFA in creative nonfiction from the Institute of American Indian Arts in 2018, is collected in museums across the continent, and has exhibited internationally. She lives and works from her home at Santa Clara Pueblo and hopes to teach her young daughter how to creatively engage the world.

DENNIS E. STAPLES is an Ojibwe author from Bemidji, Minnesota. He is a graduate of the Clarion West Writers Workshop and the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. His short fiction has appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction and Yellow Medicine Review. He is a citizen of the Red Lake Nation.

CHANDRE IQUGAN SZAFRAN is Inupiaq from the Twin Peaks of the Arctic, Nome, Alaska. She entered the 2020 wormhole earning an MFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts low-res creative writing program. She held Zoom hands with her fellow graduates as a founding board member of the Thunderbird Series to create space for Native voices in literature. This piece, her first publication, is the sweeter face of her work, which can often be found smirking at itself from the corners of identity and belonging, heritage and culture, time, and place.

LAURA TOHE is Diné, Sleepy-Rock People clan and born for the Bitter Water People clan. She is the current Navajo Nation Poet Laureate. She has written five books, and her work has appeared in the U.S., Canada, Chile, and Europe. Her commissioned librettos, Enemy Slayer, A Navajo Oratorio, and Nahasdzáán in the Glittering World, made their world premieres in Arizona and France, respectively. Among her awards are the 2020 Academy of American Poetry Fellowship; 2019 American Indian Festival of Writers Award; and the Arizona Book Association’s Glyph Award for Best Poetry and Best Book; she was twice nominated for the Pushcart Award. She is Professor Emerita with Distinction from Arizona State University.

THEODORE C. VAN ALST, JR. is professor and chair of Indigenous Nations Studies and director of the School of Gender Race and Nations at Portland State University. His mosaic novel about sort of growing up in Chicago, Sacred Smokes, winner of the 2019 Tillie Olsen Award for Creative Writing, is now in its second printing. His next work, Sacred City, will be published in fall 2021, also by the University of New Mexico Press, who released his edited volume The Faster Redder Road: The Best UnAmerican Stories of Stephen Graham Jones. He is the creative editor for Transmotion (a journal of postmodern indigenous studies). His fiction and photography have been published in The Raven Chronicles, Red Earth Review, The Journal of Working-Class Studies, Unnerving Magazine, The Rumpus, Electric Literature, and Yellow Medicine Review, among others.

MICHAEL WASSON is the author of Swallowed Light (Copper Canyon Press, 2021). A 2019 Ruth Lilly & Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellow in Poetry and a 2018 NACF National Artist Fellow in Literature, he is from the Nez Perce Reservation in Idaho.

DIANE WILSON is a Dakota writer who uses personal experience to illustrate broader social and historical context. Her new novel, The Seed Keeper, will be published by Milkweed Editions in spring 2021. Her memoir, Spirit Car: Journey to a Dakota Past, won a 2006 Minnesota Book Award and was selected for the 2012 One Minneapolis One Read program. Her nonfiction book Beloved Child: A Dakota Way of Life was awarded the 2012 Barbara Sudler Award from History Colorado. Her work has been featured in many publications, including the anthology A Good Time for the Truth. She has served as a mentor for the Loft Emerging Artist program as well as Intermedia’s Beyond the Pale. Awards include the Minnesota State Arts Board, a 2013 Bush Foundation Fellowship, a 2018 AARP/Pollen 50 Over 50 Leadership Award, and the Jerome Foundation. She is a descendent of the Mdewakanton Oyate and enrolled on the Rosebud Reservation. Wilson currently serves as the executive director for the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance.

ERIKA T. WURTH’s publications include two novels, Crazy Horse’s Girlfriend and You Who Enter Here, two collections of poetry, 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 Buzzfeed, Boulevard, Lithub, The Writer’s Chronicle, Bitch, Waxwing, and The Kenyon Review. She will be faculty at Breadloaf in 2021, is a Kenyon Review Writers Workshop Scholar, attended the Tin House Summer Workshop, and has been chosen as a narrative artist for the Meow Wolf Denver installation. She is Apache/Chickasaw/Cherokee and was raised outside of Denver, where she lives with her partner, her two stepchildren, and her extremely fluffy dogs.

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