Birchbark Books


Past Speakers and Events

NALS 2016
Albequrque, New Mexico

Steven Paul Judd, keynote speaker

Steven Paul Judd (Kiowa/Choctaw) is a writer, director, actor, and visual artist from Oklahoma. His feature film "The Butchers" was released Nov 2014.  And his short film "Ronnie BoDean" staring Wes Studi in early 2015. Winner of the 2009 Creative Spirit Award, Judd's work has been included in an installment at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. Although known primarily for his work in film, Judd is a prolific visual artist whose mashups merge Native experiences with the disposible nature of American pop culture.


Luci Tapahonso, keynote speaker

Luci Tapahonso (Navajo) is professor of English Literature and Language at the University of New Mexico. In 2013, she was named the inaugural poet laureate of the Navajo Nation. She is the author of three children’s books and six books of poetry, including A Radiant Curve, which was awarded the Arizona Book Award for Poetry in 2009. Tapahonso’s work has appeared in many print and media productions in the U.S. and internationally. Her poems have been translated into German, Italian and French. She was featured in Rhino Records’ CDs, “In Their Own Voices: A Century of American Poetry” and “Poetry on Record: 98 American Poets Read Their Work” and in several PBS films.


Craig Howe, keynote speaker

Craig Howe (Oglala Sioux) is director of the Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies, a nonprofit research center committed to advancing knowledge and understanding of American Indian communities and issues important to them. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and is a faculty member in the Graduate Studies Department at Oglala Lakota College. He also served as deputy assistant director for cultural resources at the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, and director of the D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian History at the Newberry Library in Chicago. He has developed innovative hypermedia tribal histories projects and creative museum exhibitions, taught Native studies courses in the U.S. and Canada, and authored articles and book chapters on numerous topics, including tribal histories, Native studies, museum exhibitions, and community collaborations. Howe was raised and lives on his family’s cattle ranch on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.


NALS 2015
Albequrque, New Mexico

Stephen Graham Jones, keynote speaker

Stephen Graham Jones (Blackfeet) is the author of 15 novels, 6 collections, and more than 200 stories.  He has been a Shirley Jackson Award finalist three times, a Bram Stoker Award finalist and received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in fiction. His most recent books include, Floating Boy and the Girl Who Couldn’t Fly (Dzanc, with Paul Tremblay), After the People Lights Have Gone Off (horror collection, Dark House), and Growing up Dead in Texas (MP publishing).  He teaches creative writing at the University of Colorado, Boulder.



Frances Washburn, keynote speaker

Frances Washburn (Lakota/Anishinabe) is the author of The Red Bird All-Indian Traveling Band.  Wasburn was born and raised on Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.  She is also the author of two previous novels, Elsie’s Business and The Sacred White Turkey, and is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the American Indian Studies department at the University of Arizona.


NALS 2014
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Louise Erdrich, keynote speaker

Louise Erdrich is the author of fifteen novels as well as volumes of poetry, children’s books, short stories, and a memoir of early motherhood. Her novel The Round House won the National Book Award for Fiction. The Plague of Doves won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and her debut novel, Love Medicine, was the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. Erdrich has received the Library of Congress Prize in American Fiction, the prestigious PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. She lives in Minnesota with her daughters and is the owner of Birchbark Books, a small independent bookstore.


Eric Gansworth, keynote speaker

Eric Gansworth, a writer and visual artist, is an enrolled member of the Onondaga Nation. He has published ten books, including the novels, Mending Skins and Extra Indians, the young adult novel, If I Ever Get Out of Here, and the collection of poems and paintings, A Half-Life of Cardio-Pulmonary Function.  His first play, Re-Creation Story, was selected for the Public Theater’s Second Annual Native Theater Festival.  He is a Professor of English and Lowery Writer-in-Residence at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York.  As a visual artist, he has had solo exhibitions at the Castellani Museum, Colgate University, and Bright Hill Center.  Two separate career-spanning shows were mounted at Westfield State College and SUNY Oneonta.  His work has been supported by PEN Oakland, the National Book Critics Circle, The Saltonstall Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, The New York Foundation for the Arts, and The Seaside Institute among other places.

His work has appeared in the journals The Kenyon Review, The Cream City Review, The Boston Review, Provincetown Arts, Shenandoah, and has been supported by the National Book Critics Circle, The Saltonstall Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts, The National Endowment for the Humanities and The Seaside Institute. 

First Nations Manitoba Writers:

David Alexander Robertson, Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair, and Duncan Mercredi


NALS 2013
Minneapolis, Minnesota


NALS 2012
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Saanii Adil'ini

Saanii Adil’ini (Tacey M. Atsitty), keynote speaker

Tacey M. Atsitty, Diné, from Cove, Arizona is Tsénahabiłnii (Sleep Rock People)and born forTa'neeszahnii (Tangle People). She is a recipient of the Truman Capote Creative Writing Fellowship, the Corson-Browning Poetry Prize, and Morning Star Creative Writing Award. She holds bachelor degrees from Brigham Young University and the Institute of American Indian Arts.

She is a recent graduate of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Cornell University. She currently teaches English and Native American Studies at San Juan College in Farmington, NM. Her work has appeared in Florida Review, Drunken Boat, Talking Stick: Native Arts Quarterly, New Poets of the American West Anthology and other publications. Her chapbook "Amenorrhea" came out February 2009 by Counting Coup Press.


Myla Vicenti Carpio

Myla Vicenti Carpio, keynote speaker

Myla Vicenti Carpio is of the Jicarilla Apache Nation and from Laguna and Isleta Pueblos in New Mexico. After completing her undergraduate work at the University of New Mexico in 1992. Dr. Vicenti Carpio earned a master’s degree in history from Arizona State University.  Continuing her educational career at ASU, Myla went on to receive her Ph.D. in history in 2001.

Myla currently works as an Assistant Professor in the American Indian Studies Department at Arizona State University. Her courses include Introduction to American Indian Studies, Issues in Urban Indian Country, American Indian Studies Research Methods, and Readings in Colonization/Decolonization. Her research areas include Indigenous history, urban issues, gender and sexuality, and decolonization.


Le Anne Howe

LeAnne Howe, keynote speaker
"Writing on the Crest of Revolution: A Choctaw in King Abdullah's Court"

LeAnne Howe is an enrolled citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. She writes fiction, poetry, screenplays, scholarship, and plays that deal with native experiences. Author of three awarding winning books, (including the American Book Award, and the Oklahoma Book Award). Howe’s fiction appears in Fiction International, Callaloo, Story, Yalobusha Review, Kenyon Review, Cimarron Review, and elsewhere. Her work has been translated in France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, and Denmark.

Recent artistic and scholarly accomplishments include: the William J. Fulbright Scholarship to Amman Jordan, 2010-2011 to research a new novel set during the Arab Revolt in 1917; on March 5, 2011, Howe was Awarded Tulsa Library Trust’s “American Indian Author Award” at Central Library, Tulsa, OK. Returned from Jordan to receive the award.

In June, 2011: NAISA (Native American and Indigenous Studies Association) voted Reasoning Together, The Native Critics Collective, one of the ten most influential books in the first decade of the twenty-first century by the membership of over 800 scholars. Howe’s chapter, “Blind Bread and the Business of Theorymaking By Embarrassed Grief as Told by LeAnne Howe”. . . . appears in the collection - a short story couched within literary criticism. In November 2011, she was named by Maynard Institute for Journalism Education as one of 30 American Indians authors to celebrate the works of, during November’s Native American Heritage Month.

In 2007, Howe appeared on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show on Comedy Central in a news segment about sports mascots titled, Trail of Cheers. [She’s afraid this might be the pinnacle of her career.] She was the John and Renee Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi at Oxford, MS, 2006-2007. Her plays have been performed at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, and in New York at the Smithsonian.

Currently, when not gallivanting around the Middle East, Howe is a Professor of English, American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois, and former Director of the MFA program in Creative Writing. She makes her homes in Ada, Oklahoma; Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, and most recently Amman, Jordan.


Simon Ortiz

Simon Ortiz, keynote speaker

Simon J. Ortiz writes poetry and prose that is at once honest and unfettered, and yet challenging. Using the simplest of language, Ortiz evokes the most complex feelings, and often a longing for the experiences about which he writes. In much of his work he maintains a simple tone that belies the adversity of his life. What Ortiz writes is important because he is teaching the art of experience, and doing it through language. Not suprisingly, he believes language is an important vehicle for finding and knowing who we are and professes a strong belief in the power of the oral traditions of his people. Although his words often seem innocent, the observations he makes could only come from one who has known the harshness of reality. That he manages such a firm belief in the power of experience and spirituality in the face of difficulty, is something well worth learning, a lesson that Ortiz, as well as Native Americans have to teach.


NALS 2011
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Heid Erdrich

Heid Erdrich, keynote speaker

Heid E. Erdrich is author of four poetry collections, most recently National Monuments from Michigan State University Press. Cell Traffic: New and Selected Poems is forthcoming in 2012. Heid Erdrich also authored The Mother's Tongue, Salt Publishing's Earthworks series, and co-edited Sister Nations: Native American Women on Community, Minnesota Historical Society Press. Heid won the Minnesota Book Award in 2009 for her book of poetry National Monuments.


Linda LeGarde Grover

Linda LeGarde Grover, keynote speaker

Linda LeGarde Grover is an assistant professor of American Indian studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth. She is the coauthor of A Childhood in Minnesota: Exploring the Lives of Ojibwe and Immigrant Families 1880–1920 and the author of a poetry chapbook, The Indian at Indian School. Her 2010 book The Dance Boots won the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction.


Santa Fe Indian School Spoken Word Performance: Moccassins and Microphones

The SFIS Spoken Word Program serves as a creative outlet for students interested in writing. It was founded by Timothy McLaughlin in connection with a network of writing-related programs collectively intended to increase student proficiency with language and encourage positive student expression. The Spoken Word Program empowers students to create original poetry – which incorporates Native languages and philosophies – and then perform that poetry for diverse audiences. This work contributes to the overall SFIS mission of developing future leaders for Native communities as team members practice skills of thinking, writing, cooperating, and presenting.



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