There is a story each one of us carry that only we can tell. Through weaving our stories together, as a community, we can build a vessel, strong and large enough to carry our message to the world. This anthology unifies the arts and the integrity this institution was founded on. Carrying that torch that others, like yourself, have carried towards the continuation of what it means to come from the Institution of American Indian Arts. Who we are and where we come from provides a map for the soul to where we may go, shedding light down a path we would not have known if not for the ones who opened themselves up and showed us another side to this great journey.
Delivering these voices takes consideration of its speaker. Each member of this community shares a commonality in expression and agency, culminated by our individual experiences. Become a voice that calls out your own truth. Bring light to what others do not see. Give guidance and soul. Help strengthen our journey as artists and as a people for the generations to come. We all carry a remembrance far too heavy to hold on to on our own. Together. Whether it be through poem, fiction, nonfiction, song, drawing, painting, film, or photo— whatever the story might be, together, we can carry each other by holding one another’s stories.
My name is Debon Redd Victor, I prefer Redd but at the same it doesn’t matter. I started writing in high school in my junior year. I remember the books I read back then that made me want to write. The Alchemist is one of those books, I remember spending class hours and even times at home just reading the book. I don’t know how I came upon the book, just that one day it found itself into my hands. I can really only write during class time, whether it to deal with boredom or it is the only time I feel like I need to write, I don’t know. Anyways, now I feel like I can create any world, or at least set up the world for something greater. The only problem is getting to that greater status and going beyond the set up. I think for now though I’ll continue to set up stories until I can find that spark again to dive deep into a story.
Tovah Strong is from a small train town in New Mexico where rainstorms are precious and ravens build nests in sandstone crevices. She is currently in her third year studying Creative Writing at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Her poetry has appeared IAIA’s 2018 and 2019 anthologies and the Santa Fe Literary Review. She is fascinated by language’s ability to expand the visible world and make people feel, think, question, and imagine.
Charlene Tourtillott is an enrolled member of the Menominee Nation located in Northeastern Wisconsin. She is a junior at the Institute of American Indian Arts and studies Creative Writing with an emphasis on fiction.
Brennan Avans is from the Sonoran Desert of Mohawk Valley, Arizona. He recently moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, to study creative writing at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Brennan is proud to be an enrolled member of the Sac and Fox Nation of Oklahoma. Blending an array of cultural and philosophical influences, from his Native American and Mexican heritage to music and life experiences, he imagines his stories in absurdist fashion that challenges the narrative of the human experience and evaluates the truths in ourselves. With a wandering mind, constantly stumbling to and from different artistic pursuits and interests, he plans to write the next great magical realism novel at some point in the future.
Shantel Chee is in her third year at the Institute of American Indian Arts. She is majoring in studio arts and creative writing with an emphasis on poetry. Shantel’s writing and art tell stories about the land and community she grew up in. She loves telling traditional stories and adding her Dine language and knowledge to let people understand her unique background. She gets her spark from her surroundings and teachings as she grows to become a strong, Dine, storyteller woman.
Triana Reid is in her second year at the Institute of American Indian Arts. She is majoring in creative writing with an emphasis in poetry. With her writing she hopes to use words to inspire change in a world that is constantly in flux- dividing and growing. She sees a strong tie between social change and language- how knowledge is accessible or not to those who most need it. She gains a lot of her inspiration from nature and the calm or chaos that can induce.
Kim Parko is an associate professor at IAIA and is grateful to be a part of the 2020 IAIA Anthology team, which persevered under the challenging circumstances of the COVID-19 campus closure. The IAIA Anthology is a long-standing IAIA tradition, and she joins in celebrating the anthology’s first online publication and the further amplification of the powerful, innovative, and necessary student voices of IAIA.
Chelsea Napper holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts, where they studied creative nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and playwriting. Having written since they could hold a pen, their poetry and fiction have been published in multiple anthologies, including a best-prize poem published in Tribal College Student Journal (Fall 2019). They have served in multiple editorial teams, including as a student poetry editor for the 2019 IAIA Student Anthology, Celestial Refractions. Currently living in Santa Fe, New Mexico, they are working as an IAIA staff member and adjunct faculty. They enjoy working with IAIA’s students to empower them in creating the IAIA Spring 2020 Anthology volume.
Nami Okuzono was born and raised in a small district of Osaka city, Japan. Currently, Nami is based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is alumni of Institute of American Indian Arts (class of 2016/Studio Arts) and works as Learning Systems Manager at IAIA.
When she was in high school, her artistic inspiration bloomed as she started being aware of art galleries and museums in and around the area of Osaka. Soon after graduating from high school, she decided to pursue an education in the states. It has been a journey for her.
Over the years, Nami has been a part of the educational journal AePR as the Art Director (AEEBLE ePortfolio Review); mainly to work with the layout design and overall visual design for the digital publication. She also has her own business for designing websites for artists (artistweb.online)