Tag Archives: Indigenous Storytelling

Reciprocity Project Highlights Indigenous Storytelling and Values

by Victor Simoes


Reciprocity Project, a series of seven Indigenous-made documentary short films, combines Native American storytelling with climate awareness and other intersectional movements rooted in Indigenous guardianship, social justice, and human rights. The first season of the project debuted on Oct. 10, and it’s already available to stream. 

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Seedcast: Finding Sweet Water in a Blade of Grass

by Denise Emerson

Since time immemorial, Indigenous people have celebrated storytelling as a way to connect the present to past lessons and future dreaming. Narrative sovereignty is a form of land guardianship, and Nia Tero supports this work through its storytelling initiatives, including the Seedcast podcast, as well as in this monthly column for media partner the South Seattle Emerald.


I grew up as an artist. My parents made it so. When I was 6 or 7 years old, my teacher would give us what we called “ditto sheets.” They were copies of pictures for us to color on, and we had Christmas ditto sheets, Easter ditto sheets, ditto sheets for seasons, dittos for animals, dittos for everything. We were supposed to color the pictures with crayons or colored pencils, but to me, the pictures on the dittos alone looked so bare. So, I started drawing outside of the lines on my sheets. As my teacher walked around, she saw what I was doing. She bent down and asked me, “Denise, what made you think of doing that?” I couldn’t really explain it to her and said that it was just something I knew needed to be done. She was the first person who noticed that I was different and gave me room to make my art.

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Indigenize Productions Brings Healing, Dance, and Joy to Native and BIPOC Communities

by Amanda Ong


Since 2017, Indigenize Productions has been showcasing queer and trans Indigenous joy in different ways, from hosting variety shows to dance parties. Indigenize was founded after a group of Indigenous talents met through a burlesque and variety show called “Dear White People” with an all-BIPOC cast at the University of Washington Ethnic Cultural Theatre. 

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Beloved Seattle Artist and Writer Lawney Reyes Passes Away at the Age of 91

by Ron Chew

(This article was originally published on the International Examiner and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


Seattle Native American artist and writer Lawney Reyes, who documented his family saga and his tribe’s forgotten history in White Grizzly Bear’s Legacy: Learning to Be Indian, passed away on Aug. 10, 2022, at the age of 91.

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Leanne Betasamosake Simpson and Robyn Maynard Reimagine Liberation Together

Two writers and movement builders reflect on their new book, written as letters throughout the pandemic.

by Amanda Ong


This Wednesday, July 27, acclaimed writers, movement builders, and academics Leanne Betasamosake Simpson and Robyn Maynard will virtually visit Elliott Bay Book Company. The two are releasing a new book, Rehearsals for Living, a series of letters between the two written mostly over the pandemic. The book in itself is a dialogue between the two authors as they processed and reimagined life and liberation amid the pandemic. 

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Seedcast: Art, Revolution, and Native Futurity

by Eileen Jimenez

Help the Emerald create more “ripples and sparks” throughout the community! I’m the publisher’s mother and an Emerald founding board member. I’ve lived in Seattle all my life. Over most of those 77 years, the brilliance, diversity, and beauty of our community lacked a constant spotlight — that was until the Emerald came along. I’ve seen my son and the Emerald team sacrifice sleep, health care, self-care, and better salaries elsewhere to keep the Emerald shining a light on our community. I’d never ask anyone to make that kind of sacrifice, but I do ask to do what you can today to support the Emerald as a Rainmaker, or sustaining donor, during their 8th anniversary campaign, Ripples & Sparks at Home, April 20–28. Become a Rainmaker today by choosing the “recurring donor” option on the donation page!

—Cynthia “Mama” Green, The Publisher’s Mama & Rainmaker 

Since time immemorial, Indigenous people have celebrated storytelling as a way to connect the present to past lessons and future dreaming. Narrative sovereignty is a form of land guardianship, and Nia Tero supports this work through its storytelling initiatives, including the Seedcast podcast, as well as in this monthly column for media partner the South Seattle Emerald.


My mother is Maria Cruz, my grandmother is Eloisa Saavedra, and my great-grandmother is Isidora Saavedra. They are matriarchs of the Otomi people, an Indigenous group in Michoacán/Guanajuato, Mexico. I was the first member of my family to be born in the U.S., and I was raised in Anaheim, California. I currently live ​on occupied Duwamish Territory (Seattle, Washington). I am a queer Indigneous printmaker, a doctoral student, and the dean for Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at South Seattle College. I am also currently a Nia Tero Pacific Northwest Art Fellow. 

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Seedcast: You Don’t Leave Anything Behind

by Michael Painter

Since time immemorial, Indigenous people have celebrated storytelling as a way to connect the present to past lessons and future dreaming. Narrative sovereignty is a form of land guardianship, and Nia Tero supports this work through its storytelling initiatives, including the Seedcast podcast, as well as in this monthly column for media partner the South Seattle Emerald.

Content Warning: This piece includes references to the experience of attending Indigenous boarding schools in the United States and the aftermath of catastrophic weather events.


When I introduce myself, I start with the most important: I’m a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. I grew up in Indian Territory, often referred to as Oklahoma. I currently live on the traditional homelands of the Duwamish peoples, now known as West Seattle. Then, if there’s time, I share a little about my job and life experience. I’m a lawyer, a family physician, a father and grandfather, and I’m managing director, Programs at Nia Tero based in Coast Salish Territory.

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New Children’s Book Speaks Truth Through an Indigenous Lens

by Rae Rose


Christopher the Ogre Cologre, It’s Over!, by Dr. Oriel María Siu with illustrations by ​Víctor Zúñiga​, is a children’s book written to challenge historical misconceptions resulting from the way history is currently taught: with bias, from a colonizer’s point of view. By contrast, Dr. Siu’s new book speaks from the heart of Indigenous endurance, highlighting the strength of spirit we pass with love from one generation to the next.

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Seedcast: An Environmental Storyteller Reconnects to His Farming Heritage

by Felipe Contreras


In my role as an associate producer on the Storytelling team at Nia Tero, I have a bit of a reputation. Whenever there’s a photo or video shoot on a farm, they call me — “the farm guy.” So when I was asked to do a photoshoot on an Indigenous-run farm in Tacoma last fall, I accepted the assignment with glee.

That I’m “the farm guy” at Nia Tero might be a surprise to people I grew up with in Los Angeles, including my blended Latine family and community. The only farms I knew during my childhood were the ones our family car passed while driving on the 5. Before I would see the farms, I would smell the stench. And then we would see thousands of cows crammed in the isolated confines of what I now understand were factory farms. Once my dad saw me looking at the cows, and he said, “Those are not happy cows. Those are sad cows.” This was in stark contrast to commercials about “happy cows” from the same time period.

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The Vastness of Indigenous Love: A Thanksgiving Reflection

by Robin Little Wing Sigo (Suquamish)


ʔuʔušəbicid čəd 

Learning more of my ancestral language during this pandemic has been a powerful gift. The ability to say I love you in Lushootseed, brings deeper warmth and nourishment to the vastness of love.  Indigenous love grows from a place of compassion, an understanding that I concern myself with others, and they concern themselves with me. This week of Thanksgiving I am reflecting on how my liberation, my joy, my health is always tied to yours. We are together, wherever we are. 

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