2018 Indigenous Writers Festival:

Celebrating Native Women


Friday, June 22

Racing Magpie and Bird Cage Book Store, 406 5th Street, Rapid City, SD 

Writers Feast 5pm-6:30pm 

Catered by Kimberly Tilson-Brave Heart, Et-i-quette Co.

Click on button to purchase tickets on Eventbrite




Free the Bird Poetry Readings 6:30pm-8pm

Featuring Poets: Mary Black Bonnet, Geri Gutwein, Eileen Briggs and local youth poetry group from

Pine Ridge "Dances With Words".


Saturday, June 23

Alex Johnson Hotel, 523 6th Street, Rapid City, SD

Breakfast on your own

Doors open at 8:30am

Welcome and Prayer at 9:00am

Panel Discussions Begin

Historians, poets, fiction, memoirs, and, journalists.

Racing Magpie12:30pm-1:30pm Break  for lunch, book signings and Native Women's Art and Crafts Sale

Lunch provided by the Lakota Sewing Circle/Wiyan Omniciye

(charge for the meal)


Alex Johnson's Hotel- 1:45pm-5:30pm

Panel discussions continue and keynote presentation by LeAnn Howe

The festival will conclude with a Round Dance Honoring Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women at Racing Magpie. Tiana Spotted Thunder will perform an Honor Song.

Following the Round Dance, from 6:30pm to 8:00pm there will be poetry readings by local poets who participated in the "Poetry, Art and Place" Project. These poets will also have their works of poetry on exhibit at Racing Magpie throughout the festival.

List of our writers and journalists confirmed to date:

Virginia Driving Hawk-Sneve, LeAnne Howe, Brenda Child, Jacki Thompson Rand, Jennilee Rooks, Ernestine Chasing Hawk, Jodi Rave, Karen Eagle Wambli , Avis Little Eagle, Elizabeth Cook-Lynn.



Keynote Presentation by LeAnne Howe







Poet, fiction writer, filmmaker, and playwright

LeAnne Howe was born and raised in Oklahoma

and is a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

She worked as a newspaper journalist for 12 years before earning an MFA from Vermont College.

Howe’s lyrical poems engage Native American life. She is the author of the poetry collection Evidence of Red: Poems and Prose (2005), which won the Oklahoma Book Award.
Her novels include Miko Kings: An Indian Baseball Story (2007) and Shell Shaker (2001), which won the Before Columbus Foundation’s American Book Award. The French translation of Shell Shaker, entitled Equinoxes Rouge, was a finalist for the 2004 Prix Médicis Etranger. Howe’s scholarly articles have appeared in Pre-removal Choctaw History: Exploring New Paths (2008), Reasoning Together: The Native Critics Collective (2008), and Foundations of First Peoples’ Sovereignty: History, Culture, and Education (2008). She was the narrator and host of the 2006 PBS documentary Indian Country Diaries: Spiral of Fire. Her plays include The Mascot Opera: A Minuet, which was commissioned by Minneapolis’s Mixed Blood Theater in 2008. She performed her one-woman show Choctalking on Other Realities at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in 2009.
Howe’s honors include a Fulbright Scholarship to Jordan as well as residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Ragdale, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts. She has also received the Writer of the Year Award from the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers as well as a grant from the Iowa Arts Council.

Please contact event organizer Lily Mendoza at lilym@rap.midco.net or 605-431-8231 with questions. 

Brenda J. Child

  • The North American Indian Prose Award for Boarding School Seasons: American Indian Families, 1900-1940, 1998

  • Ford Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellowship Program, 2000 - 2001

  • Minnesota Book Award Nominee for History for Boarding School Seasons: American Indian Families, 1900-1940, 1999

  • The President's Muticultural Research Award, University of Minnesota, 2002

  • University of Minnesota Grant-in-Aid of Research, 1999 - 2000

Jacki Thompson Rand is an associate professor of history and the coordinator of Native American and indigenous studies at the University of Iowa. She is the author of Kiowa Humanity and the Invasion of the State (2008) as well as articles and essays. Her academic career follows a decade that she spent at the Smithsonian Institution, most notably engaging tribal communities throughout the United Stated in support of the nascent National Museum of the American Indian and informing architectural programs for its Suitland collection facility and for the museum itself on the National Mall.

Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve is an American author, with a focus on books about Native Americans for children. The daughter of James Driving Hawk, an Episcopalian priest, and Rose Driving Hawk, Virginia was raised on the Rosebud Reservation. She graduated from St. Mary's School in Springfield, South Dakota and received her bachelor's and master's degrees from South Dakota State University where she met her husband. She has published over twenty books on South Dakota history, Native American history, poetry, fiction and non-fiction works for children, as well as one about her female ancestors, "Completing the Circle".

Geri Mendoza Gutwein, Ph.D. is professor of English at Harrisburg Area Community College where she teaches writing, creative writing, and Native American literature. She is the Director of the Wildwood Writers’ Festival held annually at Harrisburg Area Community College. Her publications include a chapbook of poetry titled Every Orbit of the Circle, and a book of poetry titled the Story She Told. Her work has appeared in the Connecticut Review, Fledgling Rag, and The Great Plains Quarterly. She is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Teaching Development Fellowship. She will read from her most current manuscript titled An Utterance of Small Truths. Dr. Gutwein is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.

Art donated by Jim Yellowhawk
"The Book of Ruth"
Volunteers; Madge, Sita and Grace

This Festival is funded in part by the Bush Foundation and the South Dakota Humanities Council.

Media sponsor KEVN