FREE CULTURAL EVENT! American Indian College Fund Hosting Online Indigenous Author Interviews
- November 15: Ramona Emerson to discuss her thriller “Shutter.”
- November 20: Jessie Taken Alive-Rencountre to discuss her children’s books “Thunder’s Hair” and “We Are All Related: Mitakuye Owasin.”
October 31, 2023, Denver, Colo.— The American Indian College Fund is celebrating Native American Heritage Month by hosting two free, online book and author events featuring Indigenous authors.
On Wednesday, November 15 from 12-1 p.m. Mountain Time, Ramona Emerson (Diné) will discuss Shutter, her debut novel that was longlisted for the National Book Award featuring Rita Todacheene, a forensic photographer working for the Albuquerque police.
Rita’s photography skills have cracked many cases because she secretly sees the ghosts of crime victims who point her toward the clues that other investigators can’t see. She is terrorized by the ghosts and her ability to see them is a cultural taboo that has isolated her from friends, gotten her into trouble with the law, driven her away from her home reservation—and might get her killed after she photographs the scene of a supposed suicide and a furious, disembodied ghost of a murder victim who latches onto Rita and places her in the crosshairs of a dangerous cartel.
Ramona Emerson is a Diné writer and filmmaker originally from Tohatchi, New Mexico. Her debut novel, Shutter, was longlisted for the National Book Award and the Bram Stoker Award, nominated for the Edgar for Best First Novel, a finalist for the PEN America Open Book Award, the PEN/Hemingway Award, and the Macavity, Barry, and Anthony Awards for Best First Novel, and winner of the Lefty Award for Best First Novel. She has a bachelor’s degree in media arts from the University of New Mexico and a master’s in fine arts in creative writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts. She resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she and her husband, the producer Kelly Byars, run their production company Reel Indian Pictures
To register for the free November 15, 2023, book and author event featuring Ramona Emerson from 12-1 p.m. Mountain Time, please visit https://engage.collegefund.org/page/58212/event/1.
On Monday, November 20, from 12-1 p.m. Mountain Time, Jessie Taken Alive Rencountre (Hunkpapa Lakota) will discuss her children’s books, Thunder’s Hair and We Are All Related: Mitakuye Owasin.
We Are All Related: Mitakuye Owasin explores the Lakota belief that one creator made all living things, and we are interconnected as a family. The book is written for primary grade children with a universal message for people of all ages and backgrounds. The conversation will focus on how to talk to younger people about the importance of understanding Native cultures.
In Thunder’s Hair, a young Native boy who is teased for wearing long, braided hair considers cutting it to fit in with others. His grandmother reminds him of the power of embracing his identity and their tribal belief that long hair connects their people to the spirit world, allowing Thunder to confront his bullies in a good way.
Jessie Taken Alive-Rencountre is a Hunkpapa Lakota from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. She has worked as a school counselor serving hundreds of students for 15 years and now works full time as an author and presenter. She was named the Great Plains Emerging Tribal Writer’s Award winner for her first children’s book Pet’a Shows Misun the Light. Utilizing her teachings from her Lakota culture combined with a school counselor lens, she has published five children’s books, with another planned for release in late 2023. Jessie was invited to be a guest speaker for Facebook and Instagram in the fall of 2021. Her passion is to help people remember their importance in life and to utilize their unique talents, to create better communities for future generations to come. Jessie is also a Lakota Jingle Dress Dancer and loves to educate others about Lakota culture using storytelling combined with traditional song and dance. In 2021, Jessie was named a future legacy leader by the Spirit Aligned Leadership Program, an international organization.
To register for the free November 20, 2023, book and author event featuring Jessie Taken Alive-Rencountre to be held from 12-1 p.m. Mountain Time, please visit https://engage.collegefund.org/page/58552/event/1.
About the American Indian College Fund — The American Indian College Fund has been the nation’s largest charity supporting Native higher education for 34 years. The College Fund believes “Education is the answer” and provided $17.4 million in scholarships and other direct student support to American Indian students in 2022-23. Since its founding in 1989 the College Fund has provided more than $319 million in scholarships, programs, community, and tribal college support. The College Fund also supports a variety of academic and support programs at the nation’s 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities, which are located on or near Indian reservations, ensuring students have the tools to graduate and succeed in their careers. The College Fund consistently receives top ratings from independent charity evaluators and is one of the nation’s top 100 charities named to the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. For more information about the American Indian College Fund, please visit www.collegefund.org.
Journalists—The American Indian College Fund does not use the acronym AICF. On second reference, please use the College Fund.