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NEA Big Read Partners

Over 40 authors, speakers, and community organizations

The NEA Big Read: Phoenix is presented by the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University with additional support from Arizona Humanitites, Phoenix Public Library, and The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Humanities Division at ASU. 

NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

Our keynote speaker is poet Layli Long Soldier (Oglala Lakota), whose debut collection WHEREAS (Graywolf Press, 2017) was a finalist for the National Book Award. Our kick off features Navajo Nation Poets Laureate Luci Tapahonso and Laura Tohe with Dr. Amanda R. Tachine and poet Jake Skeets. 

Other authors, speakers, and partners include AGUILA Youth Leadership, Alex Soto, Amber McCrary, April Ignacio, the American Indian Policy Institute at ASU, ASU Library, the ASU Library Community Driven Archives Initiative, the ASU Library Labriola National American Indian Data Center, the ASU School of Art, Bojan Louis, Dr. David Martinez, Debbie Nez Manuel, the Emerging Diné Writers Institute, Emma Greguska, Dr. Felicia Mitchell, Gionni Ponce, Hayden’s Ferry Review, the Heard Museum, Hoot n Waddle, Indivisible Tohono, Representative Jennifer Jermaine, Jenny Irish, Joe Buenker, Dr. Kathleen A. Fox, Ken Duncan, Kyle Mitchell, Manny Loley, Mary Hood, OXDX, Palabras Bilingual Bookstore, Patti Hibbeler, Patty Talahongva, the Phoenix Indian Center, the Phoenix Indian School Visitors Center, the Research on Violent Victimization Lab at ASU, Rosalie Talahongva, Samuel Redbird, Sareya Taylor, the Storytelling Institute at South Mountain Community College, Dr. Traci Morris, Valaura Imus-Nahsonhoya, Violet Duncan, and XICO. 


To meet our partners, keep reading. You can also find events, learn more about the book, or enter the book giveaway.

Meet Our Partners

Abalone Mountain Press

Abalone Mountain Press is a Diné woman owned press located on occupied Akimel O'odham land. Our mission is to create a space for Indigenous voices to be heard without having to accommodate the white gaze. We strive to create books for Native people by Native people. We hope to create a press that supports Native artistry in all forms. We hope to bring quality work to Indigenous literature and create a world for Indigenous voices to thrive as genuinely and true to form.

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Photograph of Agnes Woodward

Agnes Woodward

Agnes Woodward is Nehiyaw Iskwew (Plains Cree) from Kawacatoose First Nation, Saskatchewan, Canada. Agnes is a wife, mother, owner/designer of ReeCreeations and a full time Advocate with the Three Affiliated Tribes Victim Services Program. 

She is also a family member of a MMIWG2S as her aunt Eleanor "Laney" Ewenin was murdered in 1982, and her family has been active in the movement since the nineties. 

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AGUILA Youth Leadership Institute

AGUILA Youth Leadership Institute is a unique college access organization carefully designed to serve a growing number of youth navigate through their academic, personal and professional world.

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Alex Soto

Alex Soto (Tohono O’odham) is the curator/librarian for the Labriola National American Indian Data Center at Arizona State University (ASU) Library. In addition to providing culturally informed library support, he facilitates ASU’s community-driven archives initiative in tribal communities. He believes Indigenous librarianship helps support cultural sovereignty and fosters Indigenous modernity.

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Amanda R. Tachine

Dr. Amanda R. Tachine is Navajo from Ganado, Arizona. She is Náneesht’ézhí Táchii’nii (Zuni Red Running into Water clan) born for Tl’izilani (Many Goats clan). She is an Assistant Professor in Educational Leadership & Innovation at Arizona State University whose research is focused on Indigenous Knowledge Systems & the interplay of sociopolitical conditions impacting the lives of Native peoples .

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Amber McCrary

Amber McCrary is a Diné poet, zinester, feminist and artist. She is Red House born for Mexican people. Originally from Shonto, Arizona and raised in Flagstaff, Arizona. In the small town of Flagstaff is where she discovered her love for Punk Rock and the Do it Yourself Culture. She earned her BA from Arizona State University in Political Science with a minor in American Indian Studies. She received her MFA in creative writing with an emphasis in poetry at Mills College.

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April Ignacio

April is Tohono O'odham and a mother to six (6). She's a history and religion buff, studied at the University of Arizona but is especially proud of her Associates Degree from the Tohono O'odham Community College.

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ASU American Indian Policy Institute

AIPI is a think-tank with a primary focus on public policy analysis and research. They have expertise in telecommunications, communications, broadband, digital inclusion, technology for language retention, and technology as the backbone for community and economic development, and communication ethics.

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ASU Library

ASU Library is home to eight library facilities across four ASU campuses, providing students and faculty access to millions of information resources, world-class collections, outstanding study spaces and research centers, and a suite of maker services.

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ASU Library Community Driven Archives

Established in 2017 with the support of Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, ASU Library's Community-Driven Archives Initiative is dedicated to helping under-served and under-represented communities in Arizona learn how to preserve their history for future generations.

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ASU Library Labriola Center

The Labriola National American Indian Data Center's primary purpose is to support scholarship and instruction on Indigenous knowledge across all disciplines at ASU. Since its inception in 1993, the Labriola Center has become a pivotal service for the ASU Indigenous community.

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ASU School of Art

The School of Art in the ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts is the leading institution for the instruction of art in metropolitan Phoenix and central Arizona.

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Photograph of Bojan Louis

Bojan Louis

Bojan Louis (Diné) is the author of the poetry collection Currents (BkMk Press 2017), which received a 2018 American Book Award, and the nonfiction chapbook Troubleshooting Silence in Arizona (The Guillotine Series 2012).

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David Martinez

David Martinez (Akimel O'odham/Hia Ced O'odham/Mexican) is an associate professor of American Indian Studies and the author of Dakota Philosopher: Charles Eastman and American Indian Thought (Minnesota Historical Society Press 2009), editor of The American Indian Intellectual Tradition: An Anthology of Writings from 1772 to 1972 (Cornell University Press 2011), and author of Life of the Indigenous Mind: Vine Deloria

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Debbie Nez Manuel

Debbie Nez-Manuel is a longtime community leader and activist. Ms. Nez-Manuel is a profoundly impactful advocate for people of color in urban, rural, and remote communities around Arizona. She has extensive experience and expertise in mobilizing citizens into deep and meaningful community engagement. Ms. Nez-Manuel grew up on the Navajo Nation in northern Arizona and has lived in the Phoenix metro area for three decades.

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Elizabeth Quiroga

Elizabeth Quiroga (Tohono O’odham) is an undergraduate at Arizona State University majoring in Social Justice and Human Rights with a minor in American Indian Studies.

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Emerging Diné Writers Institute

In 2017, the Navajo Women’s Commission entered into a partnership with Navajo Technical University (NTU) to develop a creative writing summer program. The Commission set literacy as one of its organizational goals and chose to partner with NTU in recognition of their numerous creative writing programs including the Navajo Nation Poet Laureate program

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Emma Greguska

Emma Greguska is a reporter for ASU Now, Arizona State University's in-house news bureau. She covers humanities, social sciences, health, nursing and other areas as assigned.

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Felicia Mitchell

Felicia Mitchell (descent of the Chickasaw Nation and the Chickasaw Freedman of Oklahoma) is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at ASU. Her scholarship centers on health and environmental equity, with a focus on chronic health conditions such as diabetes and the impacts of environmental change on the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples globally.

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Gionni Ponce

Gionni Ponce is a Macondista prose writer living in Tempe, Arizona. She is a former 2020 Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers' Conference Fellow. In 2019, she received a full-tuition scholarship to the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and was named a Writer in South Asia Fellow by Indiana University in 2018.

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Hayden's Ferry Review

Founded in 1986, Hayden's Ferry Review is a semi-annual, international literary journal edited by the MFA students at Arizona State University.

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Heard Museum

Dedicated to the advancement of American Indian art, the Heard Museum presents the stories of American Indian people from a first-person perspective, as well as exhibitions that showcase the beauty and vitality of traditional and contemporary art.

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Hoot n Waddle

Hoot n Waddle is an independent publisher and digital media company based in Phoenix, AZ.

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Indivisible Tohono

Grassroots group concerned with current federal and Arizona legislation primarily impacting the Tohono O’odham Nation.

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Jacyln Roessel

A citizen of the Navajo Nation, Jaclyn Roessel is proud Diné asdzaan (Navajo womxn), a poet, certified personal coach, and a cultural equity & justice consultant. Roessel believes in the power of Indigenous ways of knowing and teachings to support the building of healthy, strong, and just communities. She lives in the Pueblo of Tamaya with her husband and their children. 

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Jake Skeets

Jake Skeets is the author of Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers, winner of the National Poetry Series. He is the recipient of a 92Y Discovery Poetry Prize, a Mellon Projecting All Voices Fellowship, an American Book Award, and a Whiting Award. He is from the Navajo Nation and teaches at Diné College.

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Jennifer Jermaine

Jennifer Jermaine represents Legislative District 18 at the Arizona State Legislature. She currently serves on the Government Committee, Elections Reform Committee, and the Military and Veterans Affairs Committee. She is also the Chair of the investigative committee for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

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Jenny Irish

Jenny Irish is from Maine, but lives and teaches in Arizona. She is the author of the collections Common Ancestor and I Am Faithful.

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Jessica Salow

Jessica Salow is currently a Specialist at Arizona State University Library with the Community-Driven Archives Initiative (CDA) which was established in 2017 through the generous support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Her current work with the CDA team focuses on building relationships with historically marginalized communities (Latinx, Black, Asian & Pacific Islander, Indigenous and the LGBTQ+) in Arizona.

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Joe Buenker

Joe Buenker graduated with a B.A. in English literature from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in 1994 and a M.S. in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1996. Joe has been reading, researching, and collecting Louise Erdrich books and memorabilia - as well as compiling a bibliography of writings by or about Erdrich since the early 1990s.

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Kathleen A. Fox

Kathleen A. Fox is an associate professor in the School of Criminology & Criminal Justice at Arizona State University. She earned her Ph.D. in Criminology, Law & Society from the University of Florida. Her research focuses primarily on crime victimization, particularly among underserved populations, including American Indian women and girls, migrant women and girls, and incarcerated offenders.

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Ken Duncan

Enrolled member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, an accomplished cultural teacher, singer, flute player, artist, and storyteller. He is a graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, NM. Mr. Duncan is the founder/director of a family business, YELLOW BIRD PRODUCTIONS. Recently Ken was accepted into the 2020-21 ASU Teaching Artist Program. Among his many accomplishments, Ken has lectured on American Indian cultures across the Unites States and throughout the world including the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland; the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in New York AND in Washington DC.

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Kyle Mitchell

Kyle Mitchell is Diné (Navajo), Storyteller, Educator, and Veteran. He grew up on the reservation with his grandparents, where he learned the family’s work ethic along with oral tradition every day. After graduating high school, he enlisted into the Army where he served two tours – one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.

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Laura Tohe

Laura Tohe is Diné and the current Navajo Nation Poet Laureate. She published 3 books of poetry, an anthology of Native womens’ writing and an oral history on the Navajo Code Talkers. Her librettos, Enemy Slayer, A Navajo Oratorio (2008) and Nahasdzáán in the Glittering World (2019), premiered in Arizona and France.

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Layli Long Soldier

Layli Long Soldier holds a B.F.A. from the Institute of American Indian Arts and an M.F.A. from Bard College. Her poems have appeared in POETRY Magazine, The New York Times, The American Poet, The American Reader, The Kenyon Review Online, BOMB and elsewhere. She is the recipient of an NACF National Artist Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a Whiting Award, and was a finalist for the 2017 National Book Award.

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Lourdes Pereira

Lourdes Pereira (Hia-Ced O’odham and Yoeme) is a sophomore at Arizona State University (ASU) and a student archivist at the Labriola National American Indian Datacenter. She is majoring in Justice Studies and American Indian Studies. Lourdes sits on the American Indian Advisory Council for the Arizona Education Department and is Miss Indigenous ASU for 2020-2021.

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Luci Tapahonso

Luci Tapahonso is Professor Emerita of English Literature (University of New Mexico 2016) and served as the inaugural Poet Laureate of the Navajo Nation. She is a recipient of a 2018 Native Arts and Culture Foundation Artist Fellowship. 

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Manny Loley

Manny Loley is ‘Áshįįhi born for Tó Baazhní’ázhí; his maternal grandparents are the Tódích’íi’nii and his paternal grandparents are the Kinyaa’áanii. Loley is from Casamero Lake, New Mexico. He holds an M.F.A. in fiction from the Institute of American Indian Arts and he is a current Ph.D.

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Martha Ludlow Martinez

Martha Ludlow Martinez is an avid student of her traditional teachings and devoted to preserving cultural heritage. She was a featured teller and workshop presenter for the Mesa Arts Center's Water = Life event in 2019, and at South Mountain Community College's first Stew and Stories event in 2015.

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Mary Hood

Mary Hood, originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is currently an associate professor of art/printmaking at Arizona State University.

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Mia Johnson

Jeremia “Mia” Johnson (she/her) is a member of the Navajo Nation. She is an undergraduate student studying Applied Computing at Arizona State University, as well as a Student Archivist of the Labriola National American Indian Data Center. She has been with the Labriola Center since February 2020.

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Myra Khan

Myra Khan (she/her) is a current undergraduate junior at ASU majoring in Sustainability and minoring in Political Science and Transborder Studies as well as the Lead Student Archivist of the ASU Library Community-Driven Archives (CDA). She has been on the CDA team since February 2019 and works on expanding access to educational archival materials for marginalized communities.

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OXDX is a Diné owned fashion label operating out of downtown Tempe, Arizona. Their creative team offers unique content and designs to properly represent Native people. Their artwork brings to light indigenous issues and challenges the institutions censoring their existence.

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Palabras Bilingual Bookstore

Palabras is Arizona's only bilingual bookstore with a carefully curated selection of titles in Spanish and English that hosts a variety of community events and workshops focused on cultural representation and diversity.

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Patti Hibbeler

Patricia K. Hibbeler, ABD, MA is the Chief Executive Officer of the Phoenix Indian Center, Inc., an organization with a 69-year history and the first urban based Indian Center in the Nation.

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Patty Talahongva

Patty Talahongva is the former curator of the Phoenix Indian School Visitor Center. Ironically, when she interviewed for the position in 2012, the hiring committee had no idea she actually attended the Phoenix Indian School. Obviously she got the job. Also ironically, she landed her first job as a journalist while attending P.I. and that started her career.

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Phoenix Indian Center

For seventy years, the Phoenix Indian Center has enriched the lives of American Indian people through the long-standing services we provide and through our several relationships. We are the first urban Indian Center in the Nation of its kind.

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Phoenix Public Library

Phoenix Public Library (PPL) a system of libraries comprised of central Phoenix's flagship, Burton Barr Central Library (BBCL) and 16 branch locations, provides greater Phoenix communities and individuals an essential support system with one of the greatest empowerment gifts of all: free access to trustworthy information.

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Research on Violent Vicitmization Lab

The goal of the Research on Violent Victimization (ROVV) lab is to conduct research to promote safer and healthier communities. ROVV specializes in research on reducing victimization among underserved populations in partnership with American Indian and migrant communities.

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Rosalie Talahongva

Rosalie Talahongva is a member of the Hopi Tribe and the Curator at the Phoenix Indian School Visitor Center (PISVC) gallery. As a former student of the Phoenix Indian High School she shares her boarding school experience with visitors to the PISVC. In addition to the gallery the PISVC has rental space and a commercial kitchen which she also oversees. She enjoys outdoor activities and likes to hike in the Grand Canyon.

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Photograph of Samuel Redbird

Samuel Redbird

Samuel Redbird is a Hopi, Maricopa, Tohono O’odham, Hia’ced O’odham, Klamath 17 year old youth. Samuel’s pronouns are he/him. He is currently a junior in high school and will be graduating next year. Samuel writes poetry, plays drums and guitar and is a member of the Future Inspired Native American Leaders youth council. 

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Sareya Taylor

Sareya Taylor

Sareya Taylor is a 19 year old White Mountain Apache and Navajo student. Sareya’s pronouns are they/them/she/her. Sareya is a poet who focuses on the Indigenous peoples of America and the trauma they may have experienced in their lives. Sareya also brings attention to and counters the stereotypes and misrepresentations of Natives that our society’s media and culture supports.

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Traci Morris

Traci L Morris is is the director of the American Indian Policy Institute (AIPI) at Arizona State University and a member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma.

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Tucson Festival of Books

The Tucson Festival of Books is a community-wide celebration of literature. Offered free-of-charge, the festival exists to improve literacy rates among children and adults. Proceeds that remain after festival expenses have been paid are contributed to local literacy programs.

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Valaura Imus-Nahsonhoya

Valaura Imus-Nahsonhoya (Hopi Tribe) has eighteen (18) years of direct victim services to crime victims, working in Tribal communities addressing historical trauma and trauma informed practices. Executive Director with Honwungsi Consulting Services, LLC and Chief Executive Officer of Omauw Resource Center, 501(c)3.

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Violet Duncan

Violet Duncan is Plains Cree and Taino from Kehewin Cree Nation. She has toured nationally and internationally as a dancer and storyteller. Violet is a former "Miss Indian World", representing all Indigenous people of North America. Violet is currently the Indigenous curator at the Tempe Center for the Arts where she aims to create space for a permanent program of Indigenous performance and practice.

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Xico Inc

In 1975, Xicanindio was founded as the premier cultural institution in Arizona, serving Latino and Indigenous artists. Forty-five years later, although our name has changed, our mission remains the same, to nourish a greater appreciation of the cultural and spiritual heritage of the Latinx and Indigenous people of the Americas through the arts. 

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