Story is a Chance: Writing as Spiritual Practice
10:00 AM10:00

Story is a Chance: Writing as Spiritual Practice

Gerald Vizenor (Anishinaabe) wrote, “Life is a chance, a story is a chance. That I am here is a chance.” Our lives are miracles tied to the lives of our ancestors and to the lives of our descendants. All of the moments, big and small, that brought us to this point have meaning and significance. In this workshop, we will utilize sitting and walking meditation practices as a way to slow down and take time to listen deeply to our own stories. We will utilize writing practice as a means of exploring the many chances our ancestors took to bring us to this moment, the chances we have taken to bring us to now, and how these chances impact the stories of our own lives and the lives of those who come after us. We will share our work with each other, trusting in the chance to create change in the world and imagine new possibilities for our future.  

All skill levels welcome.

Please bring a sack lunch (hot tea and coffee provided), pen and paper, weather appropriate clothing for walks on the beach, a small blanket and/or pillow for use during meditation practice (optional), a small item to add to the altar (optional).

Cost: $40

To register please call the Sou'wester Lodge front desk at 360-642-2542 or email

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Haunted Healing: Confronting Intergenerational Trauma
7:00 PM19:00

Haunted Healing: Confronting Intergenerational Trauma

  • Seattle Public Library - Central Library (map)
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Haunted Healing: Confronting Intergenerational Trauma through Film and Poetry

Traces of America's dark history still haunt us today. Join us as we confront this haunting through art and conversation. The program will feature a screening of Daryn Wakasa's short horror film, SEPPUKU (2017), which treats the lingering effects of the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans as a form of intergenerational haunting. Poet Melissa Bennett will share writing that explores the painful resonances of the boarding school and mental health systems that separate Native people from their culture, home land, language, faith, family, and community. Wakasa and Bennett will then discuss their work in conversation, exploring overlaps in Japanese American and Indigenous history, and creative possibilities for healing in community. The coming together of these two communities is an important alliance for the historical moment we find ourselves in now. The event will be followed by a short convivial gathering in order to create additional space for conversation and connection.

Daryn Ryo Wakasa was born and raised in East Los Angeles. His storytelling lives in the liminal space—between graphic design, animation and film, between gaman (keep your troubles to yourself) and NWA's "Express Yourself," between the spirit world and physical. Between Japanese and American.

His award winning short films, A LOST GENERATION, GIRI, and SEPPUKU explore the American tapestry as a 4th generation Japanese American haunted by the Japanese American incarceration camps. His films are spiritual "coming of age" stories where characters excavate their family's past in order to illuminate a path forward.

Like the characters in his films, Daryn shapeshifted within the entertainment industry for over 13 years. As a Creative Director at companies like Elastic and Mirada (co-founded by Guillermo del Toro & Mathew Cullen), Daryn led everything from film development projects, to music videos, to interactive projects, to transmedia projects. He has worked with brands like IBM, Disney, HP, and Chevy as well as artists like Katy Perry.

Daryn's multidisciplinary background contributes to his unique cinematic voice. Graphic design arms him with the power of visual metaphors and symbolism. Animation stretches his imagination to blur the lines between the physical, spiritual and psychological. Filmmaking ferments everything into a form that emotionally resonates with people.

Melissa Bennett (Umatilla/Nimiipuu/Sac & Fox/Anishinaabe), M.Div. is a writer, storyteller, educator, and spiritual care provider. She is interested in story as medicine, especially its ability to heal historical trauma among indigenous communities. Twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Melissa's work focuses on social justice, culture, tradition, and spirituality. Melissa was a 2015 recipient of the Evergreen State College Longhouse Native Creative Development Grant and is a member of the Macondo Writers Workshop—an association of socially engaged writers working to advance creativity, foster generosity, and serve community.

Ellany Kayce (Tlingit Nation/Raven-Frog) will open and close the program.

Moderator: Natasha Varner holds a PhD in history from the University of Arizona and works as the Communications and Public Engagement Director for Densho, the Seattle-based Japanese American history non-profit. She previously managed the First Peoples: New Directions in Indigenous Studies publishing program and continues research and collaborations with Indigenous communities in the U.S. and Mexico. She is a contributing writer for Public Radio International and has a book forthcoming from the University of Arizona Press.

This event is presented in partnership with Densho, a grassroots organization dedicated to preserving, educating, and sharing the story of World War II-era incarceration of Japanese Americans in order to deepen understanding of American history and inspire action for equity. Densho is a Japanese term meaning "to pass on to the next generation," or to leave a legacy.

Sponsored by Evergreen Longhouse Education and Cultural Center. The “House of Welcome,” Longhouse Education and Cultural Center opened in 1995 at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. As a public service center of The Evergreen State College, the Longhouse’s mission is to promote Indigenous arts and cultures through education, cultural preservation, creative expression, and economic development.

Sponsored by Seattle Asian American Film Festival. The Seattle Asian American Film Festival (SAAFF) showcases feature-length and short format films by and about Asian Americans across North America, with an emphasis on filmmakers from the Pacific Northwest.

This event is also sponsored by Na'ah Illahee Fund and the United Indians of All Tribes.

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Whitenoise Project Presents De-canon: A Visibility Project
7:00 PM19:00

Whitenoise Project Presents De-canon: A Visibility Project

Announcing our second of two great events for the month of August! Thanks everyone who showed up for our Aug. 6th event on a sweltering Monday at the IPRC.

Join us as we return to the De-Canon pop up library and Residency at Artists' Milepost with several fantastic BIPOC artists and poets that come from near and far!


Trevino Brings Plenty
Melissa Bennett
Natasha Moni
Skyler Reed
Bella Hall
manuel arturo abreu

ADA Accessible and All Ages!
$5-10 suggested donation to help support the artists
No one will be turned away for lack of funds.

The Whitenoise Project is a reading and discussion series aiming to center voices from underrepresented communities (Black, Indigenous, PoC, Queer, Femme, WoC and people with disabilities), and is supported by a Jade-Midway Placemaking Grant from APANO.
facebook: Whitenoise Project

De-Canon: A Visibility Project is a “pop-up library” and web resource project that will showcase literary art by writers/artists of color. Our goal is to put forth an alternative literary “canon” — or multiple canons — that are inclusive, diverse, and multi-storied in their approach to representation.
facebook: De-Canon: A Visibility Project

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La Llorona Meets Windigo: Horror Stories as Lessons of Hope
10:00 AM10:00

La Llorona Meets Windigo: Horror Stories as Lessons of Hope

Melissa Bennett, MDiv and Elena Avilés, PhD discuss indigenous monster stories as messages left by our ancestors to help us navigate difficult social and political times. These stories offer a map for restoring balance and providing healing. 

This year’s Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social (MALCS) Summer Institute will take place July 19 – July 22 at Sonoma State University, located in Sonoma County, an area internationally known for its rolling green hills and exquisite wine. The Sonoma region markets itself as a bucolic paradise, a place where one can temporarily escape the issues that, now more than ever, divide our country. There is, however, a hidden side of Sonoma. The ancestral home to the coastal Miwok, Pomo and Wintun peoples, Sonoma Valley is marked by a history of violence, persecution, and subjugation driven by a desire to control its fertile land. Those who own the land and those whose laboring bodies bear the burden of the industries that drive the local economy have shaped ­its history and social and political institutions. However, the value of the contributions that Chicanas, Indigenous, and Latinxs make to Sonoma systematically has been erased.  The hidden side of Sonoma mirrors the situation of our gente in the rest of the country. Our bodies are exploited and trespassed and our bodily autonomy is subject to legislation. Our images are used strategically in a performance of diversity, but we are ignored when we decry this tokenization. Often, our attempts to challenge and expose our condition simultaneously are discounted and demonized. Yet, despite all the barriers that have been constructed to keep us in place, we have and will continue to resist, subvert, challenge, and transform.

The 2017 MALCS Summer Institute will showcase work and scholarship focused on gender non-conforming, transgender, queer, Chicana, Latina, Afro-Latina, Asian-Latina, Native American and Indigenous individuals and communities challenging and resisting structures of oppression in local, national, and international contexts. We will host panels, roundtables, performances and workshops addressing this year’s theme and the following topics:

  • Intersectional feminismos
  • Indigenous epistemologies
  • Current political climate and action[s]
  • Feminista praxis and epistemologies
  • Land, spaces, and the body
  • Re/Claiming truths
  • Self-care and healing
  • De/Coloniality
  • Voice and resistencia
  • Spiritual activisms


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5:00 PM17:00

Light & Love: Poets for Dignity & Visibility - Portland


Light and Love: Poets for Dignity and Visibility - Portland will feature local poets Melanie Fey, Melissa Bennett, and Alise Marie Sanchez, and welcome LA poet Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo and her debut poetry collection, Posada: Offerings of Witness and Refuge (Sundress Publications, 2016) to literary Portland. 

The night will be filled with truth, light, poetry, and other offerings of love. 

Beer will also be pouring from the Nucleus taps, so be sure to bring some bills if you'd like suds. 

Nucleus Portland / 1445 SE Hawthorne Blvd


Melissa Bennett (Umatilla/Nez Perce/Sac & Fox) is a writer and emerging storyteller. She has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize in poetry and is interested in story as medicine, especially its ability to heal historical trauma among indigenous communities. Melissa is an alumni of the Native American Youth and Family Center LEAD Cohort, is currently a member of the Northwest Indian Storytellers Association and WordCraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers. She is a 2015 recipient of the Evergreen State College Longhouse Native Creative Development Grant and a member of Macondo Writers Workshop - a group of socially engaged writers of color.

Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo is a 2016–2017 Steinbeck Fellow and a former Poets & Writers California Writers Exchange winner and Barbara Deming Memorial Fund grantee. She has received residencies from Hedgebrook and Ragdale Foundation, and is a member of the Macondo Writers’ Workshop. She has work published in Acentos Review, CALYX, crazyhorse, and The James Franco Review, among others. A short dramatization of her poem “Our Lady of the Water Gallons,” directed by Jesús Salvador Treviño, can be viewed at Cofounder of Women Who Submit and curator of the reading series HITCHED, her debut poetry collection, Posada: Offerings of Witness and Refuge, was published by Sundress Publications

Melanie Fey is a Diné (Navajo) writer, zinester and Indigenous feminist. She hails from Flagstaff/Dinétah, AZ but currently resides in Portland, OR. She acquired a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing from Arizona State University and spends her days working as a public library book minion. Melanie is one of two co-creators/editors of the Native American feminist zines Empower Yoself Before You Wreck Yoself, The Nizhoni Beat and Shik’is ShiHeart. Look for her other published works in Red Rising Magazine and As/Us: A Space for Women of the World.

Alise Marie Sanchez (Anishinaabe) is a matriarch-in-training, raised in the high desert of Montana, and transplanted to Portland, OR to flourish. She is a fierce femme, proud urban Indian, mother, social worker, and finally starting to self-identify as a poet. She has been published in Plumplandia, PQ Monthly, and most recently in Survivance: Indigenous Poesis vol. 2.

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6:00 PM18:00

Water in the Blood: Tanaya, Trevino, Melissa, & Demian

11/4 Lit Crawl® PDX event 6pm - 8pm
Ace Hotel Portland
Water In The Blood: Native American, Indigenous, First Nations Inter-tribal Writers Gathering

Tanaya Winder
Trevino Brings-Plenty
Melissa Bennett
Demian DinéYazhi
Melanie Fey

Author Bios TK

Hosted by Skyler Reed, editor of Moved By Words (

Native Writers Gathering at 6pm, Stumptown Coffee Roasters at Ace Hotel Portland

Lit Crawl Reading at 7pm, Ace Hotel Lobby

Event is free and open to everyone. Please invite all of our relatives from turtle island!

Event Note: Official Lit Crawl reading is 7pm - 8pm. Please feel free to join me an hour earlier at Stumptown Coffee next to Ace Hotel to meet other Native American / Indigenous / First Nations / Tribal authors who are in Portland for Wordstock before the reading begins. -Skyler Reed

A Part of Lit Crawl Portland
#LitCrawlPDX#WordstockPDX #LiteraryArts

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11:00 AM11:00

Oregon Unitarian Universalist Voices for Justice: Keynote

  • Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Salem (map)
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Every year Oregon Unitarian Universalist Voices for Justice (Voices) has an Annual Meeting where we set the social justice issues for the next year.  We hope you will be there. Mark your calendars! 

What do you care about? 
Engage for the coming year!

2016 Annual Meeting
Rescheduled for Oct. 29, 2016

10 AM - 4:30 PM
(Doors open at 9:30 AM for registration)

UU Congregation of Salem
5090 Center St. NE, Salem, Oregon

Keynote: Native Nations Rising with Melissa Bennett, M.Div. 

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10:00 AM10:00

Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social (MALCS, Women Active in Letters and Social Change): Indigenous Poetics w/Dr. Elena Avilés and Melissa Bennett, MDiv

University of Wyoming / Laramie, WY

Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social (MALCS, Women Active in Letters and Social Change) is an organization of Chicanas/ Latinas and Native American women working in academia and in community settings with a common goal:  to work toward the support, education and dissemination of Chicana/ Latina and Native American women’s issues.

Chicanas/Latinas and Native American women from a variety of institutions gather at the yearly Summer Institute to network, share information, offer support and re-energize. The MALCS Summer Institute is one of the few places Chicanas/Latinas and Native American women can come together without the influence of male and/or Euro-American consciousness or opinion. While some charge that this is separatist, the MALCS reply is not one of apology. This is our space. The dynamics of this Chicana/Latina and Native American woman space is worth guarding, even in the face of criticism from those we respect and work with in our home institutions.

With lectures, workshops, seminars, and various social activities, the Institute is designed to challenge us intellectually by sharing work and ideas; it creates an informal space for socializing and networking, and offers a safe space to present early work for discussion and development. The institute is a unique and creative space from which we emerge energized and ready to engage the world again.

MALCS is open to all Chicana, Latina, Afro-Latina, Asian-Latina and Indigenous women and gender non-conforming people working toward the support, education and dissemination of Chicana/Latina & Native American women’s issues. This includes faculty, staff, graduate students, undergraduates, and community members. If you are interested in joining us, please see our membership page or drop us a line. Please note that you must be a member in order to attend the Summer Institute; you can register for both at the same time, if necessary, though the fees are collected separately.

This workshop will explore Indigenous Survivance through the art of poetry. 


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7:00 PM19:00

Reading with Tim Hernandez & Macondistas

Join us for a free public reading with Tim Hernandez & Macondistas at the Historic Guadalupe Theater, San Antonio, Texas on Friday, July 15, 2016 at 7:00 pm. Please RSVP at

More on Macondo:

The five-day Macondo workshop will include a welcome dinner and fundraiser on July 13th at the Historic Guadalupe Theater, daily seminars from 10:00am – 4pm, and free evening public readings with visiting faculty and Macondo fellows.

In its twenty-one years, originally held as a small writers’ group in the home of famed author & MacArthur fellow, Sandra Cisneros, the Macondo Writers’ Workshop has grown to serve hundreds of writers, or “Macondistas,” from all over the world. The workshop has been hosted at Our Lady of the Lake University, Trinity University, the Esperanza Peach & Justice Center, and has now found its home at the historic Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center.

In 2013, the Macondo Writers’ Workshop, named after the sleepy town in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’sOne Hundred Years of Solitude, was gifted to the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center to ensure its continuation and service to writers. Twenty years after it began, 2016 Poet Laureate of Texas and native San Antonian, Laurie Ann Guerrero, was chosen to lead Macondo into its next phase.

Through a rigorous application process aimed at professional writers of all genres, the mission of the workshop is to support and unite writers who view their work and talents as part of a larger task of community-building and non-violent social change. While Latino/a writers have traditionally made up the majority of the Macondistas, its goal is to cultivate community among writers who identify with any group that has been historically marginalized—people of color, women, LGBTQ, etc. And so, the workshop is open to any writer whose work, both on and off the page, parallels its mission. With Guerrero at the helm, this year’s number of applicants rose over 1000% from last year; the new 2016 Macondistas range from champion spoken-word artists to NEA award winners to organizers of other national writing festivals and conferences and are coming to us from all over the country and Central America.

More on Tim Hernandez: Tim Z. Hernandez is an award winning writer, research scholar, and performance artist, whose works have been featured in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, CNN, Public Radio International, and National Public Radio.

In 2006, his debut collection of poetry, Skin Tax (Heyday Books) received the American Book Award, and the James Duval Phelan Award from the San Francisco Foundation. His first novel, Breathing, In Dust (Texas Tech University Press) was awarded the 2010 Premio Aztlan Prize in fiction from the National Hispanic Cultural Center, and in 2011, the Poetry Society of America named him one of sixteen New American Poets. In 2013, he released his third collection of poetry, Natural Takeover of Small Things (University of Arizona Press), which went on to recieve the 2014 Colorado Book Award in Poetry. Also in 2013, he released an historical fiction novel, Mañana Means Heaven (University of Arizona Press), which is based on the life of Bea Franco, the real woman behind author Jack Kerouac’s “Mexican Girl” in his book On the Road. Based on Hernandez’s relentless search to locate the mysterious Bea Franco, the book is grounded in one-on-one interviews the author conducted with her before she died at the age of 92. Mañana Means Heaven garnered rave reviews from international critics, and went on to receive the 2014 International Latino Book Award. In 2014 he was also a finalist for the inaugural Split This Rock Freedom Plow Award for his work on locating the victims of the 1948 plane wreck at Los Gatos—the incident made famous by Woody Guthrie’s song of the same name. The result of this six year long investigative work is the basis for his highly anticipated forthcoming book, All They Will Call You (University of Arizona Press), and the accompanying documentary, Searching for the Plane Wreck at Los Gatos Canyon. 

As a performer, Hernandez has collaborated with experimental theater troupes, Grammy Award winning composers, hip-hop, reggage, and Latin Rock artists, from universities and cultural institutions to black box theaters in New York City, from the Getty Center in Los Angeles to the migrant labor camps of central California. In 2001, he was commissioned by the United Way of Greater Los Angeles to write and perform an original play on homelessness, and since 2007, he has worked with Poets & Writers Inc. and the California Center for the Book offering writing workshops to rural communities across the west coast.

Hernandez holds a B.A. in Writing & Literature from Naropa University, and an M.F.A. from Bennington College in Vermont. He is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas El Paso’s Bilingual M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing.

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7:00 PM19:00

Interfaith Muse Inaugural Event: Artists in Conversation

Interfaith Muse: Artists in Conversation is a conversation and performance series. We connect Portlanders of all faith backgrounds with writers and artists whose work engages spiritual questions. Events are curated and hosted by Elizabeth Harlan-Ferlo. 

Participating Artists

Alicia Jo Rabins’s collection, “Divinity School,” won the American Poetry Review/Honickman First Book Prize in 2015. A wide- ranging exploration of spirituality, sex, travel, food, holy texts, and coming of age, “Divinity School” is a fearless investigation of how we learn to live in a human body. Alicia teaches ancient Jewish texts to children and adults and performs internationally as a violinist and singer.

Melissa Bennett, M.Div. (Umatilla/Nimiipuu/Sac & Fox) is a writer & emerging storyteller, as well as a former interfaith mental health chaplain. She is interested in story as medicine, especially its ability to heal historical trauma among indigenous communities. Twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Melissa writes poetry and creative non-fiction with a focus on social justice, culture, tradition, and spirituality. Melissa is currently a member of the Northwest Indian Storytellers Assocation and WordCraft Circle of Native Writers & Storytellers. She is a 2015 recipient of The Evergreen State College Longhouse Native Creative Development Grant and serves on the Board for PlayWrite, Inc., as well as the Oregon Department of Corrections Religious Services Advisory Council.

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6:30 PM18:30

RESURGENCY Poetry Intervention



Part of programming for Dene bāhī Naabaahii Exhibition in the Center for Contemporary Native Art at Portland Art Museum - March 18th - August 28th, 2016i.

Demian DinéYazhi' (b. 1983) is a Portland-based transdisciplinary artist born to the clans Naasht'ézhí Tábąąhá (Zuni Clan Water's Edge) & Tódích'íí'nii (Bitter Water) of the Diné (Navajo). His work is best understood through the lens of curatorial inquiry, zine production, street interventions, education, workshops, & transdisciplinary methods of art production. DinéYazhi’ received his BFA in Intermedia Arts from Pacific Northwest College of Art in 2014. He is the founder & director of the artist / activist / warrior initiative, R.I.S.E.: Radical Indigenous Survivance & Empowerment, as well as the creative director of LOCUSTS: A Post-Queer Nation Zine. He is the recipient of grants from Evergreen State College (2014), PICA - Portland Institute of Contemporary Art (2014), & Art Matters Foundation (2015). 
Website: & Instagram: heterogeneoushomosexual

Melissa Bennett (Umatilla/Nimiipuu/Sac & Fox) is a writer & emerging storyteller interested in story as medicine, especially its ability to heal historical trauma among indigenous communities. Twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Melissa writes poetry and creative non-fiction with a focus on social justice, culture, tradition, and spirituality. Melissa is currently a member of the Northwest Indian Storytellers Association and WordCraft Circle of Native Writers & Storytellers. She is a 2015 recipient of the Evergreen State College Longhouse Native Creative Development Grant and serves on the Board of Directors for PlayWrite, Inc.

manuel arturo abreu (b. 1991, Santo Domingo) is a poet and artist from the Bronx. Working in found text, lyric, ephemeral sculpture, and photography, they explore precarity, magical thinking, and the pretensions of the white Left. Their first book, List of Consonants, is available from Bottlecap Press. It merges from-scratch text with found text in mourning for a friend who died by suicide in 2013. manuel's next chapbook, transtrender, is forthcoming Summer 2016 from Quimérica Presse. It deals with gender as a racial colonial construct, the trap of visibility, and the constraints of the lyric form. They are also working on a second full-length book, areítx, which refutes colonial narratives about the Taino, the original Dominicans. They are the managing editor of Civil Coping Mechanisms and co-founder of home school, a free pop-up art school in Portland. Find manuel at twigtech.tumblr and @Deezius

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9:00 AM09:00

Wordstock: Portland's Book Festival

In addition to on stage events, the 2015 Wordstock features exciting pop-up readings and musical performances throughout the Portland Art Museum galleries.

The 2015 Wordstock pop-ups highlight the intersections between the visual art at PAM and the literature and music presented at the festival. Experimental poetry will be performed in front of abstract sculpture, folk music will be heard in the gallery of landscape photography, and historical fiction will be read next to portraits from the same time and place.

12:30 p.m.

Colette Alexander, Modern Wing (1st Floor) music

Melissa Bennett, Native American Art (Main Building, 3rd Floor) poetry

Nick Jaina, Sculpture Court Overlook (Main Building, 2nd Floor) music

Cari Luna, American Art (Main Building, 2nd Floor) fiction

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