Tomantha Sylvester

Citizen of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians

GRANTEE: Tomantha Sylvester
NATIVE HERITAGE: Citizen of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians
LOCATION: Ashfield, Massachusetts
AWARD: 2023 LIFT– Early Career Support for Native Artists 

Tomantha is an Anishinaabe, multidisciplinary storyteller (actor, musician, songwriter, playwright, beader) residing in Massachusetts. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Lake Superior State University. She is a Miranda Family Fellow through the National Theater Institute, and an Art and Survival Fellow through Double Edge Theatre and Betty’s Daughter Arts Collective. Sylvester is an ensemble member through Double Edge Theater and an Emerging Native Artist through the Ohketeau Cultural Center where she also works in community advocacy.

She believes that storytelling (in the many forms that comes in) is a practical and necessary component to healing, joy, and knowledge. “I was fortunate to receive the following lesson from my elders growing up- We are constantly surrounded by language and images.
They have the power to shift and change our realities. The type of language we’re using, the stories we are being told, and who tells them are critical when shaping a world of truth and connection. This is not a simple philosophy but a scientific reality we have known since time immemorial.

They (ancestors) knew the importance of language and stories, and knew that they had the power to shift and change our realities.”

– Tomantha Sylvester (Citizen of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians)


Tomantha’s LIFT project will be a performance piece currently titled “Ishkode”.

The work will weave the story of the Seven Prophecies given to the Anishinaabe with Ojibwe cosmology/ scientific query, language revitalization, humor and the body, while holding the question of environmental reparations/ advocacy set in the contemporary period. Included as part of the creative process, Tomantha will be learning Anishinaabemowin and training her body/craft with and without fire. Language, fire and physicality are rooted in the storytelling process.

The piece will likely be presented outdoors at Double Edge Theatre in Ashfield MA and in her hometown of Sault Ste. Marie, MI.

Tomantha Sylvester’s original theatrical piece, Something Else, the story of a young Indigenous woman on death row. Recorded on video as performed at the Magdalena Festival in 2022 at Double Edge Theatre.

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