Voices Like Thunder: An Afternoon of Poetry with NACF

Left to right: Trevino Brings Plenty (Minneconjou Lakota), Rena Priest (Lummi Nation), Laura Da’ (Eastern Shawnee/Seneca/Miami), Brenna Two Bears, Ei-Shah Pirtle-Wright (Warm Springs, Siletz, Klamath & Modoc) and Alma Tapio (Mexican Indigenous).

On a rainy Sunday afternoon, The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation and the Portland Art Museum co-presented “Voices Like Thunder: An Afternoon of Poetry with the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation.” The gathering was held to launch the release of The Larger Voice: Celebrating Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Literature Fellows.

The program was moderated by author Trevino Brings Plenty (Minneconjou Lakota) with poetry readings by Washington State Poet Laureate Rena Priest (Lummi Nation), previous Oregon State Poet Laureate (2016-18) Liz Woody [Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Oregon, of Yakama Nation Wasco descent, and is “born for” the Tódích’íinii (Bitter Water clan) of the Navajo Nation], Laura Da’ (Eastern Shawnee/Seneca/Miami), and emerging local Native poets: Ei-Shah Pirtle-Wright (Warm Springs, Siletz, Klamath & Modoc), Alma Tapio (Mexican Indigenous), and Brenna Two Bears.

Left to right: Rena Priest, Laura Matalka, Mick Rose and Lulani Arquette.
Rena Priest
Ei-Shah Pirtle Wright
Brenna Two Bears
Elizabeth Woody
Trevino Brings Plenty
Alma Tapio
Left to right: Brenna Two Bears, Ei-Shah Pirtle Wright, Alma Tapio

A Q&A followed with questions for the poets, and a BIPOC open mic poetry reading for those in attendance. It was an uplifting celebration of Indigenous voices. For 15-year-old Alma Tapio it was her first time doing a public reading of her works. From elder to youth, perspectives from varying generations and Native Nations were represented.

Written documentation provided by Mandy Yeahpau and photography by Robert Franklin.

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