Two New Workshops: Translation and The Creative Process

Hello Indigenous Writers & Revitalizers,

Wishing you a beautiful weekend, and sending you the full and complete schedule for Words of the People right here. I hope you find a moment to dream about and with your language this weekend, and perhaps imagine yourself in our upcoming gathering.

In that full schedule, you’ll find two new additions to the workshop offerings…

Bät Riting, “Good” Translations, and the Myth of Accuracy

by Shook | Oct. 26 & 28, 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.


Working with our Languages/Finding Poetry: The Creative Process of the Heart

by Inés Hernández-Avila | Oct. 26 & 27, 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

More info about both workshops, as well as some recent press follows below:

ABOUT Bät Riting, “Good” Translations, and the Myth of Accuracy

by Shook | Oct. 26 & 28, 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

The workshop begins with a lecture contextualizing the craft and business of literary translation. Students will be introduced to both the basic theoretical framework and practical strategies of literary translation, using a Guarañola hybrid of Spanish and Guaranípoem by the Paraguayan Jorge Canese as our example text. For the second session, participants will try their hand at translating five haiku by Sierra Zapotec writer Pergentino José, using provided cribs (intermediate translations). The workshop will include ample time for discussion of the contemporary publishing landscape for literature in translation, as well as the translator’s role as advocate. 

Shook is a poet and translator based at Newt Beach, California, on the traditional, ancestral, unceded territory of the Coast Miwok.They have translated over a dozen books, including Víctor Terán’s The Spines of Love (Gato Negro Ediciones, 2022), from the Isthmus Zapotec, and Mikeas Sánchez’ How to Be a Good Savage (Milkweed Editions, 2023), co-translated from the Zoque and Spanish with Wendy Call. With Terán they edited Like a New Sun (Phoneme Media/Deep Vellum Publishing, 2015), an anthology featuring six contemporary Indigenous writers of Mexico. In 2013, Shook founded Phoneme Media (today an imprint of Deep Vellum Publishing), a nonprofit publishing house that has since published translations from over 35 languages, including the first ever from Castrapo, Lingala, and Uyghur. A fellow of the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities at the University of Southern California and a Visiting Teaching Fellow at the Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University, Shook also teaches the literary translation workshop for Antioch University’s MFA in Creative Writing. 

ABOUT Working with our Languages/Finding Poetry: The Creative Process of the Heart by Inés Hernández-Avila | Oct. 26 & 27, 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

This workshop offers ways to do language work for those who are not fluent in their languages, but who are in the process of learning, and who wish to incorporate language learning into a creative writing process. Materials for the workshop, ideally, should include each person’s language dictionary, and/or, if you have them, your own notes on your language, plus your writing materials. The workshop is focused on how to unite language work with creative writing, addressing some of the following themes and questions: the relationship with our language dictionaries (exploration, intimacy, trust); how to feel our way through our dictionaries; how to allow our hearts to guide us when working with our dictionaries; what does your heart/mind/bodyspirit want and need from your language?; what understandings do you most want from your language?; is there a term in your language for “the true human being”?

Ines Hernandez-Avila is Niimiipuu/Nez Perce, of Chief Joseph’s band, enrolled on the Colville Reservation, Washington, on her mother’s side, and Tejana (and Mexican Indigenous) on her father’s side. A scholar, poet, and visual artist, her research and teaching focus on contemporary Indigenous literature of the Americas, and Indigenous religious traditions. She is a Ford Foundation Fellow at the doctoral and postdoctoral levels, and a member of the Society of Senior Ford Fellows. She is one of the six founders of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA). She received the Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award for her work mentoring graduate students (2009), and she also received the Outstanding Mentor Award from the Consortium for Research on Women. She is active in the following professional associations: NAISA, LASA (Latin American Studies Association), MLA (Modern Language Association), and the AAR (American Academy of Religion), particularly with the Native Traditions in the Americas Group. From 2013-2016, she was Co-Director of the three-year UCD Social Justice Initiative funded by the Mellon Foundation: During Fall 2015, she was a member of a Residential Research Group (RRG) on “The History of Mortality” at the UC Humanities Research Institute, UC Irvine. In April 2017, she received the Frank Bonilla Public Intellectual Award from the Latino Studies section of the Latin American Studies Association annual meeting in Lima, Peru. The Frank Bonilla award cited Professor Hernández-Ávila’s “tireless mentoring of junior scholars” and her work as a “feminist pioneer.” In August 2017, she received a Community Award from the Organización de Organizaciones, Chiapas, Mexico, for her work as an ally to the cultural and linguistic revitalization movements of Mayan and Zoque people in Chiapas. In Fall 2019 she began to develop formal relationships with Mapuche scholars and poets from Chile. She is a member of the luk’upsíimey/North Star Collective, a Niimiipuu creative writers’ group, which began in September 2020.

For all classes, please register at:

In other news, Words of the People was featured today on Native America Calling! Listen in here at minute 51:00: Don’t forget to apply for your scholarship:

Create a beautiful weekend.

My best,

Chelsea T. Hicks

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