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SUNY ESF
Indigenous Writer in Residency

About the Program

The CLBS Indigenous Writer in Residence program was piloted in 2022 and officially launched in 2023. Its creation was spurred by the work of Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer who has and continues to draw inspiration from and write at Cranberry Lake Biological Station. The residency seeks to provide Indigenous writers with the space, time, and place to explore their creative endeavors.

The Residency

Cranberry Lake Biological Station is located in the heart of the Adirondack Park, on the ancestral lands of the Mohawk Nation of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and has been in use as a living classroom for 105 years. CLBS provides seclusion for research, teaching, contemplation, and creative endeavors.

Three, three−week residencies are available each year, with some flexibility based on the writer's schedule: late May – mid- June, mid-June – early July, and mid-July – early August. Housing, meals, and a workspace will be provided, in addition to a $1000 travel stipend. The resident will also have access to all facilities including canoes, classroom spaces, microscopes, and the ability to join classes if desired. Additional needs and requests will be considered on a case−by−case basis. The residency is jointly supported by the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment and Cranberry Lake Biological Station.

Applications for Summer 2024 will close on February 15, 2024. To receive updates about the program sign up for the CLBS mailing list below.

 

 

 

 

Meet the 2023 Writers in Residence

Abraham Francis has a BSc in Microbiology, 2014, and MSc in Natural Resources, 2019, from Cornell University. Recently, he became a Ph.D. student at Clarkson University studying Environmental Science and Engineering. Previously, he was the Environmental Services Manager for the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne. The position allowed him to develop and implement projects inspired and directed by community needs and influenced by his research interests. His research interests are at the intersection of environmental studies, Indigenous methodologies, community engagement, education, health, social services, law, and cultural foundations as a means for empowerment and healing within Indigenous Communities. He hopes to bring all his research interests and passions together within his dissertation, targeted at creating tools to support other Indigenous Communities to care for their environments from their biocultural contexts. Abraham has cultivated their expertise around their research and grown an extensive network of Indigenous Scholars/Knowledge Sharers, and Allies that carry a variety of expertise. Their expertise and network inspired the founding of the Aronia Collective, which seeks to align Indigenous Communities with experts to meet their unique needs and non-Indigenous organization to engage Indigenous peoples meaningfully.

 

Abraham Francis wearing an orange hat and smiling

Shaawan Francis Keahna is an interdisciplinary artist, researcher, and holistic archivist cataloguing apocalypse through slice-of-life horror. His body of work blends fact, fiction, myth and history, crossing genres and generations to better understand the urgency of our current moment. Keahna’s most recent pieces are on display at the Watermark Art Center in Bemidji, MN, in collaboration with Joan Kauppi. Their shared space is called Aanikoosijigaade: It is Linked. Keahna’s words have been featured in Cloudthroat, the Split Rock Review, the Vassar Review, among others, while Keahna’s face has been featured in Veronica Rutledge’s short documentary, A Place on the Edge of Breath, Sky Hopinka’s avant-garde short, Dislocation Blues, and Ishkwaazhe McSauby’s Mino Bimaadiziwin. Keahna currently lives on his homelands with his family. 

 

black and white image of Shaawan Francis Keahna

Skylar Kahentakwas Fetter is a member of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe in Akwesasne and a current Master's student at the University of Utah. Raised in a small town in northern New York, she filled the first two decades of her life by roaming through the forest and reading on the front porch. Upon graduating high school, she left for New York City where she completed her undergraduate degree at Columbia University in 2021, focusing her senior year on issues of environmental health in Haudenosaunee nations. After returning to her home in Northern New York during the pandemic, she was reminded of her tether to the natural world and the community that raised her. With their support and inspiration, she headed to Utah to begin a Master's in environmental humanities hoping to find a space for her writing to bridge her gratitude for the land and for the people. Her writing explores topics related to water and environmental justice, border politics, and methods of Indigenous resistance. While writing at the CLBS, she hopes to continue working on her poetry and a longer creative piece about border relations along the St. Lawrence River. 

 

Skylar Kahentakwas Fetter in a black high neck shirt, her hands folded.

Gillian Herrera (she/they) is a biracial Indigenous activist, artist, and social worker living and occasionally thriving in Portland, Oregon. She received a B.A. in Creative Writing from Indiana University. Their work has appeared in Peach Mag and Gaze Journal, and primarily deals with exploring identity, processing trauma, and finding hope and humor in desperate times. When she isn’t writing she enjoys traveling, mutual aid, the outdoors, rug making, reading, and hanging out with her cat and friends. Gillian is thrilled to be a part of the residency program at CLBS and feels honored to be considered among such talented Native writers. 

 

headshot of Gillian Herrera

Past Writers in Residence

2022

Stephanie Morningstar

Erica Wood