I'm Olivia, a 22-year-old artist from outside Boston, Massachusetts. Ink By Olivia is a collection of drawings inspired by my everyday life and my love of adventure, nature, antiques, and things around us that hold so much detail and beauty, but are often overlooked. I started my Instagram page in the winter of 2018 to document my progress designing and inking a Medusa skateboard deck, but it turned into much more when I started creating one drawing per day to challenge and practice my skills. My page has grown so quickly and it brings me so much joy to hear from my followers all around the world about how my drawings give them something to look forward to and the motivation to take just one step every day to attain their goals.

I am currently a creative writing and illustration student. I always had an early love for art as a little girl when painting, crafting paper, writing short stories, or tap dancing. In my first semester of college, I came across Micron pens and became fascinated by artworks of other ink artists. I gave the pens a try and love the convenience of them, allowing me to draw anywhere when inspiration hits, as well as the amount of detail they bring with the different pen sizes. 

Besides drawing, you can find me writing short stories and poems, hiking, cruising around in my VW Bus, skateboarding, and experimenting with new recipes.”

 

 

”My name is Jordan Marie Brings Three White Horses Daniel. I am Kul Wicasa Lakota and a citizen of Kul Wicasa Oyate/Lower Brule Reservation in South Dakota. I am also Diné (Navajo). I am passionate about many things. However, I want to connect two of those passions that really make life worthwhile: running and activism.

 

I was born to run, but I rejected it for quite some time. My Lala (grandfather) Nyal Brings was a long-distance runner for the University of South Dakota and was inducted into the USD Hall of Fame for his running accomplishments. Friendly rivals, Lala Billy Mills and Lala Nyal competed in the mile a few times, with Lala Nyal taking a victory over Billy. In the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Lala Billy would go on to win a gold medal in the 10K. My Lala Nyal took me on my first run and it ended with a half-mile uphill that ultimately led me to not like running. I didn't find it fun at all. My Ina (mother) was a sprinter and my Lala was her coach, with a sure plan to get her to the 1988 Olympic Trials. However, her path led her to become an incredible pediatric, dialysis and oncology nurse. My Até (dad) really helped me develop a mental toughness for running — something I'll never forget.

 

I grew from tolerating running to really falling in love with the sport. I started with the 5K and 10K my freshman and sophomore years of college, then moved down to shorter distances. However, after college, I moved back to longer distances, then half marathons and eventually marathons. After college, Lala Billy's organization, Running Strong for American Indian Youth, had asked me to join their team for the 2016 Boston Marathon. At the time, I was working with tribes to implement programs, some specifically for Native youth in Washington D.C., and I was glad to help Running Strong raise funds. I suffered an injury while preparing for that marathon but somehow got myself to the starting line in Hopkinton, Massachusetts.

 

My coach got me into the first wave and corral, so to experience that while fan-girling over my idols gave me the adrenaline to run through the pain. When the gun went off, all I could think about was my Lala Nyal, my Ina, Lala Billy and my entire tiospaye (extended family) back in Lower Brule and Indian Country. I was running Boston, something I never would've dreamed possible. Alongside me, others were running to get a best time or running for a cause, all while running with other Indigenous relatives. I had a lot to reflect on. I got to the finish, feeling happy and emotional. I was in pain, but the joy I felt upon completing that race wasn't for me, it was for Indian Country. The possibilities for Indigenous Peoples are endless and to share that with everyone was beautiful.

 

That experience led me to use running as a way to change the narrative around how people see or think about Indigenous Peoples. The protests in Standing Rock over the Dakota Access Pipeline really inspired me. While I was working full-time and training, I was also organizing events, rallies and marches to raise awareness about environmental, social and economic issues where running could serve as another platform. The Standing Rock youth who ran 2,200 miles from North Dakota to D.C. to hand deliver a petition opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline to protect water — our first medicine (mni wiconi translates to water is life) — was a great motivator for me, and an example of how I thought I could connect running with activism.

 

My whole perspective on running and my place in the world has changed. I no longer care as much about wearing only my sponsor's brand on race day or a normal run day. Now, I want to wear gear that highlights some of the fights and accomplishments going on in Indian Country. From wearing and racing in the "Free Leonard Peltier" singlet that Olympian Billy Nelson handed down to me to promoting gear from Native-owned running and outdoor companies, I want to speak for the causes that I hold dear.

With the help of my coach, I eventually created a "Team 1ndigenous" racing kit to help promote health and wellness for other Indigenous runners, as well as sending the message that we are one — we are all related and connected. Now, whenever possible, I change my bib number to reflect the #MMIW (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women) epidemic in Indian Country instead of my name or number at races. Most recently, I was able to do this at the San Diego Half Marathon, where it sparked conversations with spectators about what #MMIW means after I crossed the finish line.

 

Running also allows me to connect to the very lands that I advocate for and want to protect and preserve, such as Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, which I visited during the #Truthsgiving weekend. These are sacred lands that Indigenous Peoples have been using since time immemorial. Their protected status is in danger, as more than 83 percent of Bears Ears has been opened to public development, including possible fossil-fuel and energy-extraction projects.

 

Running is life. It connects me to Unci Maka (Grandmother Earth). It humbles me. It challenges me mentally and physically. I plan to keep running and competing for as long as my body will allow. I've recently started trail running and ran my first 7.5-mile trail race in November. I won for women and set the course record, but it taught me a different kind of running style. Trail running brings me closer to nature, which I respect and value.

 

Running connects me with my Lala Nyal, who made his journey back in August 2016. I feel him and remember him with every stride. It connects me with my Ina. Every stride forward, I carry Indian Country with me. Running is a not just a community of athletes, it's a family community. It has opened dialogues and cemented long-term friendships. It has been a stress reliever, a healer and has evolved for me as a platform to raise awareness of the very things in life that I care about most.

 

Continue running if you're able to. Run for fun. Run for meaning. Run for you. Most importantly, get outside and enjoy your surroundings. Appreciate and give thanks. I wish you good health in your running and adventures. Mitakuye oyasin (we are all related)”

July 23, 2020

Episode 45 - Kym Gouchie

With ancestral roots in the Lheidli T’enneh, Cree and Secwépemc Nations, KYM GOUCHIE is fostering change through her music and art. Her music brings awareness to First Nations and women’s issues, promoting reconciliation and community building while reminding us that we are all in this together. Her stories are a testament to the human spirit, weaving together threads of her own journey from personal tragedy to triumph. 

 

Kym’s traditional hand drum, clean, crisp acoustic guitar and full-bodied voice make her a powerful solo artist. She also performs as a duo, trio and full band, adding in vocal harmonies, keyboard, electric guitar, mandolin, banjo and cello by talented accompanists. Traditional First Nations, folk, and country tones alongside poignant and inspirational lyrics capture the hearts of young and old — her genuine and heartfelt performances have a profound and sometimes emotional impact on their audience. 

 

A respected elder-in-training of the Lheidli T’enneh Nation, also known as Prince George, BC, Kym is sought after to perform and speak at traditional welcoming ceremonies, cultural gatherings, schools, and conferences.

Jessica McDiarmid is a Canadian journalist who has worked across North America and Africa, writing for publications such as the Toronto Star, the Associated Press, Maisonneuve, Canadian Business and the Harvard Review. Highway of Tears is her first book. She lives in British Columbia.

 

For decades, Indigenous women and girls have gone missing or been found murdered along an isolated stretch of highway in northwestern British Columbia. The highway is known as the Highway of Tears, and it has come to symbolize a national crisis.

 

Journalist Jessica McDiarmid meticulously investigates the devastating effect these tragedies have had on the families of the victims and their communities, and how systemic racism and indifference has created a climate where Indigenous women and girls are over-policed, yet under-protected. Through interviews with those closest to the victims–mothers and fathers, siblings and friends –McDiarmid provides an intimate, first-hand account of their loss and unflagging fight for justice. Examining the historically fraught social and cultural tensions between settlers and Indigenous peoples in the region, McDiarmid links these cases to others across Canada–now estimated to number up to 4,000–contextualizing them within a broader examination of the undervaluing of Indigenous lives in the country.

 

Highway of Tears is a piercing exploration of our ongoing failure to provide justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and testament to their families and communities’ unwavering determination to find it.

Benjamin Gorman is the author of The Sum of Our Gods (2013, Not a Pipe Publishing), Corporate High School (2015, Not a Pipe Publishing), and The Digital Storm: A Science Fiction Reimagining of William Shakespeare's The Tempest (2017, Not a Pipe Publishing), and Don’t Read This Book (2019, Not a Pipe Publishing). Corporate High School became an Amazon bestseller in 2016, and The Digital Storm was named a “Top Five Book Pick” by the San Diego Union Tribune. Benjamin is a high school English teacher. He lives in Independence, Oregon with his son, Noah. Benjamin believes in human beings and the power of their stories. He places his confidence in his students and the world they will choose to create if given the chance.

Benjamin was born in Michigan, grew up in Illinois, California, and Ohio, and graduated with a BA from Whitworth University in Washington before moving to Oregon to get an MAT at George Fox University. He teaches at Central High School and loves his job. He’s passionate about the classes he teaches, like Creative Writing and Science Fiction Literature, but he enjoys the students even more than the content.

He is a strong advocate for public education and for elevating and honoring the profession of teaching, so he served as the president of his local teachers’ union and now serves on the board of the Oregon Education Association. He has also been named to the National Writing Project's Writer's Council.

Meanwhile, he writes every chance he gets. In 2013, he decided to start his own publishing company, Not a Pipe Publishing, and venture into the exciting and growing independent publishing industry.  “I’m luckier than a lot of writers who slog their way through day jobs they hate. I get to work on my craft with the help of my students at a job I love, and as we learn together, I get better. I hope that shows in The Sum of Our Gods, Corporate High School, The Digital Storm, and Don’t Read This Book. Like much of the union work I’ve done at the bargaining table, the meaning of a novel is a negotiation between the reader and the writer. I hope I’ve brought my readers a fair offer, something they’ll be pleased to accept.”

 

Interdisciplinary artist avery r. young is a 3Arts Award winning teaching artist, composer and producer with work that spans the genres of music, performance, visual arts and literature.  Examining and celebrating Black American history and culture, his work also focuses in the areas of social justice, equity, queer identity, misogyny, and body consciousness. As a writer, this Cave Canem alum has work featured in The Breakbeat Poets, Coon Bidness, to be left with the body, and Make Magazine. He has also written curriculum and essays on arts education that appear in the Teaching Artist Journal and A.I.M. Print.

 

Dubbed “sunday mornin jook joint,” his performance and work in sound design merges spiritual and secular aesthetics with dramatic and comedic sensibilities. He has performed at the Hip Hop Theater Festival, Wordstock, and Lollapalooza. He has recorded with house producers Anthony Nicholson and Charlie Dark, and is featured on recordings such as New World Reveal-A-Solution, Audio Truism, Catfish Haven’s Devastator, and New Skool Poetiks. His new full-length release, booker t. soltreyne: a race rekkid, features songs and other sound designed created during his artist residency with the University of Chicago's Arts + Public Life initiative.  It was during this residency that he worked on sound design and poems called "cullud sign(s)."

 

Through voice, sound, visual art, and performance, young is constantly exploring the forms and spaces in which poetry can exist. Most recently, he is the vocalist on flutist Nicole Mitchell’s Mandorla Awakening (FPE Records) and his poetry is featured in photographer and fellow 3Arts awardee Cecil McDonald Jr.’s debut book, In the Company of Black (Candor Arts).

 

Young’s first book neckbone (Northwestern University Press) is out on the shelves now. He is currently one of four directors for the Floating Museum and touring with his band, avery r. young & de deacon board. New album Tubman. is available via all major musical outlets.

Rachel Lally is an actor, writer, model, director, street theatre performer, poet and drama facilitator who trained with Crooked House Theatre Company and Kildare Youth Theatre before going on to obtain her MA in Theatre from The Gaiety School of Acting and NUI Maynooth.

Rachel has toured as an actor (and briefly, folk metal singer with Cruachan) both nationally and internationally as well as appearing in a number of films, theatre productions, music videos and TV commercials over the years. She is passionate about accessibility to the arts for people of all ages. Most recently she has performed her poetry in the Axis Theatre, performed with Giant Wolf Theatre (of which she is a member) in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, toured Ireland with the Moat Theatre production of 'Push Up' as well as directing a number of community and youth productions and is currently developing a new piece of work for stage.

During the COVID crisis, she has created the Podcast '6 of 1 and Half a Dozen of the Other' which asks a panel of Irish Artists to discuss thought experiments and is working on some writing and other creative projects for streaming.

Great chat this episode with two gifted creators - Paige Henderson and Nicole Murray. Their most recent joint project is the YouTube webseries - Dead Friends.

Paige Henderson graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Literature: Cinema Studies from the University of Washington. Even amongst various film production jobs she spent a year travelling the world.

Upon her return to the U.S. she set her focus on acting. She starred in the feature film “Vellai Pookal”, she also directed and produced her short “To Build a Forest."

After moving to Los Angeles, she frequented short film sets as actress, producer, director and art department. Paige co-founded Svelte Dog Productions, where she wrote and produced short films “Nacken” and “Josie’s Song.”

Nicole Murray has a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology from the University of Washington. She has years of research experience between an addiction and an individual differences laboratory and she has continued research after graduation. Throughout her schooling Nicole quenched her passion for acting through plays and making films with friends.

Nicole began pursuing film acting in tandem with research in Seattle, starring in shorts and a pilot entitled “Vashon." She moved down to Los Angeles, to hit her dream full-force, where she starred in various short films alongside producing, directing and writing. She co-founded Svelte Dog Productions and currently works at the renewable fuels facility - World Energy.

But, wait, wait, wait! How did they meet???

While both ladies were pursuing acting in Seattle, they met on a short film set. Both already had plans to move to Los Angeles, but now, within hours of meeting each other… they decided to do it together.

They struggled through the difficulty of finding housing together, eventually finding a place in Highland Park. After settling in to their new home and enduring the initial crisis of “why did I move here??” they took to creating their own content. After co-creating Svelte Dog Productions and filming a couple of shorts together, they began writing “Dead Friends”, which inspired them to expand this world into a full-blown film production.

New episode of the ‘Something (rather than nothing)’ podcast with Opera Singer Mackenzie Rogers

I had a most stimulating conversation with Mackenzie about art’s role in a pandemic, art's role in challenging white supremacy, opera, van Gogh, painting, Cabaret, philosophy and what it feels like to be painted into a painting.

Ms. Rogers is a talented actress and performer whose recent credits include Nancy in Albert Herring, Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, Belinda in Dido and Aeneas, the Forrester's Wife in The Cunning Little Vixen, Betty in Over Here!, and the Announcer in Gallantry, A Soap Opera.

In 2017, she also joined the ensembles of Portland Opera's production of La Bohème and Broadway Rose Theatre's rendition of the popular musical The Addams Family, the latter of which received the Drammy Award for Best Ensemble and the PAMTA Awards for Outstanding Ensemble and Outstanding Revival.

 

Mishka Shubaly is writer, musician, runner, comedian, teacher and thinker. We got to chat all about that stuff as well as drinking and not-drinking, art, creation, nothingness and somethingness. His books 'Cold Turkey', 'The Long Run', 'Of Mice and Me', and 'Beat the Devil' and 'Shipwrecked' are intense, raw and honest reads.

I deeply appreciated Mishka's talents and his ability to range on some really tough topics. Importantly, he has a lot of practical advice to get off the sauce. It is a practical, adapt-what-you-can approach that can help save a life from addiction.

His writing and music is available on all major and minor outlets. His newest book ‘Cold Turkey’ was a May title available to Audible subscribers.

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