TCJ Student Writing Contest Winners Announced

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Tribal College Journal has announced the winners of its 2016 TCJ Student creative writing contest. This year, the contest brought in scores of entries from tribal college and university (TCU) students from around Indian Country. Acclaimed author and poet Joan Naviyuk Kane (Inupiaq) served as guest editor of TCJ Student, selecting the top entries in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

The top fiction entries are: “Hellhound” by Ronald Dean Johnson of the Institute of American Indian Arts, “The Fox” by Carla Bennett of Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College, and “Unwanted Marriage” by Geneva Wauneka of Navajo Technical University. The top nonfiction entries are: “Changed My Perspective” by Kayla Mae Hanks of Diné College, “Learning to Be Silent” by Vivian M. Carroll of the Institute of American Indian Arts, and “My Cool Mom” by Cristina Coffman of Nebraska Indian Community College. The top entries in poetry are: “Cheii’s House” by Samantha Mitchell of Navajo Technical University, “To be an:” by James T. Vallie of Little Big Horn College, and “Where the Dragons Live” by Leoncio Amuia Bald Eagle of Sitting Bull College. Two students earned honorable mention for their entries, including Ruby Hansen Murray of the Institute of American Indian Arts for her poem, “Sisters Giveaway” and her fictional story “Family Lessons.” Darin Janis of Oglala Lakota College also earned honorable mention for two entries, including “There’s No Place Like Home” (nonfiction) and “How the Rainbow Was Created” (fiction).

“Each entry demonstrates the continuing literary possibility of the Indigenous people of this country and the necessity of our work in the context of the communities we create through reading and writing for each other,” states guest editor Joan Naviyuk Kane. “I am grateful for the words and the space they affirm. Iliġanamiik.”

The winning students and those earning honorable mention will be recognized at the American Indian Higher Education Consortium’s awards banquet Wednesday, March 16. The winning entries will appear in the 2016 edition of TCJ Student, which will be published concurrently with the journal’s fall issue. Tribal College Journal will continue to accept submissions to its art and film contest through April 15. For contest guidelines and more information, visit:

2017 AIHEC Student Poetry Slam


On the opening evening of the 2017 AIHEC Student Conference in Rapid City, students from an array of TCUs entertained conference goers with the spoken word at the annual poetry slam. View the video

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