Indigenous Poetics Lab

Land acknowledgements without action

are empty gestures.

The Indigenous Poetics Lab supports the generation and amplification of the arts (music, visual arts, creative writing, digital arts, and performance) based in Indigenous languages and aesthetics. In particular, the Indigenous Poetics Lab supports creative expression as a powerful avenue of Indigenous language revitalization. 

The Initiative highlights the work of contemporary Indigenous artists across different fields, while providing opportunities for arts generation by language activists working from and/or with Indigenous languages and communities. Planned activities include artist events, craft talks, fellowships, generative workshops at the Point Reyes Field Station, and other activities.

Image credit: A Ghost Poem by ARC Poetry & the Senses Fellow Dr. Phillip Cash Cash. Phillip Cash Cash is a niimíipuu (Nez Perce)/weyíiletpuu (Cayuse) human, an award winning Indigenous scholar, artist, writer, and traditional healer. On Instagram & Twitter @weyiiletpu

FELLOWSHIPS: The Art of Revitalization

for Indigenous & Endangered Languages

ARC has awarded ten $1,000 Indigenous Poetics Lab Fellowships to Berkeley undergraduate & graduate students who use creative writing and other arts as language revitalization in Indigenous and/or endangered languages.

The revitalization of Indigenous and endangered languages is an urgent matter, and the arts are a vital resource in the effort. The aim of this new fellowship program is to provide material and developmental support for language activists working in Indigenous and/or endangered languages to create new work with a focus on language, aesthetics, and form to support revitalization. The 2023 awards are generously supported by a Mellon Leadership Award and Berkeley’s Division of Arts and Humanities. The fellowship period runs from May through December 2023.

The 2023 Fellowships are awarded to:

Maura Adela Cruz, Talia Dixon, Sierra Edd, Claudia Iron Hawk,

Sabrina Jaszi, Tzintia Montano-Ramirez, Jesús Nazario,

Everardo (Ever) Reyes, Måsi Santos, and Pa Vue


The Indigenous Poetics Lab at the Arts Research Center highlights creative writing and other arts as a method of language revitalization. Anyone working in an Indigenous and/or endangered language is encouraged to apply. Fellows will receive financial and developmental support to create new language-centered works. The 2023 fellowships are funded by a Mellon Leadership Award and Berkeley’s Arts & Humanities Division.

Poetry & the Senses: Reclamation

January – December 2023

Under the theme of Reclamation, the 2023 Spring and Fall terms of Poetry & the Senses will be led by Indigenous writers who draw on Indigenous languages and aesthetics: Dr. Craig Santos Perez (Chamoru), Natalie Diaz (Mojave), and Dr. Beth Piatote (Nez Perce). Berkeley’s poetry fellows will be joined by a team of writers from University of Hawai’i (Perez); Arizona State University (Diaz); and the community-based Nez Perce writing collective, luk’upsíimey (Piatote).

More information on Poetry & the Senses initiative here.

A list of current fellows here.

International Decade of Indigenous Languages

The United Nations General Assembly (Resolution A/RES/74/135) proclaimed the period between 2022 and 2032 as the International Decade of Indigenous Languages, to draw global attention on the critical situation of many indigenous languages and to mobilize stakeholders and resources for their preservation, revitalization and promotion. More information on UNESCO’s resolution here.

Indigenous Poetics Lab Writing Workshop

Pt Reyes Field Station | October 21-23, 2022

Land and language were the focus of a writing workshop sponsored by ARC’s Indigenous Poetics Lab at the Point Reyes Field Station on October 22-23. Seven graduate students participated: Claudia Iron Hawk, Ataya Cesspooch, Everardo Reyes, Breylan Martin, Sierra Edd, Cristina Mendez, and Cynthia (Tzintia) Montano-Ramirez. They worked in languages as diverse as Diné, Dakhóta, Ute, Rarámuri, Mixtec, Mam, and Tligit experimented with writing prompts and land-based pedagogies to center the arts in Indigenous language revitalization work. The workshop was led by Beth Piatote, Nez Perce, director of the Arts Research Center and chair of the DE in Indigenous Language Revitalization at Berkeley.

Undu ñuu-xi?
¿Dónde está mi pueblo?
Where is my land?

–Tzintia Montaño
Da’an Davi/Mixtec of Southern Puebla, México

Headlands of Point Reyes National Seashore (courtesy of Pt Reyes Field Station site here)