You are here

AIS announces "Sacred Breath," a new literary and storytelling series

Submitted by Elissa Washuta on September 23, 2016 - 9:06am
  • Fernandes, Bordley, LaPointe

The Department of American Indian Studies at the University of Washington announces a new event series. Sacred Breath features Indigenous writers and storytellers at wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ - Intellectual House on the University of Washington Seattle campus. Storytelling offers a spiritual connection, a sharing of sacred breath. Literature, similarly, preserves human experience and ideals. Both forms are durable and transmit power that teaches us how to live. Both storytelling and reading aloud can impact audiences through the power of presence, allowing for the experience of the transfer of sacred breath as audiences are immersed in the experience of being inside stories and works of literature.

The series opens with an event on November 9 at 7pm featuring writers Payton Bordley (Skokomish) and Sasha LaPointe (Nooksack) and storyteller Roger Fernandes (Lower Elwha S’Klallam), followed by events on February 25 at 5pm and May 10 at 7pm. Featured artists include Ernestine Hayes, Trevino Brings Plenty, Raven Heavy Runner, and Elissa Washuta.

These events are free and open to the public.


About the Artists

Payton Bordley is a member of the Skokomish Tribe, and a recent graduate of the Creative Writing program at the University of Washington. Payton currently lives in Seattle, and also works as the Racial Equity Liaison at the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture. 

Roger Fernandes is a Native American artist, storyteller and educator whose work focuses on the traditional arts, legends, and teachings of the Coast Salish tribes of the Puget Sound region of Western Washington.  He is a member of the Lower Elwha S’Klallam Tribe and has a degree in Native American Studies from the Evergreen State College and a Masters Degree in Whole Systems Design from Antioch University.  He also studied graphic design at the University of Washington and has focused on learning, creating and teaching Coast Salish art for the past 20 years.

Sasha LaPointe is a member of the Nooksack Indian Tribe. Her work has appeared in Indian Country Today, Luna Luna Magazine, The Yellow Medicine Review, The Portland Review, AS/Us Journal, THE Magazine, and Aborted Society Online Zine. Sasha lives in Seattle where she is currently pursuing her MFA through The Institute of American Indian Arts with a focus on nonfiction and poetry.


About the Department of American Indian Studies

The American Indian Studies Department at the University of Washington advances and promotes knowledge integral to Native peoples through research, teaching, and community service. It is the largest and most comprehensive program of its kind in the Pacific Northwest. For more information, visit


About wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ

wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House is a longhouse-style facility on the UW Seattle campus. It provides a multi-service learning and gathering space for American Indian and Alaska Native students, faculty and staff, as well as others from various cultures and communities to come together in a welcoming environment to share knowledge.

Location: 4249 Whitman Court, Seattle, WA 98195