IAIA - Institute of American Indian Arts

Student and Alumni Profiles

Jennifer Elise Foerster

Jennifer Foerster

Jennifer Foerster

Jennifer Elise Foerster (Muscogee (Creek) Nation) was awarded her MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts (July 2007) and her BFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico (2003). She has received fellowships to attend Soul Mountain Retreat, the Naropa Summer Writing Program, the Idyllwild Summer Poetry Program, Dorland Mountain Arts Colony, and the Vermont Studio Center.

From 2008-2010, Jennifer was a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University. Her poetry has been published in Ploughshares, Passages North, Many Mountains Moving, and Drunken Boat, among other journals. Of German, Dutch, and Muscogee descent, she is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma.

Jennifer currently lives in San Francisco where she works as a grant writer, editor, and freelancer for non-profit development. Through a grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission, she is working on a chronicle of poems in Muscogee, German, and English.

Sherwin Bitsui

Sherwin Bitsui

Sherwin Bitsui

Sherwin Bitsui (Navajo) is originally from White Cone, Arizona, on the Navajo Reservation. Currently, he lives in Tucson, Arizona. He is Dinè of the Todich’ii’nii (Bitter Water Clan), born for the Tl’izilani (Many Goats Clan).

He holds a BFA from the University of Arizona and an AFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts Creative Writing Program. He is the recipient of a 2000-01 Individual Poet Grant from the Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry, a 1999 Truman Capote Creative Writing Fellowship, a Lannan Foundation Marfa Residency, a 2006 Whiting Writers’ Award, a 2008 Tucson MOCA Local Genius Award and, for his collection Flood Song, a 2010 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation.

Sherwin has published his poems in American Poet, The Iowa Review, Frank (Paris), Lit Magazine, and elsewhere. His poems were also anthologized in Between Water & Song and Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century.

He is the author of Shapeshift (University of Arizona Press, 2003) and Flood Song (Copper Canyon Press, 2009)

Eddie Chuculate

Eddie Chuculate

Eddie Chuculate

Eddie Chuculate (Creek and Cherokee) is from Muskogee, Oklahoma. His first book, “Cheyenne Madonna,” a story collection, was released in September by David R. Godine/Black Sparrow Books in Boston.

A graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, he also held a Wallace Stegner fellowship at Stanford University.

Chuculate’s stories have appeared in Manoa, Ploughshares, The Iowa Review, Blue Mesa Review, Many Mountains Moving, and The Kenyon Review.

The PEN/O. Henry prizewinner for the short story is currently enrolled in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa.

Allison Adelle Hedge Coke

Alison Hedge Coke

Alison Hedge Coke

Allison Adelle Hedge Coke (Huron, Cherokee) has written several books, including Dog Road Woman, Off-Season City Pipe; Rock Ghost, Willow, Deer; Year of the Rat; and Blood Run. She has edited nine collections, among them are Effigies and Sing.

She is of Huron, Cherokee, Portuguese, and French Canadian descent and came of age cropping tobacco, working fields and waters, and working in factories. Hedge Coke holds the Reynolds Endowed Chair at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, and has received fellowships and residencies from the Center for the Great

Plains, MacDowell Colony, Weymouth Center, Hawthornden Castle, and Lannan at Marfa.

The poet, memoirist, fiction writer, and scriptwriter was an invited performer in international poetry festivals in Argentina, Canada,

Colombia, Jordan, Venezuela, and Shandong University, Wei Hai, China. Her fiction has appeared in Best American Fiction and Black Renaissance Noire.

Her play, Icicles, was a first finalist for the National Repertory Theater Prize. Among her many awards are an American Book Award, King-Chavez-Parks Award, and an Abiko Quarterly Editor’s

Choice Award by Cid Corman.

Tristan Ahtone

Tristan Ahtone is a member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma.Tristan Ahtone

In 2006, Tristan graduated from the Institute of American Indian Arts with a bachelors degree in Creative Writing. In 2008, he received a masters degree in broadcast journalism from the Columbia School of Journalism.

Since 2008, Tristan has specialized in covering Native American, environmental and healthcare issues, and has worked with The Newshour with Jim Lehrer, National Native News, Frontline, Wyoming Public Radio, Indian Country Today, Sirius Satellite Radio, the Fronteras Desk, NPR and Al Jazeera America.

He is based in Albuquerque, New Mexico and currently serves as Vice President of the Native American Journalists Association.