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Toward Liberation & Restoration | Writing & Writing Practice as Aliveness & Wholeness

Saturday, Dec. 4th from 11:00-1:00

& Sunday, Dec. 5th from 1:00-5:00 p.m. MST on Zoom

$112.00 to register please email us at




















Cherokee poet Qwo-Li Driskill conceptualizes the sovereign erotic as “an erotic wholeness healed and/or healing” from historical trauma. For Driskill and other Indigenous storytellers, this healing is grounded in tribally specific histories, traditions, and embodiments. Within Diné (Navajo) storytelling, writers like Laura Tohe write the sovereign erotic as both a liberating and restorative force that allows for a fully realized aliveness and humanity. Included in this framework is the land as a sentient relative that also embodies a sovereign erotic with its own erotic language and lessons to help us form connections not limited to humanity. As a Diné (Navajo) storyteller, Manny Loley will lead our group through various readings to help us further understand and conceive our own definition of sovereign erotics and how this idea can contribute to our creative work and to our lives as human relatives. Central to our thinking will be questions of humanity, land, body, embodiment, process, form, and much more. We will borrow from Indigenous writers and scholars like Daniel Heath Justice who asks pivotal questions such as “how do we learn to be human” and “how do we behave as good relatives?” Both include conceptions of a sovereign erotic. 


In thinking about process and how our process informs our creative work, we will be utilizing a Diné framework comprised of four spaces: Nitsáhákees (thinking), Nahat’á (planning), Iiná’ (lived action), and Siihasin (reflection/reflexive thinking). These four spaces entail various metaphors, protocols, cardinal directions, seasons, etc. which can expand our thinking beyond ourselves to include community and relationality. Our time together will be spread out into these four spaces as follows: 

  • For the first meeting time, we will exist in the spaces of Nitsáhákees and Nahat’á. This will involve thinking through what a sovereign erotic could look like and how that plays out in various readings and possibly in our own work. We will then consider how foregrounding a sovereign erotic can inform our creative process while incorporating questions and thoughts from Daniel Heath Justice’s Why Indigenous Literatures Matter. 

  • For the second meeting time, we will exist in the spaces of Iiná’ and Siihasin. This will involve engaging in our own creative work with our thinking from the first meeting time and reflecting on our process from before our time together and after incorporating what we’ve learned. 


In the online meeting space, we will practice the Diné concept of k’é, which is a combination of kinship, responsibility, and reciprocity by designing communal values for our time together and for our approach to the material. Our time together will serve as a collaborative space for discussion and self-reflection. By situating ourselves within a Diné framework, we will be thinking through storytelling as more than a western-centered practice, but one concerning our humanity and our relationship to the land. This session is an attempt to root our thinking and writing practice in ancestral knowledges that pre-exist the English language, and the occupied territory of what is now the United States. 











Pictured above, Manny Loley is ‘Áshįįhi born for Tó Baazhní’ázhí; his maternal grandparents are the Tódích’íi’nii and his paternal grandparents are the Kinyaa’áanii. Loley is from Casamero Lake, New Mexico. He holds an M.F.A. in fiction from the Institute of American Indian Arts and he is a current Ph.D. candidate in English and literary arts at the University of Denver. Loley is a member of Saad Bee Hózhǫ́: Diné Writers’ Collective and director of the Emerging Diné Writers’ Institute. He is also the program coordinator for Six Directions: Indigenous Creative Writing Program through Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver, CO. His work has found homes in Pleaides Magazine,  Massachusetts Review, the Santa Fe Literary Review, Broadsided Press, the Yellow Medicine Review, and the Diné Reader: an Anthology of Navajo Literature, among others. His writing has been nominated for Pushcart Prizes by Broadsided Press and the Santa Fe Literary Review. Loley is at work on a novel titled They Collect Rain in Their Palms.

The photo used above of water rushing through the desert was taken by Manny Loley.

Manny Loley Author Photo_edited.jpg
Manny Loley Rain.jpg
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