Kelli Jo Ford Announces Tribal College Student Writing Winners

KELLI JO FORDTCJ Student’s guest editor, acclaimed author Kelli Jo Ford (Cherokee Nation), has announced the winners of the 2023 TCJ Student creative writing contest. “What an honor it was to spend time reading the stories, poems, and essays submitted to the Tribal College Journal Creative Writing Contest this year,” stated Kelli Jo Ford. “Big, big thanks to the students who shared their work with us. There is so much talent and truth in these pages, and that made the job of choosing winners incredibly difficult. I’m heartened by the writing coming from students of tribal colleges and universities. We are in good hands.”

The top fiction entries are: “Heated” by Tashina Emery of Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College; “Breakfast, August 8, 2015, 0730” by Ibe Liebenberg of the Institute of American Indian Arts; and “First Man” by Anthony Ryan Edaakie of Navajo Technical University.

The top nonfiction entries are: “A Fistfight in Hell” by Billy Markus Altaha of San Carlos Apache College; “Listening for Her Loom” by Alyssa Nakai of Navajo Technical University; and “Little Light of Mine” by Tashina Emery of Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College.

The top entries in poetry are: “gar fish dance” by Ibe Liebenberg of the Institute of American Indian Arts; “Dear BlueBird Flour” by Kyle White of Navajo Technical University; and “Be the Muse for Once” by Pte San Win Little Whiteman of Oglala Lakota College.

TCJ Student also recognizes students who earned honorable mention. They include: Barbara Salvatore of Nebraska Indian Community College; Sareya Taylor of the Institute of American Indian Arts; Joseph Runs Through of Fort Peck Community College; Essie L. Yazzie of Navajo Technical University; Jalen Smallcanyon of Diné College; Jeremy Begay of Navajo Technical University; Eliza Paulson of Cankdeska Cikana Community College; Spirit Jones of Northwest Indian College; and Xavier Wakinyan Jones of Oglala Lakota College.

“We again had an incredible turnout this year, with many great entries,” said Bradley Shreve, editor of the Tribal College Journal. “A big ‘thank you’ to all the students who participated—and to their professors who encouraged them and facilitated the submission process.”

The winning students and those earning honorable mention will be published in the 2023 edition of TCJ Student and/or online at Tribal College Journal extended the deadline to accept submissions to its art and film contest through March 10th.  For contest guidelines and more information, visit:

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