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Welcome to Indian Country

A evening-length celebration of Native American music and storytelling.

Welcome to Indian Country brings audiences on a journey of celebration.  By weaving song and storytelling, modern music, the music of our recent ancestors and the sharp wit of Lummi poet and storyteller, Rena Priest, we rejoice in the vibrancy of Native community and express the joy that we feel as part of it. 

This production is on tour through the end of 2023.  Performance schedule:

September 23, 2021: The Moss Center for the Performing Arts at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

February 11, 2022:  The Hopkins Center for the Performing Arts at Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH

February 13, 2022:  The Ordway Theater/All My Relations Gallery, Minneapolis, MN

February 18, 2022:   The Weidner Center for the Arts, Green Bay, WI

About WTIC

Artist Contributors

Delbert Anderson

Trumpet

Delbert Anderson is a Diné trumpet artist, composer and educator who attended Eastern New Mexico University studying Music Education and Performance. Anderson is the Jazz Director at San Juan College, founder of the San Juan Jazz Society and is credited as a Native American Music Ambassador. The music of Anderson is inspired through his Navajo cultural background and fused with influences of jazz, funk, hip hop and Southwestern styles. Anderson has created experimental educational programs and is known as an arts project developer. He a lso serves as a national and international arts consultant specializing in community development. Anderson has performed and worked with some of today’s top music professionals such as Phil Manzanera, Jon Faddis, TS Monk, Bobby Watson, John Lindemann (2x Grammy Winning Producer) and more. Anderson continues his mission of creating opportunities in the arts, educating Native American youth and sharing messages of hope, life and positivity. 

Nikosee Fields

Fiddle, Bass, Vocals

Nikosee Fields (Osage) was born and raised in Stillwater, Oklahoma, studying orchestral violin at a young age. After years of learning and performing Classical music, Nokosee turned his attention to traditional American music, performing, teaching, and touring professionally. As a bassist, he tours with the Country band Western Centuries, as well as the old time band Steam Machine. As a teacher, he has taught at the Augusta Heritage Center, tutored at Centrum’s festival of American fiddle tunes, and was the artist in residence for the Portland old time gathering. He’s placed in numerous fiddle contests and most notably took first in the 2019 clifftop fiddle competition. Nokosee’s lengthy and diverse experience in the performing arts gives him a unique approach to creating, listening and facilitating music 

Julie Keefe 

Jazz Vocals, Piano

Julia Keefe (Nez Perce), Assistant Director for Welcome to Indian Country, grew up on the Nez Perce Indian reservation in Idaho and graduated from the Manhattan School of Music's Master's in Music Jazz Vocals program in 2019 and from the University of Miami's Frost School of Music in 2011. Pre-pandemic she made her living as a New York City-based professional jazz singer. In both recorded tunes and live performances. She blends a quirky sense of humor with jazz of the 40's and 50's, creating a jovial marmalade of smooth vocals and rapier wit! She has had the honor of opening for jazz legends, such as Tony Bennett and Esperanza Spalding. Her life’s work is the revival and honoring of the Coeur d'Alene jazz musician, and legend Mildred Bailey and is the leader of the campaign to induct her into the Jazz Hall of Fame.  More information on Julia at:  juliakeefe.com

Nicholas Lucero

Percussion

Born in Albuquerque, NM and raised in Southern Colorado - Nicholas has had toured in the drum seat internationally with several jazz artists and nationally with artists that range from jazz, folk, blues, rock and everything in-between.  Co-Founder of the San Juan Jazz Society, The Indigenous Community Arts Foundation and co-creator of 8 touring projects - Nicholas Lucero has developed a strong focus with his musical journey: Elevating modern indigenous art and destroying stereo types of what indigenous music can be.   Featured in such publications as The Smithsonian Magazine, Chamber Music of America Magazine, and Grammy.com - Nicholas currently composes and tours with a jazz trio, a hip-hop focused group, symphonic arrangements of jazz and hip-hop, a musical and continues to work with artists such as Phil Manzanera of Roxy Music, South African Percussionist Dan Chiorboli and longtime friend and bandmate, Delbert Anderson. 

Mali Obomsowen

Bass, Vocals, Guitar

Mali Obomsawin is a musician, activist, and citizen of the Abenaki First Nation at Odanak. She is a bassist, songwriter, composer, and singer, with an eclectic background in pop, free/avant-garde music, and American roots styles. Obomsawin tours internationally with her indie-folk-rock band Lula Wiles (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings), and gigs as a freelance bassist in New York City where she resides. As an Indigenous liberation activist and scholar, she has most recently published her work in Smithsonian Folklife Magazine and the Boston Globe. She received a B.A. in Government and Comparative Literature from Dartmouth College in 2018.

Rena Priest

Poet

Rena Priest is a Poet and an enrolled member of the Lhaq’temish (Lummi) Nation. She has been appointed to serve as Washington State's Poet Laureate for the term of April 2021-2023. She is also the recipient of the Vadon Foundation Fellowship (2020), and an Allied Arts Foundation Professional Poets Award (2020). She has attended residencies at Hedgebrook, Mineral School, and Hawthornden Castle. Her debut collection, Patriarchy Blues was published by MoonPath Press and received an American Book Award. Her second collection, Sublime Subliminal is available from Floating Bridge Press. Individual poems are featured at Poets.org, Poetry Northwest, Pontoon Poetry, A Dozen Nothing, and elsewhere. Priest has also published non-fiction pieces in High Country News, YES! Magazine, Seattle Met, Adventures NW, and Nautilus. She is a National Geographic Explorer (2018-2020) and a Jack Straw Writer (2019). She holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College.