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EDWI Faculty


The Institute brings together acclaimed Diné writers and authors to serve as faculty mentors. We also collaborate with institutions like the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the Northern Arizona University to bring non-Diné writers and authors to campus. EDWI participants study with these faculty mentors in poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, journalism, song writing, and much more. Faculty mentors also include Diné medicine people who share cultural stories.


2023 EDWI Faculty Mentors and Visiting Writers

Lonnie Begaye

Lonnie Begaye is Hałtsoí Dine’é born for Deeshchii’nii. He is from Tsé Na’ashje’ii and currently resides in Ch’ínílį́. He holds a bachelor’s degree in cinematic arts & technology from the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), and an associate’s degree in liberal arts from the New Mexico Military Institute. In his storytelling and screenwriting, Begaye applies the skills and knowledge he learned from the IAIA to bring light to life on the Navajo Nation. He writes and expresses his creative ideas while learning the cultural teachings and vast knowledge carried by his family and colleagues.

Esther G. Belin

Esther G. Belin is a writer, multi-media artist, and citizen of the Navajo Nation. She lives on the Colorado side of the four corners. She has been described as a second-generation off-reservation Native American, a by-product of the US federal Indian policies of termination and relocation. Both of her parents were taken off the Navajo reservation when they were teens to a federally run Indian boarding school in Riverside, CA. There they received the equivalency of an 8th-grade education and some basic trade skills. As a result, she was raised in the Los Angeles area, where she learned to transplant and strengthen her Diné worldview with the help of her parents and the small Indian community that remains there. She is grateful for those courageous relocatees who survived and adapted; their collective scar tissue has eased her path in life. Belin’s art and writing reflect the historical trauma from those policies as well as the philosophy of Saah Naagháí Bik’eh Hózho, the worldview of the Navajo people. Her writing is widely anthologized, and her poetry examines identity politics, checkerboard land status, and the interplay of words (abstraction) and image (realism). In 2000, she was awarded an American Book Award for her first book of poetry, From the Belly of My Beauty. Her most recent poetry collection is Of Catrography: Poems. She holds degrees from Antioch University, the Institute of American Indian Arts, and the University of California at Berkeley.

Stacie Denetsosie

Stacie Denetsosie is Todích'íí'nii born for Naakaii Dine’é; her maternal grandparents are the Tł'ízí lání and her paternal step-grandparents are Bilagáana. She is from Kayenta, Arizona but currently resides in Logan, Utah. She holds an M.F.A. in Fiction from the Institute of American Indian Arts. Denetsosie's short story collection The Missing Morningstar And Other Stories debuts September 12th from Torrey House Press.

Kinsale Drake

Kinsale Drake is Nát’oh Dine’é Táchii’niii born for Bilagáana; her maternal grandparents are the ‘Áshįįhi and her paternal grandparents are the Bilagáana. Drake is a writer and narrator whose work has appeared in The Adroit Journal, Yale Literary Magazine, TIME, New World Coming (Torrey House Press, 2021), her zine Hummingbird Heart (Abalone Mountain Press, 2022), and elsewhere. She is an In-Na-Po Fellow, and the recent winner of the Academy of American Poets/Sean T. Lannan Poetry Prize, and the Young Native Playwrights Award. Her work is forthcoming in Poetry Online,, The Languages of our Love (Abalone Mountain Press, 2022), and elsewhere.

Ramona Emerson

Ramona Emerson is Tł’áá'shchí'í born for Naakaii Dine’é. Her maternal grandparents are Táchii’nii and her paternal grandparents are the Naakaii Dine’é. She is a writer and filmmaker originally from Tohatchi, New Mexico. She received her degree in Media Arts in 1997 from the University of New Mexico and her MFA in Creative Writing (Fiction) in 2015 from the Institute of American Indian Arts. She has worked as a professional cinematographer, writer, and editor for over twenty-five years and is currently working on her 8th film project, Crossing the Line. She is an Emmy nominee, a Sundance Native Lab Fellow, a Time-Warner Storyteller Fellow, a Tribeca All-Access Grantee and a WGBH Producer Fellow. Ramona just released her first novel, Shutter the first of a trilogy, which was published with SOHO Books in 2022 and was recently longlisted for the National Book Award and was a finalist for the PEN/Open Book and PEN/Hemingway Award. She currently resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico where she and her husband/producer, Kelly Byars run their production company Reel Indian Pictures.

Julie Fiveash

Julie Fiveash is Kinyaa’áanii born for Naakai Dine’é. Their maternal grandfather’s clan is Táchii’nii and their paternal grandfather is Bilagáana.  Julie’s pronouns are they/them/theirs and they identify as non-binary. They are from Yuma, Arizona and currently reside in Boston, MA. They received their B.A. in Studio Art from Dartmouth College. They lived in San Francisco shortly after graduating and managed a comic bookstore while traveling to sell their work at zinefests and comic festivals throughout the West Coast. Their work has been featured in two Dirty Diamond comic anthologies, the “Baylies” by Laneha House, “Portals of Indigenous Futurisms” by Abalone Mountain Press, “The Out Side: Trans and Non-binary Comics” by Andrews-McMeel Publishing, and they are currently working on a graphic novel to be published through Levine Querido. They hold a MLIS degree from UCLA and currently work at Harvard University’s Tozzer Library as the Librarian for American Indigenous Studies where they prioritize developing ways that the library can create inclusive research spaces and guides for Indigenous researchers and students.

Chris Hoshnic

Chris Hoshnic is Kin Łichíí’nii, born for Táchíí’nii; his maternal grandfathers are the Bit’ahnii and his paternal grandfathers are Áshįįhnii. He is from Tó Łikan (Sweetwater) in Arizona. Hoshnic is in the final year of his Bachelor of Arts in English at Arizona State University. In 2013, he graduated with an Associates in Applied Science with a concentration in Video Production at Glendale Community College. Hoshnic then went on to write, direct and produce under his production company C&M Imagine. His 5-minute short film “Ozzy” was accepted into the 2018 Jerome International Film Festival. He was also a finalist in short screenplay competitions at Austin Micro Film Festival and the Phoenix Film Festival. In 2022, he was a Ha’a’aahdę́ę́' Writing Fellow with the Emerging Diné Writers’ Institute (EDWI) under his mentor Ramona Emerson. He is currently writing fiction and planning to attend graduate school to further his studies in creative writing. He recently presented a multilingual community poem titled “The Landscapes of Languages” at the 2023 Northern Arizona Book Festival for the Thousand Languages Project. In the summer of 2023, Chris became a fellow of the Native American Media Alliance’s Native American Writers Seminar.

Crystal Littleben

Crystal Littleben is Kin Łichíi’nii’, born for Ma’ii Deeshgiizhnii; her maternal grandparents are the Bįįh Bitoo’nii, and. her paternal grandparents are the Bit’ahnii. She is originally from Tuba City, Arizona but was raised in Round Rock, Arizona. Littleben also served as Miss Navajo Nation from September 2017 to 2018. She is currently the Program Manager for the Navajo Cultural Arts Program at Diné College in Tsaile, AZ. Littleben graduated from Northern Arizona University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a minor in Native American Studies. She is currently seeking her BFA in Navajo Silversmithing at Diné College, and she is pursuing her Masters of Fine Arts in Cultural Arts Administration from the Institute for American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM. In addition to being a Program Manager, she also owns a silversmithing business called Leading with Fire: Asdzáá Atsidí. Littleben has shown and sold her jewelry at the Heard Museum Indian Art Market since 2020 and will be doing her first show in Santa Fe at SWAIA this coming August. Littleben identifies as a silversmith, educator, advocate, and student. She believes firmly in the cultural arts and stories of Navajo people as a catalyst for positive social and cultural enrichment.

Manny Loley

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 holds a Ph.D. in English and literary arts from the University of Denver, and an M.F.A. in fiction from the Institute of American Indian Arts. Loley is an inaugural In-Na-Po Fellow, and a member of Saad Bee Hózhǫ́: Diné Writers’ Collective. Since 2018, he has served as director of the Emerging Diné Writers’ Institute. His work has found homes in Poetry Magazine, Pleaides Magazine, the 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 thrice nominated for Pushcart Prizes. Loley is at work on a novel titled They Collect Rain in Their Palms. He is from Tsétah Tó Ák’olí in New Mexico.

Amber McCrary

Amber McCrary is Kin Łichíi’nii born for Naakaii Dine’é; her maternal grandparents are the ‘Áshįįhi and her paternal grandparents are the Ta’neeszahnii. She is from Shonto, Arizona. McCrary is a Diné poet, zinester, and feminist. She holds an M.F.A. in poetry from Mills College in Oakland, California. McCrary is the author of the chapbook Electric Deserts (Tolsun Books). She is the 2020 EDWI Lead Author and the core faculty for poetry.

Shaina A. Nez

Shaina A. Nez is Táchii’nii born for Áshįįhi. She is Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing and English at Diné College. She is also a doctoral candidate in Justice Studies with the School of Social Transformation and Inquiry at Arizona State University. Nez earned her M.F.A. in creative nonfiction from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her work has appeared in “A Gathering of Native Voices” (The Massachusetts Review), “Nonwhite and Women: 131 Micro-Essays on Being in the World,” winner of the 2023 Silver IPPY award in the category of Adult Multicultural Nonfiction, “Between Pleasure and Pain: An Authentic Voices Anthology” (Sunday Dinner Publishing), and Issue 14: Indigenous Ecopoetry (Green Linden Press). She is an alum of Tin House, VONA (Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation), WNDB (We Need Diverse Books), AV 2022 (Authentic Voices Fellowship) by the Women’s National Book Association, and a recipient of the 2021 Open Door Career Advancement Grants for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) women writers.

Natalya Tasha Nez

Natalya “Tasha” Nez is Tsi’naajínii, born for Dibé Łizhiní; her maternals grandparents are the Tódích’íi’nii and her paternal grandparents are the Tábąąhá. She is a self-taught mixed-media artist born in Gallup, New Mexico and raised in Chichiltah and Ramah-Navajo reservation. She holds an associate degree in human services from the University of New Mexico-Gallup. For the past six years, she worked as the Program Coordinator for gallupARTS, a non-profit arts council in McKinley County where she led art workshops and various public art programs, managed an art gallery, curated art shows and was the in-house graphic designer. Currently, she has taken the big step to pursue her dream of being a full-time artist. Her collage work has recently won recognition in the National Collage Society’s 26th Annual Small Format Exhibition and a few of her monotypes have won an excellence ribbon in a juried show titled, “Honoring the Families of Navajo Code Talkers.” She also has four of her social justice artworks on view in the Navajo Nation Museum titled, “Cause/Casuse.” She has also been commissioned by the Public Lands Interpretive Association to create art that will be displayed at the El Malpais Conservation Ranger Station. Nez creates paper collages using monoprints, block prints, photographs and found images. She also creates watercolor, acrylic and oil paintings. She is currently expanding her art practice by learning about cyanotypes, oil painting en plein air and silversmithing. Her work is largely inspired by Diné Bikéyah (the lands around and on the Navajo Nation), Diné culture, and her childhood living in New Mexico. Her goal as an artist is to inspire others to look for the extraordinary in the ordinary. Nez also uses her art to address different social justice issues that are important to her. She has found that art can be a powerful catalyst for change and creates avenues for important dialogue on difficult topics. Her work and upcoming shows can be found on her Instagram page: @pacotacorox.

Dillen Peace

Dillen Peace is Ta’neeszahnii and his father is of Anglo descent; his maternal grandparents are the Kin Łichíí’nii and his paternal grandparents are of Angle descent. Peace was raised near the landmark Tsé Bitsii' on the west side of Tsé Nitsaa Deez’áhí (Rock Point). He received his B.A. in Studio Art and Native American Studies from Dartmouth College in 2019. In 2023, Peace completed his M.F.A. in Visual Art and a Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Studies from the University of Kansas. He is a former Ha’a’aahdę́ę́' Writing Fellow with the Emerging Diné Writers’ Institute (EDWI).

Natanya Ann Pulley

Natanya Ann Pulley’s clans are Kinyaa’áanii and Táchii’nii. She is published in McSweeney'sSplit Lip, and The Offing(among others). Her essays have been anthologized in Shapes of Native NonfictionThe Diné Reader, and Unbound: Composing Home. She is a 2022 recipient of a NEA Creative Writing fellowship and her short story collection With Teeth is a winner in the 2018 Many Voices Project book competition with New Rivers Press. Natanya is an associate professor and editor of Hairstreak Butterfly Review at Colorado College where she teaches texts by Native American writers, fiction writing, and experimental forms.

Sabrina Saleha

Sabrina Saleha is a screenwriter and actress. She recently graduated with her Master of Fine Arts in Screenwriting from the Institute of American Indian Arts in May 2023, Sabrina has been recognized with scholarships from Warner Bros. Discovery, American Indian Circle Fellow and Navajo Nation. She was also a '22 Native American Media TV Writer's Lab fellow with SkinsFest and currently a ‘23 ImagineNATIVE’s Screenwriting Feature Lab fellow sponsored by Netflix. Her most recent acting credits include BARRY, SINGLE DRUNK FEMALE, PANHANDLE and ECHOES. Her voiceover work will be in the upcoming Playstation video game, THE FOGLANDS.  

Jake Skeets

Jake Skeets is Tsi’naajínii born for Tábąąhá; his maternal grandparents are the Táchii’nii and his paternal grandparents are the Tódík’ózhí. Skeets is from Vanderwagen, New Mexico. He is the author of Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers, winner of the National Poetry Series, American Book Award, Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and Whiting Award. His poetry and prose have appeared widely in journals and magazines such as Poetry, The New York Times, and The Paris Review. He holds an M.F.A. in Poetry from the Institute of American Indian Arts. His honors include a National Endowment for the Arts Grant for Arts Projects, a Mellon Projecting All Voices Fellowship, and the 2023-2024 Grisham Writer in Residence at the University of Mississippi. He teaches at the University of Oklahoma.


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EDWI is held on the Navajo Technical University (NTU) campus in Crownpoint, New Mexico. Within the Diné ancestral homelands as marked by the four sacred mountains, EDWI is proud of to represent various communities within Diné Bikeyah. For more information about NTU, please visit

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