Arts Walk (11/4)

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A Conversation with Gordon Lee Johnson
and Terria Smith
Native American Heritage Month Event

FREE • Thursday, November 4 • 7 PM
First Thursdays Arts Walk
FREE • Masks required.
3900 Mission Inn Ave, Riverside, CA 92501, Community Room (ground level)

In honor of Native American Heritage Month, join Inlandia Institute for a conversation with author and newspaperman Gordon Lee Johnson and editor/author Terria Smith.

Rich in culture, history, and heritage, Johnson and Smith will discuss their own paths to writing, what they’re working on now, their work together as author and editor, and more. This event is presented by Inladia as a part of Riverside Public Library’s First Thursdays Arts Walk events series.

Books will be available for sale at the event. To preorder, please visit: https://www.heydaybooks.com/catalog/bird-songs-dont-lie-writings-from-the-rez/.

“Johnson is certainly an ultimate tour guide through Inland Native California…,” writes Ruth Nolan. “[He] leads readers through his many stories in ways that share cultural values and practices along with glimpses of the heartbreak and outrage that have resulted from centuries of forced assimilations from the non-Native world.”

Gordon Lee Johnson is a Cahuilla/Cupeno writer living on the Pala Indian Reservation in Southern California. He’s  authored three books: Bird Songs Don’t  Lie, Fast Cars and Fry Bread, and Rez Dogs Eat Beans. In addition, his short stories, poems, and essays have appeared in various publications.


A former newspaperman, he was a columnist and feature writer for the Riverside Press-Enterprise, editor of The Californian, and a reporter for the Associated Press in Los Angeles.
He studied philosophy, journalism and screenwriting at UC Santa Cruz, San Diego, and Berkeley.  He earned a bachelor’s degree in creative writing at Vermont College in Montepellier, VT;  a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Antioch University, Los Angeles; and another MFA in screenwriting at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe.  He also served as Indigenous Writer in Residence at the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe with a literary fellowship by the Lannan Foundation. He is currently at work on a screenplay, an effort made even more daunting by a couple of cats crawling over him and his computer.

Terria Smith is a tribal member of the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians. For more than five years she has been working as the editor of News From Native California, a quarterly magazine devoted to the vibrant cultures, art, languages, histories, social justice movements, and stories of California’s diverse Indian peoples. Terria is also the director of California Indian Publishing at Heyday Books. She is a member of the Native American Journalists Association and an alumna of the University of California Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

This event is supported in part by an award from the California Arts Council, a state agency. Learn more about the California Arts Council at www.arts.ca.gov.

Funding has been provided by California Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

Additional funding is provided by the City of Riverside.

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