Indigenous Writers Grant

Indigenous Writers Grant

In conjunction with the release of his forthcoming novel, Reclaiming Mni Sota, author Colin Mustful is launching a campaign to raise $10,000 to fund an Indigenous Writers Grant. The grant will be awarded to one Indigenous writer who is pursuing creative writing as their career. But Colin needs you, his readers, to make this effort successful. Please continue reading to learn more.

Why This Is Important

As an independent author and historian, I have written extensively about the complex, often tragic, transitional period of American history when Native lands were transferred to American hands. While writing about this history, I have learned not only the history, but also the legacy of both marginalization and privilege that has allowed me to live in comfort, earn an education, and convey this history to others. Unfortunately, in doing so, I’m at risk of perpetuating a tradition of historical and cultural appropriation.

Cultural Appropriation is the process by which members of the dominant society claim ownership over the way in which the views, history, and culture of members of the non-dominant society are portrayed and therefore perceived. It begins as an intentional form of discrimination and erasure, but, over time, becomes seamlessly intertwined into the fabric of society until it’s almost unnoticeable. That’s what I was up against when I first began reading and writing about The U.S. – Dakota War of 1862. A century-and-a-half earlier the dominant society took control of the narrative and then perpetuated that narrative until it was almost impossible to recognize the truth of our history. Furthermore, my ability to understand and convey the history was skewed by my own inherent biases and ethnocentrism—something we’re all challenged with unless we actively seek to break down those biases.

Therefore, I’ve come to recognize—and I hope you will too—that no matter how well intentioned we are, it is a significant problem when one viewpoint controls a single narrative. And, because of the issues of inequality mentioned above, there is a dearth of Native voices in popular culture. The fact is that the historiography of events like The U.S. – Dakota War of 1862 is vast, but it’s lacking a diversity of voices. Unless we recognize the problem and actively work to confront our biases, that will never change. And no matter how much I continue to add to that historiography—no matter how well-reasoned and well-intentioned—it will always be lacking.

That’s why, in conjunction with the upcoming release of my alternative history novel, Reclaiming Mni Sota: An Alternative History of the U.S. – Dakota War of 1862, I am creating an Indigenous Writers Grant. By reserving your copy of Reclaiming Mni Sota, you’ll be contributing to the Reclaiming Mni Sota Indigenous Writers Grant.

While I will continue to study and write about events of the past, I would like to support efforts to add more Indigenous voices to the body of storytelling about our past that already exists. Specifically, through your help, I’d like to provide funding for one Indigenous writer to share their story, their perspective, their truth. You can contribute to this effort by making a donation, of any amount, to this GoFundMe page. Your entire contribution will go to one Indigenous writer chosen through an application process who can show a need and demonstrate their intentions to share stories about the past through creative writing. Additionally, for those who purchase a copy of Reclaiming Mni Sota, all profits, above and beyond the cost of printing and shipping, will go toward the funding of the grant (until the goal is reached).

Are you an Indigenous writer from one of the eleven federally recognized Indian tribes within Minnesota? Click the button below to learn more about applying for the Indigenous Writers Grant.

Grant Advocates

Michael A. (AmikoGaabaw) Loso, an enrolled member of the Mille Lacs band of Ojibwe
Afton Press
Nodin Press

Contributing Sponsors


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