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Elizabeth A. Woody
Or Email: elizabeth [at] mmt [dot] org
What I do at MMT:
I work with Communities of Color on leadership development, help develop a Fellows Program at MMT and be part of the program team, analyzing Responsive Grant proposals.
What was your life experience before you came to MMT and how does it contribute to your work at MMT?
Primarily known as a poet, I publish, teach, lecture, and show my artwork all over the country, and internationally. I have widely anthologized poetry, essays, fiction, and have authored three books. I love the emotive quality of language, especially how it can connect people and share multiple perspectives. Persuasive language is used in many contexts, but most times does not include research into multiple perspectives like creative works on the story telling level. Storytelling is a passion.
For my work life, I have been a creative writing professor, a K-12 coordinator at a science and technology center (at CMOP) and for twelve years each, was a studio manager for Lillian Pitt, a Portland artist, and served as Director of Indigenous Leadership for Ecotrust, a Portland environmental nonprofit focused on innovative integration of social investment, community development, and information integration for change. I learned about leadership and community building from both experiences.
I am an enrolled member of the Warm Springs Confederated Tribes of Oregon, and am descended from the Yakama Nation, as well. My tribal affiliations are land based and listed as: Wasco/Wishram/Watlala (Hood River to Cascade Locks, OR people), Tygh (Tygh Valley people), Tenino, Milleethlama (People of the Kah-Nee-Ta Hotsprings), Wyampum (People of Celilo Falls), Ty-tilpum (People of the Willamette Falls). This is how deeply connected I am to the land and waters of Oregon. From my father's side I am born for the Bitter Water clan of the Navajo Nation of Arizona. I acknowledge the intercultural network of trade and kinship of communities intertwined across rivers and mountains as a method for continued abundance and success. We share what is best practice, and appreciate knowledge systems of each environment of the Pacific Northwest, and beyond.
What high school did you attend?
I attended Madras Senior High School, Home of the White Buffaloes, located in Madras, Oregon.
When you graduated from high school, what did you want to be?
I was going to become a fine arts photographer. I spent my entire Junior and Senior years building a portfolio.
How long did you follow that plan, where did it lead?
Instead, I was selected to be one of the first twelve Oregon High School Creative Writing recipients to attend a summer writing workshop at Lewis and Clark College. I worked with poet Sandra McPherson and fiction writer James Welch. Experiencing a professional workshop with great writers changed my direction. I went to Portland State University and studied with Primus St. John, Henry Carlile, and Tom Doulis. I went on to the Institute of American Indian Arts located in Santa Fe, NM where I majored in Creative Writing and 2-Dimensional Arts and studied with Phillip Foss, Jr. After three books of poetry and prose and a long list of publications, I taught there for two years.
If I met my high school self, I would say:
Be yourself, through and through. We are each unique. Listen carefully. Keep your physical strength up.
What were your favorite extracurricular activities in high school? What did you do for fun?
I played pool. My best friends and I were very good. I came in third in a double elimination tournament of all ages for the county. That wasn't related to school, I know. I was the artist in school. I made art all my school years. I read every interesting book in the school and county libraries and built my own. I loved to walk the land and take photos.
What was your favorite music to listen to?
I listened to all manner of jazz, gospel, reggae, popular music, country, and the usual teen angst love songs.
Complete this sentence: In high school, among my classmates I was most likely to...
Since I was elected as one the three "wittiest" and "most intelligent" girls in my class, and voted the most creative, I was most likely to "become a comedienne."
You don't know me unless you know this about me:
I love animals.