Indigenous Voices: Greg Sarris in conversation with Jane Ciabattari – The Forgetters


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Thursday, June 13, 7:00 PM

Newly added to Season!

FORGETTERS: A tender, astonishing, and richly beautiful story cycle about remembering our shared histories and repairing the world.

“The Forgetters,” Greg Sarris writes, “killed all of the bears and the elk and the pronghorn. They cut down trees… They forgot the stories. They forgot we are all one People, and the animals, indeed the entire Mountain, began to suffer. Now we must all try to learn to live together. We must remember the stories again.” Each story in  his The Forgetters connects to a location in Sonoma or Marin County. As Sarris puts it, “The landscape has always been sacred text for Indigenous people. Each feature of the landscape is associated with a story, which serves to remind us of important lessons and who we are as a people on this earth.  When I see places, I think of stories that I remember from these places.  They both come at the same time. Mostly, the place suggests a story. So much of this book, and all of my work, is an attempt to re-story the landscape so that we can know our place in it and our responsibility to it.” As  Jane Ciabattari writes in her recent Lit Hub conversation with Sarris: “The Forgetters revives parables passed down through generations, re-envisioned for a twenty-first century world fraught with unnatural  dangers. They offer all of us the possibility of healing, connection, even love.”

Told in the classic style of Southern Pomo and Coast Miwok creation stories, this book vaults from the sacred time before this time to the recent present and even the near future. Heralded as a “a fine storyteller” by Joy Harjo, Greg Sarris offers us these tales in a new genre of his own making. The Forgetters is an astonishment–comforting and startling, inspiring reveries and deepening our love of the world we share.

“Greg Sarris once again tells us a story filled with stories that lift the spirits in troubled times. A wonderful read that transports us to a realm of beauty, kindness, and love of life.” –Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States

Perched atop Gravity Hill, two crow sisters–Question Woman and Answer Woman–recall stories from dawn to dusk. Question Woman cannot remember a single story except by asking to hear it again, and Answer Woman can tell all the stories but cannot think of them unless she is asked. Together they recount the journeys of the Forgetters, so that we may all remember. Unforgettable characters pass through these pages: a boy who opens the clouds in the sky, a young woman who befriends three enigmatic people who might also be animals, two village leaders who hold a storytelling contest. All are in search of a crucial lesson from the past, one that will help them repair the rifts in their own lives.

Greg Sarris is currently serving his sixteenth term as Chairman of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria and his first term as board chair for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. His publications include Keeping Slug Woman Alive (1993), Grand Avenue(1994, reissued 2015), Watermelon Nights (1998, reissued 2021), How a Mountain Was Made (2017, published by Heyday), and Becoming Story (2022, published by Heyday). Greg lives and works in Sonoma County, California. Visit his website at

 Jane Ciabattari is the author of the short story collection Stealing the Fire, is a former National Book Critics Circle president (and current NBCC vice president/events), and a member of the Writers Grotto and She is a columnist for Lit Hub. Her reviews, interviews and culturalcriticism have appeared in NPRBBC CultureThe New York Times Book ReviewThe GuardianBookforum, Paris ReviewThe Washington Post, Boston Globe, and The Los Angeles Times, among other publications.

THE 222 is a small intimate venue. All seats are very good and have a clear view of the stage.

Seating for this concert is general seating club style with round tables that seat four people.

Event Details

Greg Sarris

Date: 06/13/2024

Start time: 19:00 PDT

End time: 20:30 PDT

Venue: THE 222

Directions: 222 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg, California

Phone: 707.473.9152