An Evening with Joy Harjo - SOLD-OUT


Joshua Tree Retreat Center

59700 Twentynine Palms Highway, Joshua Tree 

Space is limited. Reservations required.

As the event has been moved indoors, capacity is very limited. We are asking previous ticketholders to reconfirm their reservations before opening reservations to the public (availability permitting). Please check your email inbox for information on how to transfer your reservation to the new program date. Masks and proof of vaccination will be required. Thank you for your patience and understanding.


Help us welcome United States poet laureate Joy Harjo to the Morongo Basin for a one-night special event. In this poetry reading with commentary, Harjo will read from and discuss the themes of An American Sunrise.


In 2019, Joy Harjo was appointed the 23rd United States Poet Laureate, the first Native American to hold the position and only the second person to serve three terms in the role. Harjo’s nine books of poetry include An American SunriseConflict Resolution for Holy Beings, How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems, and She Had Some Horses. She is also the author of two memoirs, Crazy Brave and Poet Warrior, which invites us to travel along the heartaches, losses, and humble realizations of her “poet-warrior” road. She has edited several anthologies of Native American writing including When the Light of the World was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through — A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry, and Living Nations, Living Words, the companion anthology to her signature poet laureate project. Her many writing awards include the 2019 Jackson Prize from the Poetry Society of America, the Ruth Lilly Prize from the Poetry Foundation, the 2015 Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets, and the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. She is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, Board of Directors Chair of the Native Arts & Cultures Foundation, and holds a Tulsa Artist Fellowship. A renowned musician, Harjo performs with her saxophone nationally and internationally; her most recent album is I Pray For My Enemies. She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Co-presented with the Joshua Tree Retreat Center.

Photograph: Matika Wilbur


Virtual Reading:

OCT. 24 - 4PM (online)

In honor of Joy Harjo's acclaimed new poetry anthology, When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through: A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry, this roundtable will feature poetry readings by contributors Deborah Miranda (Ohlone/Costanoan-Esselen and Chumash), Casandra López (Cahuilla/Tongva/Luiseno) and Kim Shuck (Cherokee).


Moderated by Ruth Nolan, Professor of Creative Writing at College of the Desert.

Co-presented with College of the Desert.

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Artist Talk:
In Conversation with Gerald Clarke
and Cara Romero

OCT. 27 - 5PM (online)

Leading artists Gerald Clarke and Cara Romero, working from the perspective of the current day indigenous experience, present their work and discuss what’s needed to develop a lively contemporary indigenous art scene in Southern California. 

Moderated by Bernard Leibov, Founder and Director of BoxoPROJECTS, a residency and programming initiative based in Joshua Tree, CA, and co-founder and co-curator of the Joshua Treenial.

Gerald Clarke Jr. was born in 1967 in Hemet, California and is an enrolled member of the Cahuilla Band of Indians.  He currently lives and works on the Cahuilla Indian reservation located in Southern California. From Gerald’s statement: "I express my Cahuilla perspective as a 21st Century citizen of the world and the passion, pain, and reverence I feel as a contemporary Cahuilla person”. Gerald’s work has been exhibited extensively including his recent solo exhibition at Palm Springs Art Museum. Gerald currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of California-Riverside and teaches classes in California indigenous history and culture, contemporary Native American art and related social issues. 

Cara Romero was born in 1977 in Inglewood, CA and is a contemporary fine art photographer. An enrolled citizen of the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe, Romero was raised between contrasting settings: the rural Chemehuevi reservation in Mojave Desert, CA and the urban sprawl of Houston, TX. Romero’s identity informs her photography, a blend of fine art and editorial photography, shaped by years of study and a visceral approach to representing Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultural memory, collective history, and lived experiences from a Native American female perspective. Maintaining a studio in Santa Fe, NM, Romero regularly participates in Native American art fairs and panel discussions, and was featured in PBS’ Craft in America (2019), the same year she participated in Desert X.

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Book Discussions:

Join fellow Big Readers for book discussions on the themes of the 2021 featured book An American Sunrise by Joy Harjo. 

Times & Locations (no registration required unless noted):

OCT. 7   - 6PM Greenleaf Library at CMC

OCT. 9   - 2PM Twentynine Palms Library

OCT. 13 - 5PM Joshua Tree Library

OCT. 18 - 5PM Yucca Valley Library

OCT. 19 - 6PM Hi-Desert Contemporary Literature Club

                       (register HERE)


Thought Theatre's The D(i)ce Squad

OCT. 3, 4 & 5 - Times 7PM

Windwalkers Medicine Wheel

6930 Lawrence Avenue, Joshua Tree

Join Thought Theatre as they examine the roots of systematic oppression through dramatic presentations, followed by post-show audience discussions.


Directed & Conceived by Miri Hunter.  


With Kevin Hayles,  Ann Van Haney, Miri Hunter, and special guests.

A Thought Theatre Production.


Open Reading: 
Cholla Needles 58 - The Big Read Issue

OCT. 6 - 5PM (no registration required)

Joshua Tree Folk School at the Joshua Tree Retreat Center

59700 Twentynine Palms Highway, Joshua Tree

Enter through the side gate on Yucca Mesa and Hwy 62.

Please bring your own camping chair if you have one.

No reservations required.

Enjoy the open reading of the Terra issue featuring local writers Leslie Shaw, Cynthia Anderson, John Brantingham, Caryn Davidson, Jeffrey Alfier, Tobi Alfier, Ruth Nolan, John C. Krieg, L. I. Henley, Dave Maresh, Tony Soares, and Simon Perchik.

Visit to submit your own work to our monthly literary magazine!

Cover Photograph by Caryn Davidson.

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When Wind Becomes Words

OCT. 9 - 6PM (2nd Saturdays)

Beatnik Lounge 

61568 Twentynine Palms Highway, Joshua Tree

Indoor program - masks will be required to enter the gallery and indoor capacity will be limited throughout the evening.

Explore the October Beatnik Lounge art exhibition “When Wind Becomes Words” which celebrates An American Sunrise with work by local artists inspired by a poem, stanza or phrase from the book. 


Drive-in Film Screening:
Warrior Women

OCT. 20 - 6.30PM

Copper Mountain College

In the 1970s, with the swagger of unapologetic Indianness, organizers of the American Indian Movement (AIM) fought for Native liberation and survival as a community of extended families.

Warrior Women is the story of Madonna Thunder Hawk, one such AIM leader who shaped a kindred group of activists' children - including her daughter Marcy - into the "We Will Remember" Survival School as a Native alternative to government-run education. Together, Madonna and Marcy fought for Native rights in an environment that made them more comrades than mother-daughter. Today, with Marcy now a mother herself, both are still at the forefront of Native issues, fighting against the environmental devastation of the Dakota Access Pipeline and for Indigenous cultural values.

Through a circular Indigenous style of storytelling, this film explores what it means to navigate a movement and motherhood and how activist legacies are passed down and transformed from generation to generation in the context of colonizing government that meets Native resistance with violence.

Documentary, 2018, 65 minutes.


Co-presented with Copper Mountain College and the Copper Mountain College Foundation

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Drive-In Film Screening:

OCT. 21 - 6.30PM

Copper Mountain College

RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked The World tells the story of a profound, essential, and, until now, missing chapter in the history of American music: the Indigenous influence. Many artists and musical forms played a role in the creation of rock, but arguably no single piece of music was more influential than the 1958 instrumental “Rumble” by American Indian rock guitarist and singer/songwriter Link Wray.

 Featuring music icons Charley Patton, Mildred Bailey, Link Wray, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Jimi Hendrix, Jesse Ed Davis, Robbie Robertson, Redbone, Randy Castillo, and Taboo, RUMBLE shows how these talented Native musicians helped shape the soundtracks of our lives.

Documentary, 2017, 102 minutes.

Co-presented with Copper Mountain College and the Copper Mountain College Foundation


Learning Landscapes - Talk:
Tribes of the Mojave Desert

OCT. 8 - 4 to 6PM (online)

The Native American Land Conservancy will host presentations with the Tribal communities that are associated with the Mojave Desert. Join this unique discussion to learn the history and be introduced to the different cultures in the region.