By Mark Anthony Rolo
As the founder and managing editor of Kegedonce Press, Kateri has to be an aggressive advocate for broadening the literary landscape in order to promote the work of her writers.
That is the way Kegedonce has had to do business from day one. Publishing has been a financial and cultural struggle for Kateri’s company to earn a decent share of the market because she believes the mainstream publishing industry continues to marginalize the voices of Indigenous writers as “fringe” or “niche.”
As a poet and activist for Indigenous rights, Kateri found a diverse group of Native writers who were eager to tell their own stories, but feared rejection from mainstream publishers they believed would not understand or “get” their interior worlds. She also found many talented writers who gave up on submitting their work to mainstream publishers because they did not feel non-Native editors believed they could make a decent profit selling their work.
With a few thousand dollars in the bank, Kateri wanted to do more than publish books that would sit on shelves or coffee tables. Her decision to create Kegedonce was intensely fueled by the desire to support and build Indigenous communities by giving voice to an oppressed population.
One of only three publishers of Indigenous writing in North America, Kegedonce is the only publisher that makes poetry a high priority. Besides being a poet, Kateri believes that many young Native writers get into writing through poetry. Publishing can be considered daring given the number of mainstream publishers that have stopped printing the literary form.
The decision to publish work considered to be offbeat, surreal and loaded with plays of tribal mythology might be seem like a reason why it is very difficult to get support from potential funders.
Below: Fight the power, Kateri!