As she finished off a Marlboro Red, she stood outside of the entrance to the IAIA library, a woman of statuesque proportions wearing a short black dress. I greeted her with a smile before she stepped on the cigarette, crushing the poor thing. She can usually be seen rushing from class to class, but at this moment she seemed in less of a hurry as she slowly walked through the library of books and students. I noticed as various male students watched as she trotted by, searching for a quiet place to sit.
“They’re all looking at you,” I said, before we settled in a spot in the back of the library.
“No, they’re not,” Kateri Menominee, 26, said as she blushed. It’s a matter of opinion, but I feel she knew exactly what she was doing.
“My mother saw an ad in the Native Peoples Magazine,” Menominee said. “It was an ad about the Summer Film and Television Workshop, and that was what catapulted me into attending [IAIA].”
When Menominee attended the Summer and Film Television Workshop at IAIA, in 2006, it opened her eyes to a plethora of Native -produced and-directed films that she had never heard of. She made it a goal to return the following fall semester and to take in as much creative knowledge as she could.
A poet, fiction writer, playwright, and make-up artist, Menominee has explored many different creative avenues since she began attending IAIA.
“Every day I try to write one or two poems, or add little touches to some stories,” Menominee said. “I like to dabble in everything, but writing is something I’m currently concentrating on now.”
When asked how much her work has changed since attending IAIA, she took a little time to think and revealed that when she first came her writing was still at a high school level. But the help of the writing instructors, both full-time and adjunct faculty, have helped her express what she wanted to convey in a “flowing, even” way.
Menominee expressed that she doesn’t like giving critiques but appreciates when other students critique her work, which has also helped her to become a better writer.
“I think my writing has come a long way, from what it used it be,” she said, smiling.
Menominee has created strong friendships with both students and professors, which she believed never could happen while at home.
“When I first came to IAIA I was very shy,” she said, smiling, putting her hair behind her ears. “I still am a bit shy, but being here [at IAIA] has allowed me to be more open with people.”
After she graduates, Menominee hopes to attend Brown University in Providence, RI, to further expand her writing.
She says, at IAIA, if there have been bad experiences she has moved on, only wanting to remember the moments she cherishes, such as having a hand in some of the plays produced at IAIA and to being published in the student anthologies (Radical Enjambment and Birds, and Other Omens).
While feeling the urge for another cigarette, Menominee added one last thought, “We don’t have a long time on this planet, and I don’t believe in holding grudges or ill feelings towards people.” Her legs crossed, she added, “I have appreciated the friends I have made here, all of them talented and gifted people.”