Alicia Mary Retes, C.I.G., C.I.T.

Storytelling Artisan and Educator

More Testimonials Here


Tim Tingle, Oklahoma Choctaw, award-winning author and national storyteller.

About Alicia

Alicia promotes and supports other storytellers through Artist Standing Strong Together (ASST, "assist), a nonprofit dedicated to supporting a growing collective of Independent Artist whose mission is to connect t artists with resources. Founders Donna Washington and Sheila Arnold created ASST as a direct result of COVID. Monthly Special Programs (MSP) is an ASST Zoom program with varied topics. As a creative producer and Emcee, Alicia continues to design MSP programs.

"COVID Shape Shifter - Tragedies Turned Triumphant" a show giving voice to personal stories of transforming pandemic tragedies into triumph. From Canada and across the United States including Indigenous Citizens of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and the Wyandotte Nation in Central Sierra Mewuk Territory, 8 performers emerged to share how they adapting their lives and communities for the better.  Feature Tellers: Tim Tingle, BZ Smith, Genevieve N. Franklin, Kristin Pedemonti, Mindy Donner,Laura Simms Mike Tomson and Gail Mello Weaver.


"You and I - Oh My!” Seven Tandem Teller​s perform stories of an event that led them both to share an "Oh My!" moment. 14 performers across the US and Candada, team up to share enticing experiences ranging from truck stop mishaps and camping adventures to love affairs and deepen spiritual connections. Featured Tandem Tellers: Steve Daut & Robin Nott, Howard Liberman & Loren Niemi, Patti Chistensen & James Nielsen The Story Patchwork Story Theater, Linda & Gary Kuntz , Johanne Pelletier & Ronna Levy, Judith Onesty & Les Schafer Two Tellers Telling and Shayne Larango & Hayley Turner.

Over 20 Years Presenting Entertaining and Educational Programs

of Natural History and Indigenous Cultural Narratives.

Born and raised in San Diego California, Alicia spent her summers in Huatabampo, Sonora, Mexico, a Yoreme (Mayo) ceremonial town. She also traveled the family yellow Dodge Dart Station Wagon camping along the West Coast and across the US to national, state and parks. As an adult, she has lived, traveled and explored the ecosystems and Native cultural arts in California, Mexico, Hawaii, Panama and Australia.

Growing up in a bi-lingual, Mexican-American household sparked her fascination with cultural diversity, languages and natural history. For over a year, Alicia lived in a deserted Hawaiian fishing villages spearing fish and lobsters to eat. She traded her catch for tropical fruits and fresh water with a Hawaiian fisherman who came once a month. He would pull his outrigger canoe onto the black sand beach to offload the precious cargo. Quite often they shared his homemade poi together.  

Land Acknowledgement

Alicia resides in the unceded sovereign lands of the Coast Miwok known today as Marin County. Despite the cultural genocide through missionization by the Spanish and the piracy tactics of the English, they are still here and have been here since time immemorial.  Despite years of brutal, oppressive colonial pressure and genocide that continues today, Indigenous People are still here. This is true for the unceded lands of Coast Miwok in Marin County where I reside and the unceded lands of the Yoeme (Yaqui) of Sonora, Mexico and of whom I am descended. They both remain dedicated to upholding and renewing the traditional customs and practices of their ancestors.

She encourages learning more about the Coast Miwok Tribal Council of Marin and supporting their current and future projects. Please visit "Since time immemorial; as long as the sun has filled the days with the gift of light, and as long as the moon has guided our path at night, the Coast Miwok people, who hold the uncontested aboriginal title, have occupied, tended, stewarded, and held sacred ceremonies, defended and governed according to the traditions of their ancestors the unceded lands of present-day Marin County, California".

Check out their Youtube video sponsored by the San Geronimo Valley Planning Group Members

You can also learn about the Coast Miwok and other Indigenous Americans at the Museum of the American Indian, Novato CA

Coast Miwok Teritory also includes Southern Sonoma County. Learn more about the The Federated Indians of Granton Rancheriaat. Please visit

Throughout the Americas, the Indigenous Tribal Nations have maintained a deep understanding and traditional knowledge of North Americas ecosystems and landscapes that allowed them to thrive for thousands of years long before western contact.

Indigenous People and their ancient traditional knowledge are a vital part of our present and future lives on the Earth. We must heed their call to protect all water resources and ecosystems now and for future generations. After all, we are all humans living on the same Mother Earth.

Alicia thrives on exploring Trickster/Shape-Shifter stories like those of Coyote Raven, Rabbit and Frog. In her expressive telling, tricksters become lively interesting, funny characters, who embody a range of human emotions and reactions while providing opportunities to transform preconceived ideas and unite audiences in laughter. Alicia is especially fond of retelling Indigenous stories from her travels to honor the original inhabitants and their land. She fully embraces the unique personality, body, movement, voice and spirit of a variety of characters.

Hearts Desire Beach 2014 Tule Boat building with Charlie Kennard of San Anselmo, a long-time basket weaver and student of California Indian and other traditional basketry techniques of the world.

Alicia has art exhibitions throughout California. In 2012, the  San Geronimo Valley Community Center (SGVCC) hosted a retrospect of her work that included colorful batik hand paintings, black and white silk screen prints, feather art, pinatas and a papier mache' whale vertebra. Guests were entertained with  Hawaiian music including the song Ka O' pai with Alicia playing the didjeridoo with ukulele musician Allen Bernes and Tom Barr on harmonica!

In 2022, Alicia was the SGVCC's Artist In-Residence with her "Companion Plant Stories and Corn Leaf Sculptures" in The West Room Gallery. She displayed 100 character sculptures ranging from 6-inch finger puppets to an 8- foot earth mound replicating The Three Sisters - an ancient Indigenous story about Corn, Bean and Squash.  She also performed this story of peaceful relations for both the Lagunitas students and at the  SGVCC's Annual International Peace Festival. Her project included demonstrating the sculpting techinque and the Lagunitas School District Students K-8 had fun crafting the characters as well.

AFFILIATIONS: Miwok Archeological Preserveof Marin Board Member. Member of the National Storytelling Network, Storytelling Association of California, Marin American Indian Alliance,  Sierra Foothill Storytelling Guild, Texas Doc More Guild, Delta Weavers of San Francisco East Bay and Artist Standing Strong Together.

Alicia shares her work at various Indigenous California gatherings including the Coast Miwok Big Time Celebrations at Kule Loklo, Point Reyes National Seashore, and the Siakumne Tribe and 4 Element Earth Education at the Salmon and Bear Celebrations at Burton Educational Preserve, Nevada County.   For 12 years, Alicia engaged thousands of students learning about the Miwoks and other Native American Indian cultural ways.  She is the former teacher and education director at the Museum of the American Indian, Novato, California. Learn more about their programs and events at

Alicia is an active member of the Marin American Indian Alliance and Board Member with the Miwok Archeology Preserve of Marin. She participates with numerous Miwok cultural workshops and performances with Sky Road, Coast Miwok throughout Marin County.

Alicia incorporates music, including songs of her own composition in English, Spanish, and various Indigenous languages, along with ethnic instruments like the didjeridu taught her by the Aboriginal Australian Tjapukai people. Some performances include her handcrafted, 7-foot cornhusk puppets as well.

Alicia is a consummate artisan with an innate sense of unlimited design possibilites and innovative expressions. Crafting stories, songs, whimsical sculptures, silk screen printings, colorful pinatas, visonary paintings and wearable art, her imagination and passion for creativity is endless. She weaves love in all her projects and relishes in the joy it brings to people.

Elementary students participate with Alicia's Companion Plants Programs crafting corn husk plant characters, feasting on plant-based meals, writting and performing short stories.

     Companion Plants teach respect, cooperation, peaceful relations and the Indigenous traditional art of permaculture. There are over 60 foods worldwide that originate from Indigenous Peoples of the Americas that are world wide from chocolate to potatoes and so many more! Alicia is currently developing additional Companion Plants like Tomato with Cilantro currently on exhibit at the Museum of the American Indidian, Novato through August, 2024. She joins Henri Frank,(Yourok, Pomo) mixed media artist and Jackie Fawn, Yurok/Washoe/Filipino graphic illustrator. www.

     Alicia’s journey with sculpting dolls bloomed in 2013. While telling Native stories at an Earth Day Celebration at Redwood High School, she noticed children racing over to see performances with fabric hand puppets. This prompted her to create and tell stories with corn husk “puppets". Since then she has displayed her corn characters in numerous galleries and shared these stories with libraraies, schools and for special events throughout the Greater Bay Area.

Alicia and "the girls" would love to visit you too!  

Bookings Available. Contact Alicia at     

Bay Area Discovery Museum, Sausalito CA

Performing songs with Sky Road Webb, Miwok Park, Novato, C

Willow Bay Nut Basket by Alicia.

A Storytelling Artisan and Educator for over 20 years, Alicia continues to select stories that promote a closer relationship with nature, land and people. Inspired by the many Indigenous American legends of  The Three Sisters- Corn, Bean and Squash, Alicia's interactive adaptation includes colorful cornhusk characters who reveal their Central and South American origins.

Alicia and "the girls" love traveling, performing stories and making cultural connections.

Alicia and "the girls" love traveling, performing stories and making cultural connections.

Alicia also studies her Yoreme (Mayo) and Yoeme (Yaqui) heritage.

In the 1990's, Alicia camped in the foothills of the Sierra Madre to connect with the Mayo artisans in Sonora, Mexico.  She learned about her grandfathers heritage as a Yoreme and Yoeme descendant, a governmental aristocrat and a rancher born in Huatabampo, a Mayo ceremonial town.  With the help of her Mexican cousins, the Mayo village leaders, the Matachin Dance Society and Custom Video Multimedia Productions, Alicia produced a short documentary. “The Cultural Arts of the Mayo People of Sonora, Mexico” is a glimpse into the enchanting world of the ancient/modern customs of the Yaqui and Mayo Easter Ceremonal traditions dating back to the early seventeenth century. The video was translated into Spanish and donated to the Mayo Cultural Center, Mexico.

Her adaptation of "Yqui Two Bears" adds a twist of fate to this traditional legend of love, betrayal and redemption. In 2021, she performed it for the Tejas Storytelling Conference, "When Home is Two Nations" with Tim Tingle, Oklahoma Choctaw teller and author. He remarked "Powerful and hillarious!"

She has since shared her rendition on Zoom and at many "live" story telling festivals including the Silicon Shaespeare Folktales from Around the World, and variety of Indigenous People's Day cultural celebrations.