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.

Alicia also studies her own heritage of Yoreme (Mayo) and Yoeme (Yaqui).  Her most recent piece, Two Bears, Woi Hooso, Dos Osos, adds a twist of fate to the traditional Yoemem “Two Bears” legnd of love, betrayal and redemption. In 2021 she told her version of the story at the Tejas Storytelling Conference, “When Home is Two Nations,” with Tim Tingle, Oklahoma Choctaw teller and author, the Silicon Shakespeare Summer Festival “Folktales from Around the World,” and Indigenous People's Day at Dominican University in San Rafael.

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 has shared 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 nearly 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, Miwok Park Novato, California.  

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 and "the girls" traveled to the Sonoma County Community Center for another month-long residence performing stories and teaching cultural connections.

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.

Why No Faces? There are varying stories of why these beautiful dolls are traditionally made faceless like allowing the child to determine the “personality” of the doll or if a pretty face is painted on the doll, the child might identify too closely a pretty face which may cause conceit or self-pride. “The cool thing about the “dolls” with no face is that anyone can imagine themselves and identify with the doll sculptures without a problem with race - after all when all is said and done – wherever we come from or look like, we are all human beings.” Alicia M. Retes

Elementary students participatied with Alicia Companion Plants Program, crafted dolls, feasted on plant-based meals and wrote and performed short stories.

As a storytelling artisan and educator for well over 20 years, Alicia selects stories that promote a closer relationship with nature, land and people.

Alicia is inspired by the many Indigenous American legends of  The Three Sisters- Corn, Bean and Squash. As a family, they teach respect, cooperation, peaceful relations and the traditional art of permaculture. Alicia's interactive adaptation includes colorful cornhusk characters who reveal their Central and South American origins. She is exploring stories for additional Companion Plants like Tomato and Cilantro; Rose and Garlic. She shares her stories with libraraies, schools and special events throughout the Greater Bay Area. For more information contact

Alicia’s journey with sculpting dolls began 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".

Bay Area Discovery Museum, Sausalito CA

Miwok Park, Novato CA performing songs with Sky Road Webb

Willow Bay Nut Basket made by Alicia.