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

Storytelling Artisan and Educator

More Testimonials Here

"POWERFUL AND HILARIOUS!"

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

About Alicia

     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.


She 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 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 over 10 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 performs with Sky Road, Coast Miwok throughout Marin County.     https://youtu.be/ViKYQ-QnN6A  

   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

I gratefully reside 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.

I encourage you to learn more about the Coast Miwok Tribal Council of Marin and how to support their current and future projects. Please visit www.coastmiwokofmarin.org

Check out their Youtube video sponsored by the San Geronimo Valley Planning Group Members  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGSTnJmAhqQ

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

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.

Photo by Alicia M. Retes, Hearts Desire Beach 2014 Tule Boat Building - Charles Kenard, Sky Road and Alicia M. Retes

In 2022  Artist In-Residence, San Geronimo Valley Community Center (SGVCC), California. Companion Plant Stories and Corn Leaf Sculptures The West Room Gallery displaye of 100 colorful corn leaf 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. Lagunitas School District Students K-8 had fun crafting corn dolls. She was also the featured performer at SGVCC's Annual International Peace Festival.


Alicia and "the girls" traveled to the Sonoma County Community Center for another month-long residence performing stories and teaching cultural connections. Students crafted dolls, feasted on plant-based meals and wrote and performed short stories. Alicia returns in November to perform The Three Sisters to the larger Sonoma community residents at the Annual Multi-Generational Festival.  

Alicia 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.