MARCIE R. RENDON

Marcie Rendon is an enrolled member of the White Earth Nation, author, playwright, poet, and freelance writer. Also a community arts activist, Rendon supports other native artists / writers / creators to pursue their art, and is a speaker for colleges and community groups on Native issues, leadership, writing.

Rendon is an award-winning author of a fresh new murder mystery series, and also has an extensive body of fiction and nonfiction works.

The creative mind behind Raving Native Theater, Rendon has also curated community created performances such as Art Is… Creative Native Resilience, featuring three Anishinabe performance artists, which premiered on TPT (Twin Cities Public Television), June 2019.

Rendon was recognized as a 50 over 50 Change-maker by MN AARP and POLLEN in 2018. Rendon and Diego Vazquez received a 2017 Loft Spoken Word Immersion Fellowship for their work with women incarcerated in county jails.

Watch this video to learn more.

EXCITING NEWS!

McKnight Names Writer Marcie Rendon 2020 Distinguished Artist

The Distinguished Artist Award was created to honor a Minnesota artist who has made significant contributions to the state’s cultural life.

"The Distinguished Artist Award recognizes artists who have chosen to make their lives and careers in Minnesota, thereby making our state a more culturally rich place. Although they had the talent and the opportunity to pursue their work elsewhere, these artists chose to stay—and by staying, they have made a difference. They have founded and strengthened arts organizations, inspired younger artists, and attracted audiences and patrons. Best of all, they have made wonderful, thought-provoking art. The goal of McKnight’s arts funding is to support working artists who create and contribute to vibrant communities. The Foundation’s Arts program is founded on the belief that Minnesota thrives when its artists thrive. The Distinguished Artist Award goes to one Minnesota artist each year... Rendon is the first Native American woman to receive the Distinguished Artist Award, first given in 1996." - McKnight Foundation

“Marcie brings a strong and necessary voice to so many genres,” said Pamela Wheelock, McKnight’s interim president. “She has created a tremendous body of work, including poetry, plays, lyrics, and award-winning crime novels, all while raising up other Native voices in our community. Her commitment to making art in community embodies what a distinguished artist means to Minnesota and to McKnight.”

Photos by Jaida Grey Eagle

The Playwrights’ Center and Network of Ensemble Theaters award collaboration grant to Rendon, Out of Hand Theater (Atlanta, GA)

“The Collaboration Grant was formed to support playwrights and ensembles who desired to work together and could learn from one another while building a specific project together,” commented Jeremy B. Cohen, producing artistic director of the Playwrights’ Center ... Out of Hand has been doing just extraordinary work in the past few years in particular, and this new partnership with longtime PWC writer, Marcie Rendon, is sure to be powerful as it centers the stories of murdered and missing Indigenous women. With a joint focus on new theater for the communities both of these companies serve, I’m beyond excited to see the outcome of their labor.” Read more about these amazing artists and companies at https://bit.ly/31s0u7H

OUT OF HAND THEATER

"SWEET REVENGE"

Rendon's new play "Sweet Revenge" has been selected for a staged reading at the Oklahoma Indigenous Theater Company's 2020 New Native American Play Festival!

Collaboration with Poet Laureate Joy Harjo

"When the Light of the World was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through" a brand new anthology of Native poetry edited by Poet Laureate Joy Harjo, includes the poem: 'what's an indian woman to do...' by Rendon. This anthology features the work of more than 160 poets, celebrating the rich and varied poetry of the Indigenous peoples across Turtle Island (North America). Opening with a blessing from Pulitzer Prize–winner N. Scott Momaday, each section begins with a poem from traditional oral literatures and closes with emerging poets. From Eleazar, a seventeenth-century Native student at Harvard, to Jake Skeets, a young Diné poet born in 1991, this volume also includes renowned writers such as Luci Tapahanso, Natalie Diaz, Layli Long Soldier, and Ray Young Bear.

2020 EDGAR NOMINEE

"Girl Gone Missing" was nominated for the G.P. Putnam Sons' Sue Grafton Memorial Award, honoring the best novel in a series featuring a female protagonist in a series.

Murder Mystery Novel Series

Murder on the Red

Rendon's first novel in the Cash murder mystery series. Murder on the Red River (2017 Cinco Puntos Press) introduces us to "Cash" Renee Blackbear. It's the 1970s, in a rural and small town part of the world where the Red River divides Minnesota and North Dakota.

It’s a tough place to live but Cash is tough as nails herself - has been, ever since a mysterious lawman Sheriff Wheaton pulled her from her mother’s wrecked car when she was three. He kept an eye out for her as she navigated through foster homes, started working farms at age 13, and led a hardcore lifestyle of drinking, smoking, and playing pool in her off hours - all for cash.

Wheaton wants her to take hold of her life, get into junior college. Then a dead Indian is found lying in a field, and Cash dreams about the dead man’s HUD house on the Red Lake Reservation, mother and kids waiting. She has that kind of knowing. That’s the place to start looking. There’s a long and dangerous way to go to find the men who killed him.

Murder on the Red River won the Pinckley Women’s Debut Crime Novel Award, 2018. It was a Western Writers of America Spur Award Finalist 2018 in the Contemporary Novel category.

"Feisty, sensitive, and smart." - Publishers Weekly

Rendon delves deep into the history of Native American communities and the danger of forcing assimilation on a community outside the mainstream of American cultural norms."- Twin Cities Pioneer Press

Girl Gone Missing

Girl Gone Missing (Cinco Puntos Press 2019) is the second novel in the Cash murder mystery series.

Cash is back! Renee "Cash" Blackbear is now in college, and it turns out she’s smart, real smart. But she’s also like a duck out of water at Moorhead State. Her classmates and professors talk mostly about nothing, not like the working men she’s known all her life who talk dirt and fertilizer, weather and prices on the Grain Exchange.

Then Cash hears about a blonde girl in her English class who has gone missing... and then another. She begins to dream they are calling for help, and they’re in Minneapolis. She’s never been far from the Red River. Suddenly, she’s locked inside a room with the lost girls. She needs to find a way out.

“Against the landscape of a 1970s college town, the disappearance of a classmate draws Cash into a web of dreams, deceit and danger...Cash grows in maturity to a young woman tough and resourceful, generous of spirit, protective, and courageous. A wonderful read, heart-stopping, heartrending and heartening, often all at the same time.” Linda LeGarde Grover, author of The Road Back to Sweetgrass

"The vivid writing and keen eye keep the pages turning and readers hoping for another book in this series."Wendy J. Fox, Buzzfeed

2020 Edgar Award Nominee for best novel in a series featuring a female protagonist.

Nonfiction Works

Farmer's Market

In this profile of two families, the Thaos (Hmong) and the Kornders (Polish-German), adults and children work together to raise food from seedlings to harvest, and sell the produce at an international farmers' market in Minnesota. CarolRhoda

Powwow Summer

Life is a circle, just like the seasons, from youth through old age.

Follow this indigenous family as they travel from their home on the Red Lake Reservation in Minnesota to powwows all around the region. MN Historical Press

Native Artists

This work shares the livelihoods, resources, space, and gifts of Native American artists living in Minnesota. By Marcie Rendon, Ann Markusen. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota, 2009

Artistic Statement

We are kept in their mindset as “vanished peoples.” Or as workers, not creators… What does this erasing of individual identity do to us? Can you believe you exist if you look in a mirror and see no reflection? What happens when one group controls the mirror market?

As Native people, we have known that in order to survive we had to create, re-create, produce, re-produce. The effect of the denial of our existence is that many of us have become invisible…the systematic disruption of our families by the removal of our children was effective for silencing our voices.

However, not (everyone) can still that desire, that up-welling inside that says sing, write, draw, move, be… we can sing our hearts out, tell our stories, paint our visions…we are in a position to create a more human reality…in order to live we have to make our own mirrors.