About Me

I am an egungun (ancestral) priest in the Yoruba Orisa tradition, a Reiki Master, healer, poet, writer, teacher, and scholar who focuses on the recovery of ancestral memory from the Earth and human body.

I have been trained by or have worked with incredible healers and priests, including Iya Fatola Osunrete, Baba Ifatunji, Robin “Osunnike” Scott-Manna, Billie Topa Tate, Sobonfu Some, and Malidoma Some.

At this moment in time, I am a doctoral candidate in the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies (AAADS) at Indiana University. I hold an MA in Women and Gender Studies from DePaul University (Chicago), a certificate in Teaching About Africa from Northeastern Illinois University, and a BA in English Literature with a Fiction Writing Concentration from Northwestern University (Evanston).

My areas of research include African American Literature and Creative Writing; Memory and Trauma; Embodied Memory; the Transatlantic Slave Trade and Middle Passage; Community Healing, Grieving, and Ritual; Yoruba Orisa Practices; Thanatology; Ancestral Practices; Mourning and Funeral Practices; and Brasil (Bahia and Itaparica).

I am the author of three poetry chapbooks, including Wishful Thinking. Excerpts of my memory work, The Ariran’s Last Life, have been performed at the Buskirk-Chumley Theatre, and published in Best African American Fiction 2010, The Kenyon Review, and Let Spirit Speak! (SUNY Press).

Excerpts from my memoir, Arroyo, detailing my trip, which retraced the Middle Passage routes by sailing from Puerto Rico to Brasil with Captain Bill Pinkney, have been published in nocturnes. Interviews about my trip can be found on Bloomington Public Radio (WFHB).

My poems have been anthologized in Gathering Ground, Beyond the Frontier: African American Poetry for the 21st Century, Knowing Stones: Poems of Exotic Places, I Feel A Little Jumpy Around You, and Catch the Fire, Jane’s Stories, Lorraine and James, and rhino.

Sankofa in Action, my community healing process, has been published in Black Diaspora Review. I am also co-editor of a chapbook of narratives by immigrant women published by Jane’s Stories Press (2012), as well as a special issue of Black Diaspora Review (Indiana University, Spring 2011).

I am a Cave Canem Fellow, and have received fellowships from Norcroft, Sacatar (Brasil), and Ragdale foundations.

I served as poet and ritualist-in-residence for the UNESCO-Transatlantic Slave Trade Route-USA Project for 7 years.

And, I am the creator of The Arroyo Healing Network and “Tell Them Arroyo Sent You.”

You can find out more about me and read excerpts of my work on Academia.edu.

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