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All the world’s waters are connected.
Each of us have stories about water—rivers, oceans, streams, rain, and storm. We are dedicated to acknowledging our vital and continuing connection to, and preservation of, the waters closest to us.

A celebration of the Chippewa River and the communities that live along it. Gifts For The River has created an online living notebook of artistic, musical, cinematic, and environmental contributions which will be shared and discussed at the event, along with local poetry and video projections.

Gifts For The River seeks to:

  • Honor the intersections of nature, story, art, traditional ecological knowledge, and community

  • Encourage peace through intercultural engagements

  • Help foster a deeper sense of place

  • Preserve Mother Earth

  • Acknowledge local tribal nations and the sanctity of the earth’s waters



Ty Defoe (Giizhig)

Denison visiting artist

TY DEFOE  (Giizhig) is from the Oneida and Ojibwe Nations. He is an interdisciplinary-hyphenated artist, activist, writer, cultural worker, and shape-shifter. As a two-spirit person Ty aspires to an integral approach to artistic projects, social justice, indigeneity, and environmentalism.  Ty’s frequents his own community where he learned to hoop dance, eagle dance, and play a variety of wooden flutes. He lives in NYC and loves the color clear. He | Him | They | We | Us


Denise Fanning


Denise Fanning is an observer, explorer, gatherer, and maker. She traverses her environment, quietly searching for evidence of all that gets left behind by the lives of the rivers, lakes, and forests, and of the human lives that inhabit these spaces. 

Follow her one-day projects and more on instagram @denisewfanning_maker.


Ari Berk, PhD.

Professor of Folklore and Myth, Central Michigan University

Dr. Ari Berk is a writer, visual artist, folklorist/mythologist, screenwriter, dramaturg and film consultant. His award-winning publications have included works on myth and ancient cultures, as well as popular books for both children and adults. Ari holds degrees in Ancient History and American Indian Studies, as well as a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Culture. He has studied at Oxford in the UK, and he currently sits on the advisory board of the Mythic Imagination Institute (Atlanta, Georgia). He walks by the river every day. 


Kate Freer

Multimedia Artist

Katherine Freer is a multimedia designer working in theater, installation, and film. Her work is driven by the love of storytelling and belief in its power to shift reality. Her background in narrative film, documentary, animation, and computer science combine to generate work that is not only aesthetically beautiful, but pushes convention boundaries. She is a proud member of United Scenic Artists Local USA 829, Wingspace Theatrical Design, and a teaching artist with Roundabout Education.


Adelka Polak

Puppet Artist

Adelka Polak is a puppeteer, dancer, mask-performer, and movement director who founded Sova Dance & Puppet Theater in 2013. She works throughout Connecticut as a Teaching Artist in early learning programs, the public schools and in rural landscapes practicing interdisciplinary art to create puppet & dance theater.  Sova Theater advocates responsibility to humanity and the environment through arts and education.


Alan Shi


Alan Shi is a director, producer, editor, writer, cinematographer, and videographer that produces a wide range of videos.​

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