The Forgetters


Told in the classic style of Southern Pomo and Coast Miwok creation stories, this book vaults from the sacred time before this time to the recent present and even the near future. Heralded as a “a fine storyteller” by Joy Harjo, Greg Sarris offers us these tales in a new genre of his own making. The Forgetters is an astonishment—comforting and startling, inspiring reveries and deepening our love of the world we share.

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“Make sacrifices. Invest your time and money in a real future. Think of others. Think of tomorrow.”


Quote from Tribal Chairman Greg Sarris’ article for the March 2021 Newsletter of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria.

Creative work by Greg-Sarris

New Publication

The Forgetters: Stories

Perched atop Gravity Hill, two crow sisters—Question Woman and Answer Woman—recall stories from dawn to dusk. Question Woman cannot remember a single story except by asking to hear it again, and Answer Woman can tell all the stories but cannot think of them unless she is asked. Together they recount the journeys of the Forgetters, so that we may all remember. Unforgettable characters pass through these pages: a boy who opens the clouds in the sky, a young woman who befriends three enigmatic people who might also be animals, two village leaders who hold a storytelling contest. All are in search of a crucial lesson from the past, one that will help them repair the rifts in their own lives.

Greg Sarris once again tells us a story filled with stories that lift the spirits in troubled times

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
        Author of An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States
New Publication

Becoming Story

For the first time in more than twenty-five years, Greg Sarris—whose novels are esteemed alongside those of Louise Erdrich and Stephen Graham Jones—presents a book about his own life. In Becoming Story he asks: What does it mean to be truly connected to the place you call home—to walk where innumerable generations of your ancestors have walked? And what does it mean when you dedicate your life to making that connection even deeper? Moving between his childhood and the present day, Sarris creates a kaleidoscopic narrative about the forces that shaped his early years and his eventual work as a tribal leader. He considers the deep past, historical traumas, and possible futures of his homeland. His acclaimed storytelling skills are in top form here, and he charts his journey in prose that is humorous, searching, and profound. A gently powerful memoir, Becoming Story is also a master class in the art of belonging to the place where you live.

A fascinating and evocative memoir in essays.

Kirkus Reviews, starred review
New Publication

Watermelon Nights

In Watermelon Nights, Greg Sarris tells a powerful tale about the love and forgiveness that keep a modern Native American family together in Santa Rosa, California. Told from the points of view of a twenty-year-old Pomo man named Johnny Severe, his grandmother Elba, and his mother, Iris, this intergenerational saga uncovers the secrets—and traumatic events—that inform each of these characters’ extraordinary powers of perception. First published in 1998, Watermelon Nights remains one of the few works of fiction to illuminate the experiences of urban Native Americans and is the only one to depict the historical conditions that shape a tribe’s rural-to-urban migration.
This new edition of the novel features a revised preface by the author and an afterword by Reginald Dyck, who identifies broader contexts important to our understanding of the novel, including tribal sovereignty, federal Indian policy, and the effects of historical trauma. Gritty yet rich in emotion, Watermelon Nights stands beside the works of Louise Erdrich, Stephen Graham Jones, and Tommy Orange.

New Publication

How A Mountain Was Made

Now available in paperback! In the tradition of Calvino’s Italian Folktales, Greg Sarris, author of the award-winning novel Grand Avenue, turns his attention to his ancestral homeland of Sonoma Mountain in Northern California. In sixteen interconnected original stories, the twin crows Question Woman and Answer Woman take us through a world unlike yet oddly reminiscent of our own: one which blooms bright with poppies, lupines, and clover; one in which Water Bug kidnaps an entire creek; in which songs have the power to enchant; in which Rain is a beautiful woman who keeps people’s memories in stones. Inspired by traditional Coast Miwok and Southern Pomo creation tales, these stories are timeless in their wisdom and beauty, and because of this timelessness their messages are vital and immediate.

“These are charming and wise stories, simply told, to be enjoyed by young and old alike—’stories need us if they are to come forth and have life too.’”

Kirkus Reviews
New Publication

Weaving the Dream

A world-renowned Pomo basket weaver and medicine woman, Mabel McKay expressed her genius through her celebrated baskets, her Dreams, her cures, and the stories with which she kept her culture alive. She spent her life teaching others how the spirit speaks through the Dream, how the spirit heals, and how the spirit demands to be heard.

“In his endeavor to write about McKay, the celebrated Pomo basket weaver and medicine woman, Sarris has been able to find his own identity. Part American Indian, Filipino, and Jewish, he was adopted at birth and is now chief of the Coast Miwok tribe. His bonding with this extraordinary individual and his growth during their relationship is described throughout the book. . . . McKay’s life, simple yet spiritual, is as quintessential as the baskets she wove. Her stories are poignantly collected and captured in this biography.”

Library Journal

Tribal Work

Greg Sarris is currently the Tribal Chairman of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria. He is in his sixteenth consecutive elected term as Chairman of the Tribe and is currently leading the Tribe in its economic development endeavors. Greg oversees all business negotiations and the daily operations of the Tribe. Greg spearheaded the effort to build a casino, the Graton Resort and Casino, which opened November 2013. A large portion of the profits from the casino will be given back to the community where it is located, Sonoma County and the City of Rohnert Park, for the preservation of public parks and open spaces, and for the establishment of low-cost organic farming for low income members of the community. Learn more about Greg Sarris and all that he has accomplished for his tribe and community.

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Press: Interviews, Review, Articles

What’s Missing in ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’
Killers of the Flower Moon, Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-nominated film, begins with Osage men somberly performing a traditional pipe ceremony. It cuts to a slow-motion scene of tribal members exuberantly dancing in a field, crude oil gushing around them. Get it? Indians are sacred, ancient in their care and devotion to the natural world. Suddenly, though, they will be challenged by settler wealth and greed.
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Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria and Sonoma State University Celebrate Opening of Refurbished Center at SSU’s Osborn Preserve
On Tuesday, January 16, Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria (FIGR) and Sonoma State University (SSU), celebrated the opening of the FIGR Learning Center at SSU’s Fairfield Osborn Preserve, marking what Claudia Luke, Director of SSU’s Center for Environmental Inquiry called the beginning of a profound, place-based partnership.
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The University of Utah honors scholar Greg Sarris with Award in Environmental Humanities
As chair of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, Greg Sarris, distinguished chair emeritus of Native American Studies at Sonoma State University, has an extensive body of humanities work that spans media and genres: novels, memoir, film, theater, and more. In recognition of the work he has done to protect Indigenous knowledges, lands, and peoples, Sarris will receive the 2023 Utah Award in the Environmental Humanities from the University of Utah’s Environmental Humanities Graduate Program.
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Greg Sarris, chairman of Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, appointed to UC Board of Regents
Greg Sarris, chairman of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, has been appointed to the University of California Board of Regents, it was announced Thursday The appointment, by Gov. Gavin Newsom, requires confirmation by the state Senate.
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Sundance Institute Receives $4M To Support Indigenous Filmmakers In California
The Federated Indians of Granton Rancheria has gifted the Sundance Indigenous Program $4 million to empower Indigenous filmmakers from California tribes. The gift will help fund a fellowship, workshops and grants for Indigenous creators in the state.
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Ceremony marks start of $1 billion Graton Resort and Casino expansion
Plans at the 254-acre casino site call for a gaming floor almost twice the current size, with 2,000 more slot machines and an additional 200-plus hotel rooms, making it one of California’s three largest gaming facilities, led by the Yaamava’ Resort & Casino on the outskirts of San Bernardino. The $1 billion expansion is shaping up as the largest commercial construction project in Sonoma County in years.
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The Last Woman from Petaluma
Her Indian name, or at least one of her Indian names, the only one any of us know, was Tsupu. She was my great-great-grandfather’s mother, or my great-great-great grandmother, and, again as far as any of us know, the last native of Petaluma, not the city we know today, but the ancient Coast Miwok village of the same name. Certainly, she was the last to pass down any memory of the place. She was quite young, perhaps fourteen, when she left, beginning what would become a chaotic, wholly incredible journey to find and keep a home in and about Sonoma County.
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On Sacred Places
Tom Smith. A simple name. Not so the man. My great-great-grand-father. Father and grandfather and great-grandfather to many Coast Miwok and Pomo people. I’ve told stories about him, stories I have heard, stories others tell: how he performed miracles healing the sick and built the last traditional Coast Miwok roundhouse on the point at Jenner, above the mouth of the Russian River, and orchestrated time immemorial Coast Miwok ceremonies there; how he charmed women with songs gathered like abalone from special rocks under the waters of Bodega Bay.
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Not ancient stories about the time, before this one, when the animals were still people, before Coyote messed things up with his hapless machinations. Nor the dark room, warm but still black as the cold, mid-winter night outside, with nothing but the floating voice of the story teller impersonating the people in the stories…
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This Bay Area Company Raised Wages in the Pandemic. Will more follow?
“The cost of living in the Bay Area is so high and so many people pay a really large portion of their income towards rent,” said Aamir Deen, the president of Unite Here Local 49, which represents casino workers like Duroux. “This makes that portion more manageable,” he said of the pay raises.
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How this $250K grant aims to support Sonoma County migrant families
To help their efforts, the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria (FIGR) presented the collaborative with a $250,000 grant to continue to provide needed legal and social services for the underserved.
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Contact Greg Sarris


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