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An indigiqueer individual with dark hair pulled back into a low ponytail wears a burnt orange sweater and stares straight ahead with a slight smile.

Ty Defoe


Ty Defoe (he/we) is an indigiqueer citizen of the Oneida and Anishinaabe Nations. A writer, interdisciplinary artist, writer/director and Grammy Award winner.

Ty aspires to interweaving and glitterizing approaches to artistic projects emphasizing climate awareness.  Ty’s global cultural arts highlights: the Millennium celebration in Cairo, Egypt; Ankara, Turkey, International Music Festival; Festival of World Cultures in Dubai, UAE, and Lincoln Center, New York. Awards: Global Indigenous Heritage Festival Award, Jonathan Larson Award, Helen Merrill Playwriting Award, First People’s Fund Cultural Capital Fellow, Sundance Fellow, Robert Rauschenberg Artist in Residence, Kennedy Center’s NEXT 50, and MacDowell Fellow. Works created and authored: Trail and Tears (w/ Dawn Avery) River of Stone, Red Pine, The Way They Lived (Metropolitan Museum of Art), Ajijaak on Turtle Island, Hear Me Say My Name, The Lesson (w/ Avi Amon and Nolan Doran), Firebird Tattoo, Copper Horns in Water (First Stage), and Ballad of Smokey Quartz (The Public, NYC), Our Words Are Seeds (Syracuse Stage),  among others. Ty world builds tactile and digital spaces as a way to imagine rematriating artistic narrative forward. Current release of VR and digital media projects with indigenous futurism: ANAKWAD (w/ Dov Heichemer and _alpha), CIRCLE, and Strong Like Flower (w/ Katherine Freer). Publications: Casting a Movement: The Welcome Table Initiative, Pitkin Review, Kalíhwisaks, Thorny Locust Magazine, Howl Round, Routledge Press, and The Methuen Drama Book of Trans Plays for the Stage, among others. Director: The Winter Bear (Perseverance Theater), Midsummer Night’s Dream (Arizona Shakespeare Company). Movement Direction: Mother Road, Dir. Bill Rausch (OSF), Manahatta, Dir. Laurie Woolery (OSF + Yale Rep), and Choreographer for Tracy Lett’s The Minutes (Broadway), 1491s Between Two Knees (Dir. Eric Ting, National Tour). Ty is also an artEquity facilitator, co-founder of Indigenous Direction (w/Larissa FastHorse). Member of All My Relations Collective. Netflix: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Spirit Rangers (animated series), and Broadway debut in Young Jean Lee’s Straight White Men (Dir. Anna Shapiro). Degrees from CalArts, Goddard College, + NYU Tisch. Lives in NYC + loves the color clear.

Photo courtesy of Ty Defoe.