Mother Tongue: a reflective conversation on language

Graphic detailing Mother Tongue: a reflective conversation on language with headshots of 3 panelists

In the November issue of MRAC Evolve, our staff shared their thoughts on the relationship MRAC has with language. We want artists to express themselves authentically and that sometimes requires multiple languages. Yet, the majority of art and culture grant-makers require applicants to tell their stories in English. MRAC is exploring this dichotomy and ways to mend the disconnect. To continue this exploration, we are excited to present Mother Tongue: a reflective conversation on language.

Join us on March 28th from 6-7pm for a virtual panel discussion featuring Fatima Camara, Ramona Kitto Stately, Natalia Romero Arbeláez, and moderated by MRAC’s Executive Director, Kathy Mouacheupao. We will continue to discuss why language matters, and explore the interweaving web of how language affects connection, art making, and spaces.

You may register for the event at any time. You will immediately receive instructions to access the event.

Virtual Event Accessibility
The event, held on Zoom, will be interpreted into ASL and live captioned, and will be in English. The event will be archived on the MRAC YouTube channel for future viewing, with the ability to translate captions into any language. ​​If you would like any modifications to aid your participation in this activity, please indicate requests in the registration form or reach out to Sam at or 651-523-6388. For complete details about MRAC’s access services and accommodations, please visit Accessibility at MRAC.

Panelists Bios

Natalia Romero Arbeláez
Originally from Colombia, Natalia Romero Arbeláez is an experienced performer, educator and musician. Natalia works full time as the Choir Director at Harding Senior High School (located in St. Paul, MN)  and can be found singing with the VocalEssence Ensemble Singers, and Border CrosSing, where she also directs a bilingual community choir called Heritage Choir. Natalia holds a Bachelor of Music from Saint Olaf College and is currently pursuing a Master of Music Education at the University of Saint Thomas.

Fatima Camara
Fatima Camara is a writer and spoken word artist from Minneapolis, MN. Not only a TruArtSpeaks (TAS) program alumna, Fatima has worked as the ReVerb Open Mic host, Programs Associate and Be Heard Liaison for TAS. She currently serves as their Administrative Associate.

She is a recent graduate of Metropolitan State University with a degree in Professional/Organizational Communications with a minor in Community Development & Organizing.

Her chapbook, Yellowline, was published through Akashic Book and the African Poetry Book Fund. Fatima’s passion for writing comes from her desire to highlight the stories and experiences of first-generation people here in America. Through her creative work, she hopes for future first generations to have narratives they can reference and relate to.

Ramona Kitto Stately
Ramona Kitto Stately is an enrolled member of the Santee Sioux Dakhóta Nation. She has a BA  in Dakota Art and Culture a minor in Business, and a Masters of Education with an emphasis on Teacher Leadership from Augsburg University. After 15 years teaching Indian Education in Minnesota, she is now Project Director for the We Are Still Here Minnesota, creating action for narrative change. Ramona is the mother of two children, an accomplished beadwork artist with moccasins on display in the Science Museum of Minnesota, and currently serves as the Chairperson of the Minnesota Indian Education Association since 2016. She is a part of the scholars team with of the Minnesota Humanities Center’s for Learning from Place: Bdote, and wrote Pazahiyaywen’s Story of the Bdote as a reflection of inspiration from her Great-Great Grandmother who survived the genocidal tactics during the US Dakota War. In December 2021, she was the Recipient of the Ron McKinley Award from Minnesota Education Equity Partnership whose focus is to build equitable education spaces that uplift and empower Minnesota’s POCI students and advance racial equity and excellence in education

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