Our History

He remarked that in our advocation as Native writers, involved as we are in taking our literature back to them in the form of stories and songs, we were actually returning the gift--the gift of storytelling, culture, continuance--to the people, the source from whence it had come.

Founded in 1992, Returning the Gift Literary Festival (RTG) is a conference created by Indigenous writers specifically for Indigenous creatives after years of under representation and isolation at other industry events. Since then, RTG conferences have been held all over the United States and Canada, included Indigenous artists and authors from all over the world, and honored the work of many amazing Indigenous creators.

On the 25th anniversary of that first conference, we established Returning the Gift Inc–a nonprofit organization focused on Indigenous advocacy, collaboration, education, language preservation, mentorship, and peer recognition. RTG Inc is the infrastructure that will be responsible for the sustainability of the literary festival and its collaborative projects within indigenous communities. 25th Anniversary celebration events also include a four-day festival with the theme of “Gathering at Our Headwaters,” and an upcoming literary anthology.