DeLesslin “Roo” George-Warren is a citizen of the Catawba Nation, an artist, performer, and researcher interested in conflict, colonialism, democracy, and indigenous futures. The artist engages their tribal community on issues such as language revitalization and food sovereignty and collaborates to “transform existing scripts and reweave them into a more resilient, more sovereign Catawba Nation.” The “strands” of their practice come together in yękαpįsαwačαre, “which implies both making art and helping someone else develop skills.”
In 2014 he graduated with a Bachelors in Music from Vanderbilt University where he studied Voice and Composition with a focus on socially engaged performance and the use of extended vocal technique and emerging methods of composition. During his time at Vanderbilt he received several awards including a Summer Research Fellowship that allowed him to spend a summer in New York City creating new work including Vigil: Drone Strike in Memoriam, Snapping Turtle || Wishing Well, and 8033237638. These works and more can be found at delesslin.com
After graduating, DeLesslin moved to Washington, DC where he worked on digital literacy and became involved in the vibrant theater community as a performer, audio designer, and devisor on productions such as Tyger (Banished Productions) and The Earth That is Sufficient (Annalisa Dias, Welders). From 2014 – 2016 he was a member of the Sparkplug 2.0 Fellowship where he developed works such as this is never coming out. DeLesslin’s work seeks to weave together his lived experience as a citizen of the Catawba Indian Nation, his fascination with the theatre of research, and various kinds of embodied practices.
DeLesslin’s longest ongoing project has been his Indigenous Corps of Discovery tours, which present unsettling tours of collections and museums, bringing to the forefront stories of indigenous peoples, colonization, and survivance. The tour began in 2016 at the Smithsonian’s Presidential Portrait Gallery and has also visited the Utah Museum of Fine Arts’ “Go West!” Exhibition (2017).
In 2018 DeLesslin was recognized as a “40 Under 40 in Indian Country” by the National Council on American Indian Enterprise Development. He was selected as a 2017 Dreamstarter by Running Strong for American Indian Youth and in 2016 he was recognized as a “25 Under 25” by United National Inter Tribal Youth.
DeLesslin has performed, lectured, and exhibited throughout the U.S., including the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, College of Charleston, Vanderbilt University, Ithaca College, and more.