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Native Drums

Indigenous Observations 

The Tangled Roots of Native Survivance


Three Thousand Thoughts

A Blog of life, learning, and legacy. This exploration is about journeys attempted, in progress, interrupted,
fulfilled, and of discoveries yet to come.

Image by Towfiqu barbhuiya


"One day, I will write you a letter after I have gathered enough words
and enough courage to let them ring in my mute dreams until they sing to me."

Maria Luisa Arroyo, Gatherings

Image by Alex Perez


"I could be you; you could be me; Two raindrops in the same sea
You could be me, I could be you; Two angles of the same view..."

Cold Play, Arabesque

Green Forest


"I had a beautiful dream. I was dancing with a tree.
—Sandra Cisneros...

The deepest-rooted dream of a tree is to walk...
To the edge of the river of life, and drink—
I have heard trees talking, long after the sun has gone down..."

Joy Harjo, Speaking Tree

Mountain Ridge


Driving three thousand miles across six western states teaches me again the beauty of seeing the landscape through the eyes of one who seeks an oasis-- a refuge from "dryness"





Winona Wynn, an enrolled citizen of the Nakoda Nation (Ft. Peck Reservation), lives in the shadow of Mount Adams (Pahto), the guardian of the Yakima Valley. She is a Professor of Humanities and Indigenous Studies at Heritage University, a small private, non-denominational, liberal arts university located in Eastern Washington State on the Yakama Indian Reservation. She earned her Ph.D. in American Studies in May 2009 from Washington State University. Her area of specialization is cultural identity and education, with an emphasis on indigenous community research methodologies. She works extensively with various Yakama Nation Programs, including the tribal courts, foster care, and the cultural museum. Related to this work, she served as Project Director for several grants, including a two-year curriculum development project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, titled, Somos Indios (WE are Indian), and a Department of Education five-year grant, titled, Indigenous Identity Empowerment through Community Engagement. She also directed two consecutive Gates Foundation grants supporting work ranging from environmental sustainability and traditional foods and lifeways to a cultural museum project, titled, The Yakama Nation Cultural Museum and Intergenerational Storytelling.


She is currently wrapping up 15 years of coordinating the Mellon Foundation Undergraduate Fellowship at Heritage University, where for two years, she had the opportunity to direct groups of undergraduate students in community-based research projects at both the University of Capetown and the University of the Western Cape in South Africa. Dr. Wynn’s commitment to indigenous communities has deep roots, which she has nurtured in her children. Three of her daughters each speak a different second language, which represents their global journeys and commitments. There is also a younger daughter,  who is an emerging storyteller, a son who is finding his way, and three rescue dogs who are grateful for a home.

For additional information about the many lives of Dr. Wynn, read her blog—all three sections!

An update: The current project highlighted on the website titled,  We Continue: The Tangled Roots of Native American Survivance, features three notable indigenous women whose stories, representing the intricacies of continuance, voice their connection to each other as they reflect on their experiences and their contribution.

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