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Plenary Speakers

Tanaya Winder
The Resistance and Resilience of Heartwork
Monday, June 12, 2017
9–10 a.m.
Location: Hyatt Regency Tamaya
Room: Tamaya Ballroom

Tanaya Winder, a poet, writer, and educator, grew up on the Southern Ute reservation in Ignacio, Colo. An enrolled member of the Duckwater Shoshone Tribe, her ethnic background includes Southern Ute, Pyramid Lake Paiute, Navajo, and Black. Winder writes and teaches about different expressions of love (self-love, intimate love, social love, community love, and universal love). A winner of the 2010 A Room of Her Own Foundation’s Orlando Prize in Poetry, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Cutthroat magazine, Superstition Review, Drunken Boat, and Kweli Journal, among other publications. Her poems from her manuscript “Love in a Time of Blood Quantum” were produced and performed by Poetic Theater Productions in New York City. In 2015, West End Press published Words Like Love, her debut poetry collection.

Winder has taught writing courses at Stanford University, the University of Colorado at Boulder, and the University of New Mexico. She has a BA in English from Stanford University and a MFA in creative writing from UNM. She is a cofounder and the editor-in-chief of As/Us: A Space for Women of the World. Winder is a guest lecturer and teaches creative writing workshops at high schools and universities internationally. She is the director of the Upward Bound Program at the University of Colorado at Boulder; this program services 103 Native American youth from 8 states, 22 high schools, and 8 reservations across the country. She continues to teach as an adjunct professor at the University of New Mexico. Winder is the founder of Dream Warriors Management, an Indigenous artist management company and collective.


Erik Stegman
Empowering Native Youth: A Conversation with Erik Stegman of the Aspen Institute
Monday, June 12, 2017 
12:45–1:45 p.m.
Location: Hyatt Regency Tamaya
Room: Tamaya Ballroom

Erik Stegman, an Assiniboine from the Carry the Kettle First Nation, is executive director of the Center for Native American Youth (CNAY) at the Aspen Institute. Before joining the CNAY team, he led field outreach and advocacy for the Poverty to Prosperity Program at the Center for American Progress.  Before joining American Progress, he served as majority counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs under the leadership of Senator Daniel K. Akaka (Hawaii). He was an expert on a wide range of policy issues that affect tribal governments including economic development, law enforcement, violence against women, tax, education, and telecommunications. In that role he also led the development of the Stand Against Violence and Empower (SAVE) Native Women Act, which was signed into law as part of the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act of 2013. Before joining the U.S. Senate, Stegman was appointed in 2011 to serve as policy advisor to Assistant Deputy Secretary Kevin Jennings at the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools. During his time in the administration, he led an intra-agency working group on American Indian policy development. He began his career in Washington, D.C., at the National Congress of American Indians Policy Research Center.

Stegman holds a JD from UCLA School of Law, an MA in American Indian Studies from UCLA’s Graduate Division, and a BA from Whittier College.


Matika Wilbur
Changing the Way We See Native America
Tuesday, June. 13, 2017 
1:15–2:15 p.m.
Location: Hyatt Regency Tamaya
Room: Tamaya Ballroom

Matika Wilbur began her extraordinary portrait work after a dream in which her grandmother Laura Wilbur, a prominent Swinomish tribal leader, urged her to return home from a South American assignment and begin photographing her own people. Project 562 is the solution to historical inaccuracies, stereotypical representations, and silenced Native American voices in massive media. Several people have attempted this feat, but none have succeeded. To date, Wilbur has driven more than a quarter million miles and photographed over 250 tribal nations. Her work humanizes the otherwise “vanishing race” and shares the stories that Native Americans want to be told. Her aim is to honor, respect, and celebrate the original people of this land.

Wilbur’s photographs have been included in Seattle Art Museum’s “S’abadeb / The Gifts: Pacific Coast Salish Art,” and she has also exhibited at the Royal British Columbia Museum of Fine Arts, the Nantes Museum of Fine Arts in France, the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, the Kittredge Gallery at the University of Puget Sound, and Tacoma Art Museum. Her photographs have been acquired for the permanent collections of the Tacoma Art Museum and the Seattle Art Museum.

Wilbur (Swinomish and Tulalip) graduated from the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, Calif., and also trained at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography in Missoula, Mont.


2017 Dr. Henrietta Mann Leadership Awardee: Karen Francis-Begay

Karen Francis-Begay is assistant vice president of Tribal Relations at the University of Arizona (UA). She serves as key representative and liaison between tribal leaders and the university to strengthen partnerships and advance mutual goals. Her prior job at UA was director of Native American Student Affairs. She serves on the board of directors of the YWCA of Southern Arizona, a local nonprofit that empowers women and advances social justice, and Red Star International, a consulting firm that supports indigenous communities with capacity building. She’s a member of the National Indian Education Association, National Congress of American Indians, the College Board Oak Circle, and the Association for the Study of Higher Education. Francis-Begay published works include two chapters in Beyond the Asterisk: Understanding Native Students in Higher Education (2013): “First-Year Experience for Native American Freshmen: The University of Arizona First-Year Scholars Program,” and “The Role of Special Advisor to the President on American Indian Affairs.” Among other awards, she earned the Tucson Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority “Women of Spirit Award” for commitment to the profession and community service. Francis-Begay earned a Bachelor of Science in public administration and an MA in American Indian Studies. She’s a PhD candidate in higher education administration at UA. Born and raised on the Navajo Nation, she is of the Tábąąhá clan (Edge of Water), born for the Kiyaa’ áanii clan (Towering House).

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