American Indian Studies

2016-17 Native American Speakers Series

The series features nationally recognized American Indian scholars and artists who will delve into diverse topics and issues including Lumbee history, Native cuisine, health and wellness and Southeastern Native art.

Admission to the series is free, and it is open to the public.

Unlocking Silent Histories and Maya Traditions Foundation

From left to right: Carlos (USH), Marisol (MTF), Matea (MTF), Donna (USH), Carmen (USH), Chema (USH), Celina (MTF), and Elena (MTF)

Unlocking Silent Histories and Maya Traditions Foundation
September 20, 2016
7:00 p.m.
University Center Annex

This is a unique opportunity to celebrate the work of Unlocking Silent Histories youth filmmakers and MTF weavers as they celebrate and share their Maya identities, resilience, knowledge, and traditions. 

Our Guatemalan Maya guests are also looking forward to learning more about Indigenous history and life in North Carolina.   The new perspectives and knowledge that our Maya colleagues gain during their U.S. stay will ultimately translate to their continued work, particularly with new filmmakers in their communities.   Don’t miss this unique opportunity to witness Maya culture expressed through youth-produced documentaries and traditional weaving practices, presented and demonstrated by participants in these two organizations.

About the organizations: 

USH Youth-Produced Documentaries

Unlocking Silent Histories, founded in 2013, engages youth in a form of participatory video ethnography program, where Indigenous youth explore their communities, traditions, and histories, research that later materializes as short films that express their worlds through their unique cultural perspective. USH employs youth to lead this charge.  Program leaders Carmen, Carlos, and Chema will present their films, the films of their students, and discuss their role in expanding USH to 9 Maya communities in Sololá, Guatemala.  

“We are not professional filmmakers,” says Carlos, the USH Guatemala Program Manager, “the importance of our work is that each of our students create something that emerges from their heart.”

MTF Artisans

Maya Traditions Foundations, leverages traditional Maya heritage and art, connecting female artisans with national and international markets committed to the Fair Trade Principles. Recognized as one of the early leaders in the Fair Trade model, Maya Traditions Foundation now works with over 120 indigenous women, providing quality textile-based products around the world.  Representatives from three of these communities, Cecilia, Elena, and Matea will demonstrate the traditional practices of backstrap weaving and jaspe.  

 “"I want the audience to learn a little bit of my language–K’iche, I want to teach them how we use traditional dress in my town and why it is important. Sharing backstrap weaving, I hope they are able to learn more about our ancestral knowledge as Maya people."

 The Native American Speakers Series is supported by the Department of American Indian Studies, the Southeast American Indian Studies Program, Office of Academic Affairs and PNC Bank. For more information, contact Dr. Jane Haladay at


Tanaya WinderTanaya Winder

October 20, 2016
7:00 p.m.
Moore Hall Auditorium

Tanaya Winder is from the Southern Ute, Duckwater Shoshone, and Pyramid Lake Paiute Nations. A poet, writer, artist, and educator she writes and teaches about the expressions of love—self-love, intimate love, social love, community love, and universal love.
Winner of the 2010 A Room of Her Own Foundation’s Orlando prize in poetry, Winder has published in Cutthroat, Adobe Walls, Superstition Review, Drunkenboat and Kweli. She is co-editor of Soul Talk, Song Language with Joy Harjo (Wesleyan Univ. Press) and founding editor of As/Us: A Space for Women of the
World, a literary journal for indigenous women, founded in Albuquerque. Words Like Love is her first full length poetry collection (West End Press, 2015).

Winder holds a BA in English from Stanford University and a MFA in Creative Writing from the University of New Mexico (UNM). She guest lectures and teaches creative writing workshops at high schools and universities internationally and has taught at Stanford, University of Colorado-Boulder, and UNM, where she is adjunct professor in the Chicano/a Studies Department. Winder is Director of UC-Boulder’s Upward Bound Program, which services 103 Native American youth from 8 states, 22 high schools, and 12 reservations across the country.

An active performer and champion of her peers, Winder founded a management company for indigenous artists, Dream Warriors, which represents Mic Jordan, Tall Paul, and Frank Waln. Winder’s own poems were recently performed by the Poetic Theater Productions Presents Company in NYC.

She was Albuquerque’s Local Poets Guild Program Coordinator and has been a featured poet at Sunday Chatter, 516 Arts, on KNME’s Colores program, and as a TEDXABQ speaker for her popular talk, “Igniting Healing” ( Read more writing and find events and find her on Twitter @a_girl_on_fire. Photo by Smitten & Swoon Photography.

The Native American Speakers Series is supported by the Department of American Indian Studies, the Southeast American Indian Studies Program, Office of Academic Affairs and PNC Bank. For more information, contact Dr. Jane Haladay at


Past Speakers