An enrolled member of the Assiniboine/Sioux Tribe of Ft. Peck Montana, Winona Wynn, serves as a Professor of Arts and Sciences at Heritage University. Supported by a dual fellowship in American Studies and English, she earned her PhD in American Studies in May 2009 from Washington State University. Her areas of specialization are cultural identity and Native American education, with an emphasis on indigenous community research methodologies.
Through the grant funded, Indian Education Outreach Project at the University of Idaho, Wynn designed and implemented culturally responsive curriculum for teacher professional development at several of the 14 Tribal Schools with whom she consulted. Currently, she works extensively with various Yakama Nation Programs including the tribal courts, Foster and Kinship care, the cultural museum and the Yakama Nation Reservation Coalition which maintains a focus on wellness and prevention. 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), a Department of Education five-year grant, titled, Indigenous Identity Empowerment through Community-Based Participatory Action Research, and three consecutive Gates Foundation grants supporting work ranging from environmental sustainability and the empowerment of traditional ecosystem knowledge to a cultural museum project, titled The Yakama Nation Cultural Museum and Intergenerational Storytelling.
Wynn currently serves as the Institutional and Summer Coordinator of The Leadership Alliance, where she develops partnerships toward the end of placing students in paid internships throughout the country. For the past ten years, she has also served as the Coordinator for the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship at Heritage University, where she continues to develop extensive networks of support for students interested in pursuing graduate education in all disciplines. Related to this work, she is often called upon to share her expertise, hence her continuing service on multiple Advisory Boards both locally and nationally. While at Washington State University, she received two awards for her teaching, as well as a Toppenish School District Volunteer award for her mentoring of students. Her teaching in various settings continues to be a priority. Her classroom focus continues to be Ethnic/World literature, specifically the narratives of Central Asia and Africa. Her current work in this cultural context also includes a documentary project focusing on a comparative indigenous kinship network– grandmothers caring for relatives on the Yakama Indian Reservation and the community grandmothers in the townships of South Africa who are doing the same. Indigenous-to-Indigenous.