Winoka Yepa is a 5th year doctoral candidate in the Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies program at the University of New Mexico. Her research foci are Indigenous education, identity studies, decolonial and critical race theory, museum education, and language and culture revitalization and sustainability. Of Diné (Navajo) heritage, Winoka Yepa was born and raised on the Navajo reservation. She is a semi-fluent speaker of her Navajo language, an advocate for the sustainability and revitalization of Indigenous cultures and languages, and a strong supporter for the arts and arts education. Winoka currently holds two degrees; a Bachelor of Arts in Pre-Law and a Masters of Arts in American Indian Studies with a concentration in Indigenous education and linguistics.
Winoka currently manages the Story Maps Fellowship Program. A program for young emerging artists of color at the Santa Fe Art Institute. Winoka is also a graduate research assistant at the University of New Mexico, in which she assists a group of researchers from multiple universities in an Indigenous language immersion study that supports Native communities in strengthening their language education efforts through understanding Native American students’ sociolinguistic environments.
Winoka is currently in the process of working on her dissertation research which aims to identify alternative and new representations of Indigenous identity from a decolonial perspective with emphasis on Diné teachings and lifeways. Most of her work is directed toward the youth, as a means of helping them develop their own voice within their community, to establish a space for artistic and personal expression, and to inspire the youth to take action in their communities, whether that is through activism, policymaking, self- expression, or creating new learning opportunities for future generations.
Digital Storytelling Workshops
Digital storytelling is the use of digital media to tell personal or community-oriented stories. Most digital stories are very short and are often told in less than two minutes and include images, text, and audio.
Creative Youth Development Workshops
By combining identity development, with life skills, and arts education. Winoka Begay has created a series of workshops that combine mapping, photography, writing, and drawing to explore personal, community, and external identity
Cultural Competency Training
By utilizing Critical Race Theory and Indigenous epistemologies as a framework for deconstructing and interrogating museum and academic spaces, Winoka Begay has created a curriculum that explores self-awareness, privilege, cultural understanding, and cross-communication