Winoka Yepa (Diné), Data & Research Associate
Winoka Yepa (she/her/asdzaan), is Diné originally from Shiprock, New Mexico, which is located on the Navajo Nation, also known as Dinétah.
Yepa brings a wealth of experience from the arts, museum, and education fields. Most recently, Yepa was the Senior Manager of Museum Education at the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts. As a part of her role, Yepa re-established and developed the museum’s education program, re-designed the museum’s artist residency and mural program, developed curriculum centered in decolonial methodologies, and created more community-centered programming. Yepa continues to participate in the arts and culture field with her new role as the City of Santa Fe Arts Commissioner. Yepa’s appointment to the arts commission was unanimously approved by the Mayor and City Council.
Yepa was also a graduate researcher for the University of New Mexico, in which she collaborated with the University of California- Los Angeles and the University of Arizona to develop a national study of Indigenous language immersion programs that identified Native communities’ efforts to strengthen their language education through immersion teaching methods. Yepa assisted in the development of a national database of Indigenous language immersion programs in the United States with the objective to support education practices for Native faculty and students. As a part of this study, Yepa co-authored an article that explores relationality and relational accountability in Indigenous education, contextualizing these processes within a current U.S.-wide study of Indigenous-language immersion (ILI) schooling.
Yepa is also a doctoral candidate in education at the University of New Mexico, in which her dissertation focuses on the development of a pilot program titled “The Reflection Project: A Study on Indigenous Identity and Storywork,” which aims to identify alternative and new representations of Indigenous identity from a decolonial framework, with emphasis on Indigenous epistemologies and storytelling.
Winoka is the newly appointed City of Santa Fe Arts Commissioner.