David Heska Wanbli Weiden

David Heska Wanbli Weiden, Ph.D.; JD, an enrolled member of the Sicangu Lakota nation, is a professor of Native American Studies and Political Science at Metropolitan State University of Denver.

His academic scholarship involves Native American issues, law and political science, and he’s an attorney, licensed to practice in all Colorado state courts. Weiden is an alumnus of Vona, a Tin House Scholar, a 2018 MacDowell Colony Fellow, and a 2019 Ragdale Foundation resident. He received the 2018 PEN America Writing for Justice Fellowship. He is the fiction editor for Anomaly, journal of international literature and arts (www.anmly.org), and he teaches writing at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver.

Weiden novel Winter Counts is forthcoming August 2020 from Ecco/HarperCollins, as is the second book in the series, Wounded Horse. Winter Counts is the story of a local Native American enforcer on the Rosebud Indian Reservation who becomes obsessed with finding and stopping the dealer who is bringing increasingly dangerous drugs into his community. It’s a Native thriller, an examination of the broken criminal justice system on reservations and a meditation on Native identity. Both novels will be published in France by Gallmeister Editions.

He’s published or has work forthcoming in Shenandoah, Yellow Medicine Review, Transmotion, Criminal Class Review, Tribal College Journal and other magazines. His children’s book, Spotted Tail, will be released in 2019.

A first-generation college student, he received his MFA in creative writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts, his J.D. from the University of Denver Strum College of Law and his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin.

Christina M. Sigala

Christina Sigala is an adjunct professor in the Department of Chicana/o Studies at Metropolitan State University of Denver.

Matthew S. Makley

Matthew S. Makley, Ph.D., is a professor and chair in the Department of History at Metropolitan State University of Denver. His areas of expertise include modern U.S. history, U.S. history, U.S. West, Indigenous history and Native American history.

Makley has been teaching at MSU Denver for over 10 years. He also taught courses at Arizona State University while earning his doctorate. He received the prestigious 2016 Faculty Senate Teaching Excellence Award for Tenured Faculty and a Teaching Excellence award in 2017.

Makley published a book titled “The Small Shall be Strong: A History of Lake” that was published by the University of Massachusetts Press in 2018. He also co-authored the book, “Cave Rock: Climbers, Courts and a Washoe Indian Sacred Site,” which was published by the University of Nevada Press in 2010 and has a current manuscript titled, “The Small Shall be Strong: A History of Lake Tahoe’s Washoe Indians,” that is being published by the University of Massachusetts Press. He also helped produce a short documentary about an Iris farm and its relationship with water in Boulder, Colorado called “Long’s Gardens: An Urban Oasis.”

Makley received his doctorate and master’s in history specializing in Native American history, and the history of the American West from California State University and a bachelor’s in history from Humboldt University.

Jonathan Kent

Jonathan Kent, Ph.D., is retired professor of Anthropology at Metropolitan State University of Denver, where he has taught since 1986. He has an ongoing archaeological field project in Colorado and is analyzing data obtained while conducting field research in Peru. He curates the MSU Denver Seed Collection, the Comparative Osteology Collection, and the Ashton Ethnographic Collection.

He is the Founder and Co-Director of the Laboratory of Anthropology. He was the Founder and first faculty advisor of the student anthropology club, ALPACA. He is a three-time awardee of Fulbright-Hays Fellowships. He has been named Outstanding Faculty Researcher by Golden Key Honor Society, has been named as the President’s Outstanding Teacher, and has won the college’s Distinguished Service Award. In addition to archaeological field schools, he teaches classroom courses in Archaeology, Introductory Physical Anthropology and Prehistory, World Prehistory, Human-Animal Relationships, Ancient American Civilizations and South American Archaeology.

Renee Fajardo

Renee Fajardo, Ph.D., is the coordinator of Journey Through Our Heritage (JTOH) program at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She has been the program director of JTOH since 2010, which places university students of color into local high schools and middle schools as mentors. In addition, she has collaborated with community members and MSU Denver students on several projects, including the Return of the Corn Mothers with master photographer Todd Pierson and the Aurora Fox Cultural Concerts Series with the Colorado Folk Arts Council, which allows school children in Denver the opportunity to attend free cultural concerts once a month during the school year.

Fajardo has extensive knowledge of cultural, ceremonial and community traditions of numerous indigenous people. Her own Chicana/Native American (Picuris Pueblo) and European roots allow her to be sensitive to the many nuances that face today’s students of color. She has co-authored the numerous books in the Tummy Tale series, such as “Holy Mole Guacamole,” that preserve family food traditions of Colorado. She has also written hundreds of articles about Hispanic artist, culture and historic insights. Fajardo is a Denver native and graduate of the University of Nebraska.

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