Winder to inspire Ute athletes

Photo Credit: Courtesy Tanaya Winder

During the Tri-Ute games, Tanaya Winder will be back in Ignacio to help the youth formulate a poem about the event and about what it means to be Ute. She enjoys coming home to share her gifts and help support the youth.

“Home and culture always help provide me with the reasons for why I do what I do” Winder stated while describing what helps her to keep moving forward in her life and struggles.

Winder is a gifted artist whose passion is expressed through her talents as a poet, vocalist, writer, educator, and motivational speaker. Winder is from the Southern Ute, Duckwater Shoshone, and Pyramid Lake Paiute Nations.

Winder graduated from Ignacio High School, and went on to receive her Bachelor of Arts Degree (BA) in English from Stanford University before moving on to the University of New Mexico where she graduated with her Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in creative writing.

Winder is currently the Director of the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Upward Bound Program; the program serves approximately 103 Native high school youth from across the country and from varying tribal communities.

In reference to the ceremonies and facilities that the Southern Ute Indian Reservation has, Winder remarked, “Leaving home made me really grateful for the home I had and for the connections that a lot of people don’t have.”

Winder went on to say that not many people know what a strong community feels like and that they don’t often have access to resources like the ones that the Southern Ute Indian Tribe provides. “Take advantage of every opportunity,” she encouraged.

She wants to spend time with the youth to further encourage and share knowledge about the different paths that will carry them into their future careers. “The youth are going to go on to do great things,” Winder stated. “I am grateful to be coming back to participate and see the kids compete in the Tri-Ute Games.”

If you want to learn more about Tanaya view her website at


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