LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION
& STUDENT FEEDBACK
Letter of Gratitude from Rae Jing Han, M.Ed.
Education Specialist, EarthGen
Ph.D. Candidate, Learning Sciences and Human Development
University of Washington College of Education
We were so grateful to have Dan share his expertise and beautiful work with teachers in a professional development opportunity focused on climate change and the future of food systems. We began our learning with the group of teachers by reading and discussing an article that featured Dan's work on the Colville Reservation. We then explored data about different impacts of climate change on food production, food sovereignty, and food justice in Washington State. Teachers very much enjoyed hearing from Dan during the third and final session. They were inspired by his stories of sustaining and revitalizing important cultural knowledge of plants, animals, lands, and waters through his work with youth and community members. He shared how Indigenous knowledge is essential for our ability to respond to the climate change crisis, and how we can all contribute to supporting Indigenous sovereignty. One teacher reflected that they were struck by Dan's collective approach to taking action, and another appreciated his emphasis on helping young people understand their responsibilities to the earth. Overall, Dan's powerful presentation about his work as an educator and community leader added richness and cultural connections to the professional learning experience for teachers.
Letter of Recommendation from
Ms. Sarah Fox - Nature Immersion Coordinator/Lead Teacher
Paschal Sherman Indian School, Omak, Washington
My name is Sarah Fox and I write to express support and recommendation for Dan Nanamkin. I have been a public school teacher for 12 years, earning my single subject teaching credential in English. I worked at the secondary school level in England, Salinas, California, and currently, Omak, Washington on the Colville Reservation. In my career, I have served for several years as the English Head of Department, the GATE Coordinator, and currently as the Nature Immersion lead teacher and coordinator at Paschal Sherman Indian School. Over my years I have witnessed many outstanding characteristics intrinsic to effective educators, such as diligence, empathy, and a desire for continual growth; not only does Dan display these critical attributes, he also comes with enthusiasm and an ability to think creatively whilst facilitating the highest calibre of education for tribal youth.
Living on one acre in Nespelem, he has transformed a once rugged and nutrient depleted soil to a thriving garden which supports the nutritional well-being of the surrounding community. As the creator and lead of the Young Warrior Society, he showcases versatility, resilience and professionalism through the commitment of hours of prep and workshop opportunities offered to tribal youth across the Colville reservation. My middle school students at Paschal Sherman have been working with Dan for two years, attending his innovative workshop offerings ranging from traditional foods and medicine, permaculture, ancestral skills, gardening and storytelling. Dan has become one of our most valued community partners and continues to put everything on the line for the empowerment of indigenous youth.
Dan is constantly challenging himself to expand his knowledge so he may share with his community. He is an experienced collaborator and educator, showcasing an unrivaled willingness to learn and teach. I have worked with him on curriculum development and other contractual work with community partners and elders to provide diverse learning opportunities for our students. Dan’s work calls for the integration of holistic and place-based teachings meant to inspire the youth to maintain their cultural pathways and create sustainable ways of living with
the land and each other. He is a living embodiment of what it means to cultivate traditional and cultural ways whilst maintaining a modern presence in the ever increasing demands of society.
Dan exudes an unwavering optimism and perseverance to share his story. Through his activism on the front lines at Standing Rock, to his lived experience growing up on the Colville Reservation, Dan is skilled at connecting his audience with his storytelling and music, offering wisdom through the multitude of experiences he has. He showcased an ability to connect with whoever he is speaking to, making him an adept and engaging presenter.
It is with great honor that I give support to Dan Nanamkin for his courage and resilience in offering these teachings.
Ms. Sarah Fox
Nature Immersion Coordinator/Lead teacher
Paschal Sherman Indian School , Omak, Washington
Reference Letter from
Ms. Nancy Kuiper - Director of SHARP Kids "Enrichment Beyond the Classroom"
Grand Coulee Dam ~ Nespelem, Washington
Dear Young Warrior Society Sponsor,
My name is Nancy and I am the director of SHARP Kids, an out of school time program in the Grand Coulee Dam/Nespelem area. This program is funded by a federal grant called 21st Century Community Learning Center.
On July 8th , 2021, our summer SHARP Kids program facilitated a Native Cultural Awareness celebration. The celebration featured 5 half-hour sessions including Salish language, Story Circles using hieroglyphics, storytelling by a local native elder, hide tanning, and stick games. We concluded the day with a 60 minute Pow Wow.
Dan Nanamkin sang and drummed with his cousin while MCing the Pow Wow. It was a very special time for all of the children, staff, and many others who gathered to participate in the celebration. The students were completely engaged and fully participated as Dan skillfully kept their attention. Dan has
a unique ability to draw young people in and challenge them to treat people with honor, respect and kindness.
I highly support Dan and his desire to work with our youth to raise them up as Young Warriors who care about their culture, heritage, and community.
Director of SHARP Kids, Grand Coulee Dam
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MORE KIND WORDS
Dan, thank you for coming to Fresno City College and inspiring our youth with your beautiful presentation on water. So many students have commented on how your words and experiences have changed their lives and views on Mother Earth. Please know how grateful we are to have shared some time with you. Never stop doing this amazing work. — Dr. Bernard Navarro, Fresno City College professor of American Indian Studies and sociology.
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Dan Nanamkin is a name you know. He has traveled a lot over the last year. He has experienced things that he had only thought were stories his ancestors told. He stood at Standing Rock. He saw people of all nationalities, sexes and backgrounds joined together as brothers and sisters. I could listen for hours and hours about how a higher has guided him and directed him. The storyteller in him is from a long time ago, and his words bring you back in time but are just as relevant today, if not desired more than ever in today’s age. — Jesse Utz, The Star, May 2, 2018.
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Hello teacher folk (and plain ol' folks)! Here is a very thoughtful and educational presentation you may wish to share with your students. Dan is a very kind and engaging speaker to have for your classes as well. My students loved learning from him. He has a gentle way that helps them to feel safe about asking hard questions they might otherwise be afraid to ask. Thank you for sharing, Dan Nanamkin. — Becky Campbell, School Teacher, Sandpoint Idaho, May 4, 2021
(Comment re YouTube Video - "Understanding Regalia", Methow Arts, May 3, 2021)