A poet and visual artist, Gwen Nell Westerman lives in southern Minnesota, as did her Dakota ancestors. Her roots are deep in this landscape of the tallgrass prairie and reveal themselves in her art and writing through the languages and traditions of her family. She has worked as a proofreader, a waitress, an editor, a sandwich delivery driver, a technical writer, and a teacher. She is the author of Follow the Blackbirds, a collection of poetry in Dakota and English, and has a new volume coming out soon titled War Mothers Song. Neither of her parents spoke English before they were sent away to boarding schools in Oklahoma and South Dakota, so she knows the importance of the role language plays in who we are.