Hi, I Am Dr. Kelly.
My Lakota name is
Mato Waste Winyan (Good Bear Woman)
Is a member of the Oglala Lakota Nation. She has a passion for social
justice, racial reparations, healing, and storytelling that has been felt
across the globe. As the very first Native Woman Theologian with a P.hD. in the
ELCA, She passionately pursues her calling to challenge the traditional
conventions of theology. Her work primarily focuses on systemic theology, with
a unique approach to Lakota Spirituality and how it can inform
Christianity and instill healing.
She's not only a trailblazer in her field, but her perspectives and insights have gained her recognition and admiration both
nationally and internationally. Her incredible contributions to racial
reparations and advocacy for marginalized communities have changed the minds
and hearts of many.
She is an adventurer who honors her Indigenous ancestors by inspiring people to make a difference. Intrigued by theology, traveling, photography, music, advocacy, writing, art, armchair philosophy, fabulous food, and even better conversations (enjoying the beauty of learning and speaking diverse languages).
Seeking to be inspired, to envision the unlikely, to work hard for things that are worth it, and to be surrounded by those who bring out the best in me.
Nurture Community. Inspire Healing.
I embrace the beauty of living in harmony and
taking care of those around me by nurturing the body of mind and spirit and giving support in life's journeys.
My Lakota people have a saying, “Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ el changleska wiconi:” "We are all related in this circle of life."
I want to create Spirit-inspired relationships, that are inclusive and accountable to all, dynamic, and that literally breathes Spirit into our healing.
Every day I wake up in search of courage and authentic expression. And on this Native theological journey, I've been met with opportunities to create an impact in ways I'd never imagine. I carry the knowledge of my ancestors with me as I teach through an Indigenous lens about healing and inclusivity in the eyes of our Creator.
I have been given the space to grow as a storyteller and to see myself more as an artist than just a Native theologian. With every word spoken, every picture taken, every song sung, every word written, I become more of who I was meant to be. Through storytelling, I want to show the world in a new view and open hearts and minds to the beauty of creation we are surrounded by. We are storytellers, historians. It is important to keep the story alive. Do not forget to listen and you will begin to see the world through a new and exciting lens.
Helping people find healing within themselves and within the community is a lot of what I do. If we learn to listen courageously with our heart, our mind, our ears, and our soul, we can allow the healing process to begin. God shows us ways to heal by sharing with us the gift of Woksape (understanding & wisdom) if we stop to listen.
My Native American heritage is rich in community and family bonds. My ancestors, my family, strived to ensure I could thrive in a better world.
The elders in my family made sure that I knew the stories of my ancestors, that I understood how they are deeply connected to me today. They are defining characteristics of my life, my community, my culture. Through the generations my family has carried on the traditions of storytelling, healing, and leadership—my grandparents and elders were healers, they were change-makers, my mother a Pastor and healer, my father a gifted financier, my eldest brother an international Indigenous Chef, my younger siblings are entrepreneurs, homemakers, and leaders in their communities. My family is my strength, they are what sustains me and helps me envision a better world. I carry them with me always. They are a part of my story.