Her roots are deep in the landscape of the tall grass prairie, and reveal themselves in her art and writing through the languages and traditions of her family. Since 2005, she has been creating quilts that have won awards at the juried shows of the Northern Plains Indian Art Market in Sioux Falls, the Eiteljorg Indian Art Market in Indianapolis, and the Heard Museum Guild Indian Art Fair & Market in Phoenix. Her work is now in the permanent collections of the Red Cloud Heritage Center Museum in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, the University Art Galleries at the University of South Dakota, and the Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul. She is an enrolled member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota Oyate. The co-author of Mni Sota Makoce: The Land of the Dakota which won a 2013 Minnesota Book Award, she also has a collection of poetry in Dakota and English, Follow the Blackbirds, published by Michigan State University Press.
A 2011 and 2013 recipient of an Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, Gwen creates incredible pieces that find influence from her rich life and Indigenous culture.
Dr. Gwen Westerman holds her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in English, and teaches at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Gwen received the Douglas R. Moore Faculty Research Award for her research on Dakota history and language. Gwen teaches American Literature, Technical Communication, American Indian Literature, and the Humanities to both undergraduate and graduate students.
Gwen's writings have appeared in many poetry anthologies. Her collection Follow the Blackbirds, was published in 2013 by Michigan State University Press.