Yolanda Cordova Swalley

Yolanda is the founder of Upijata, a non-profit serving youth on the Oglala Lakota Sioux reservation in South Dakota, USA. Upijata is dedicated to creating safe, inspiring, and empowering spaces for women, girls, and families to express themselves and heal themselves through the arts. Yolanda has been dancing since the age of six. She has worked in collaboration with various community health projects serving the native community in South Dakota where she lives. Among them are ‘Re-member,’ and All Nations Gathering Center. Yolanda has been a dedicated student on the SomaSource training track since 2018. She is a dancer, a ceremonialist, artist, mentor, teacher, and a dedicated mother of many. Her family is the love of her life.

“Art is therapy. Movement brings out creativity and helps us see who we are. Sometime when we try to look inside we have blind spots, but when we express creativity we see our truth and our potential. Dance has made me who I am now. It helps me to understand myself better, and express myself. I am happy when I am dancing. It raises my energy, my perspective and my endorphins, opening my perspective to believe that anything is possible. Golden Girls Global has helped me deepen my understanding of the power of movement as therapy, it has helped me align with my purpose and see the way through.

I have seen the way society treats women, I want to be in alliance with healing the feminine. I want to be part of empowering women to stand up and have self-worth; especially our young ladies. I want them to be respected in their relationships, to not forget themselves and know their worth. In a field of dysfunction, there is no stability. I want to be a stable presence in the lives of our youth. I would like the youth to have a better opportunity for happiness and healthy mindsets through Expressive Arts in all forms to help alleviate the suffrages of poverty. Our children are the future, if our foundation is strong, our futures will be strong.”