August 2022 – Graduate
Reno-Sparks Indian Colony
Special Higher Education Program
School: University of California, Davis
Degree: Native American Studies
Christina Dawa Kustmana Thomas is Numu [Northern Paiute], Newe [Western Shoshone], and Hopi [Tobacco Clan]. She grew up on the Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation in Wadsworth, Nevada and is an enrolled member of the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony. She is an Indigenous scholar, vocalist, dancer, cultural activist, language warrior, and her greatest role, a mother. Christina graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno, with a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Minor in Biology in 2019. Christina is attending the University of California, Davis as a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the Native American Studies Department and earning a Designated Emphasis in Performance and Practice Studies. Christina attained her Master’s Degree in Native American Studies from UC Davis in 2021. Her practice is rooted in the Great Basin, more specifically Northern Nevada. Christina’s primary fields of study are historical musicology and language regeneration of Numu Yadooana [Northern Paiute language]. Her research amplifies Numu ways of doing music history — privileging Numu knowledges, languages, and performance — as a means to Indigenize music studies curriculum.
As a recognized community leader Christina has been a part of community-based Numu arts and language regeneration projects for over a decade, primarily through documenting and performing Paiute songs and stories to (re)awaken. Her volunteer work and passion for language/cultural regeneration and working with Native youth have won her several recognitions throughout the state of Nevada, nationally, and internationally. Some recent awards include 2023 Fulbright Scholar, 2022 Emmon Bach Fellow, 2021 Ford Predoctoral Fellow, 2021 & 2022 Luce Indigenous Knowledge Honorable Mention , 2021 & 2022 Jack Montoya Scholar, 2021 Magrit Mondavi Graduate Fellow, 2020-2021 Outstanding Graduate Student Teacher Award, 2021 Cobell Graduate Research Fellow, 2020 National Humanities Podcasting Fellow, 2020 Mellon Public Scholar, and 2020 KTVN’s Someone to Know.