Paul René’s Background

Sunrise Drum

Paul-René Tamburro, PhD, MSW, MA

Paul-René is a member of the Vermont Abenaki Artist Association and the Nulhegan Abenaki tribe in Vermont. He was given the name “Began with a Drum” as a young man while participating in the East Coast powwow circuit. It reflects the large amount of time spent sitting at the drum learning Northern, Southern and Eastern song traditions.

The name “Sunrise Drum” combines the Wôbenaki (‘People of the ‘Dawn’ or ‘Sunrise’) with Paul-René’s last name (Tamburro) meaning “drum”. His Abenaki name translated also contains the word ‘drum’: Môjassadop Spiwi Pakholigan – “Began with a Drum”.

Paul-René has combined studies in the hopes of finding ways to sustain and support First Nations / Indigenous languages and cultures. There are many people with Indigenous North American “blood”, tribal/ band enrollments, or DNA – but the languages and cultures are quickly disappearing. For this reason, he earned graduate degrees in anthropology, linguistics, and social work. Paul-René has taught courses at numerous universities and colleges including Indiana University, Indiana State University and Purdue University in Indiana, The Evergreen State College (TESC) and Heritage University in Washington State, University College of the Cariboo and Thomson Rivers University (TRU) in in Kamloops BC, Canada and others. At TRU , Paul-René added Indigenous content into their social work program. Prior to this, Paul-René was Director of the Reservation Based/Community Determined Program at TESC.


  • Ph.D. & MA, 2006 & 2003, Anthropology. Indiana University.
  • MSW, 1990, Salem State College, Salem, MA. Focus: Child & Family Services.
  • MA, 1982. Language and Linguistics, University of New Hampshire.
  • BA (BSW), 1980. Social Service, Minor, Sociology, University of New Hampshire (Durham).
  • American Indian Studies, 1974-1975. Unity College, ME. Community & Culture revitalization focus.


Paul-René is enrolled in the Nulhegan Abenaki tribe of Vermont.  Andrea is Shawnee and enrolled as a spouse in the Nulhegan Band.  They have experience with urban and rural reserves and reservation communities as well as community organizations such as urban Friendship Centres, Métis organizations, nonprofit organizations serving Native Americans, powwow and cultural committees, mixed tribal social / cultural groups and “mixed race” Indigenous groups such as Melungeon and US based metis.