Check out the Keynote Opening from the Lyng Symposium: Chris Peters~ CEO and President of the Seventh Generation Fund! (more to come)
Upcoming event at UC Davis (Friday November 8): Lyng v Northwest Indian Cemetery Protective Association (1988) - 25 years later Symposium
We are hard at work getting things ready for our 2014 Symposium. This year we are looking forward to inviting Graduate Students from all UC campuses to participate in our interdisciplinary cross-campus event. In the coming weeks we will be updating the website and putting together the call for papers and submission form. You can find info on the symposium here: http://ucdnasgrads.weebly.com/symposium2014 And now to announce our theme, date and location!
3rd Annual Native American Studies Graduate Student Symposium
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the archives and find it actually fun/find beautiful words and stories that deserve attention and air. Make photos. Schedule interviews. Raise questions. Be grateful.
Step 4) SOUNDS. Consciously decide to rock out deeply and utterly. I'm a serious poet and scholar, but I'm also a serious metalhead. I play bass and write
lyrics in the atmospheric black metal band, Valley of Thorns. We played plenty of shows this summer and we have plenty more booked in the coming months.
Hopefully we'll be recording an album next year. I also started video recording local metal bands in California, Nevada, and New Mexico, so if you visit
my YouTube channel for video poems, you'll also be greeted with the harrowing screams and depressive thunderings of underground metal music.
We all know 4 is a good number, so let's stop there.
What the summer did: reminded me, again, that I'm an artist first and a scholar second. I'm grateful to be working in NAS at UCD where artistic
endeavors are honored and understood. Here's to another trip around the sun, the end of one more summer, and the beginning of another academic year.
NAS Grad Student Stephanie Lumsden - "What I Did This Summer" (Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages Conference)
Visiting the collections of Hupa basketry, regalia, and ceremonial objects is always bittersweet and during this conference it was no different. I was delighted to see and hold the stunning baskets and greet them in na:tinixwe mixine:whe’ but I was equally saddened to watch them be put back in their storage closets. The Smithsonian collections were in a giant concrete labyrinth in Maryland some 30+ miles away from D.C. I couldn’t help but think that the objects in those collections were very far from the valley and the people who know how to use them to remake the world.
About Stephanie Lumsden:
He:yung, ‘awho:lye Stephanie Lumsden. Na:tinixwe ‘a:wht’e. Stephanie is an enrolled member of the Hoopa Valley Tribe. She is currently a MA student in the Native American Studies department at the University of California, Davis. In 2011 Stephanie received her BA in Women’s Studies with a Minor in Native American Studies from Portland State University. While at Portland State University she also earned recognition for academic excellence and was placed on the Dean’s List. Her thesis research focuses on Native American women and the prison-industrial complex in California, Federal Indian Policy, political economy, California Indian history, and California Indian basketry.
This summer I played catch-up! While in grad school I was bogged down with the normal amount of work, reading-writing and of course-more reading. So when my midwife, relatives, and friends would ask me if I was reading What to Expect when Expecting or any other literature regarding post pregnant life, I would feel bad and reply no, I was reading Defying the Odds: The Tule River Tribe’s Struggle for Sovereignty in Three Centuries by Frank, Gayla, and Carole Goldberg, or Bad Indians by Deborah A. Miranda. So this summer I read, googled, interrogated family members, and took classes about how our life was about to change. And let me tell you, I am glad I did!
Hiestum! (Greetings) Vanessa is enrolled member of the Nor Rel Muk Wintu Nation and Chicana. She is a Ph.D. student in Native American Studies at University of California, Davis and received her BA in Anthropology and Ethnic Studies with an emphasis on Native American Studies at CSUS. Her focus is on Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), cultural patrimony, Native Americans in higher education and Native American language revitalization programs concerning Northwestern tribes.
NAS Grad Student Brook Colley tells us about her summer! (Research project on the Oregon Community responses to statewide ban of Indian themed mascots)
The Oregon State Board of Education passed a resolution on July 1st 2013, banning the use of Indian themed mascots in Oregon’s public schools. Over the next five years, eight schools with the names “Indians” “Braves” or “Chieftains” will have to change their name and Indian mascot imagery and seven schools using the name “Warriors” will have to change their mascot imagery, or risk the loss of state funding. This ban was subsequently challenged by Oregon State legislators who introduced SB 215, which would relax the ban and allow some high schools to retain their mascots as long as they do so in consultation with the geographically closest federally recognized tribe.
As one might expect, both the original ban and SB 215 had strong supporters and opponents. The Oregon State Senate passed SB 215 on July 15th 2013. Governor John Kitzhaber proceeded to veto SB 215 on August 16th 2013 leaving the original ban in tact.
For nine weeks, our team conducted fieldwork, collecting archival materials and conducting interviews. The first community we visited, Enterprise, Oregon, had already gone through the process of changing their high school mascot from one that was Indian themed to a non-Indian themed prior to the statewide ban. We chose the City of Enterprise as part of our project in order to get a sense of how this transition took place, gain important insights, and identify best practices other communities could employ when making this transition. In addition, we visited two communities effected by the ban, interviewing high school principals, vice principals, superintendents, athletic directors, as well as Native American community members concerning their thoughts and feelings on Indian themed mascots and the statewide ban.
We meet wonderful people, we were challenged in our thinking about the issue, and we obtained a tremendous amount of data on the topic. Our findings are important and timely. As I turn to the task of report writing, I am struck by how this issue highlights the widespread lack of reliable information about Native Americans available to the general public, an issue legal scholar Walter Echo-Hawk (Pawnee) in his book In the Courts of the Conqueror: the 10 Worst Indian Law Cases, calls one of the most pressing problem facing Indian people today.
For more on the mascot issue visit: http://nativeappropriations.com/category/mascots
Brook Colley (enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, with Wasco, Japanese, and Irish heritage) is a Candidate of Philosophy in Native American Studies at University of California, Davis. In the 2012-2013 academic year, she served as visiting faculty in American Ethnic Studies at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. While teaching at Willamette, Brook developed and taught courses, including Theory and Methods of American Ethnic Studies, Native American and First Nations Film, Oregon Ethnicities, and Nine Tribes of Oregon. Currently, a recipient of a University of California, Davis Dissertation-Year fellowship, Brook’s dissertation Reframing Tribal Relations: At the Place Where the Cascades Fall investigates the emergence of the tribal casino economy in Oregon and events following the proposal by the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs to open the Bridge of the Gods Casino and Resort in Cascade Locks. This study contributes an inter-tribal Oregon lens to existing scholarship on the effects of Indian gaming since the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (1988). Brook’s research interests include Oregon Tribes; Indian Gaming and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act; Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation act; Native American and First Nations Film and Media; Native American gender and sexuality; and Indian-themed Mascots.
So, yes, I walked on June 13th but NO, I'm not actually fully done with the dissertation yet. That will be completed (fingers crossed) this summer. It's been a wonderful and difficult road since fall quarter 2006. Most of you know that I've been teaching full time (5-7 classes each semester) during my academic career at UCD, while I've also been the advisor for two clubs at American River College, but for the last two years, I've been traveling back and forth each month to Boston to help take care of my father who is dealing with dementia. What I'd like you all to remember is that no one travels through this journey without struggle and fear, and there are incredibly rough times we've already been through, but we'll all make it in the end. Thank you especially for the lovely dentalia earrings for graduation and the kind, supportive (and funny) messages in my graduation card. I look forward to the next NAS graduation!
This end of the year has been very exciting, as I get ready to embark on new adventures this summer. First of all, I would like to share a few amazing experiences I had this year. I presented at three conferences, which have not only challenged me as a young scholar who is starting her academic career, but which have become a life-learning experience at both personal and professional levels. In early January, I presented at the International Conference of Arts and Humanities in Honolulu, Hawaii. This was actually my first time travelling to Hawaii and I have to say, I enjoyed it! But it was not the beach, the wonderful weather, or the awesome food that made it enjoyable, but the opportunity I had to present my work on Hawaiian land. As I write about this experience now, I understand how important it is that as Indigenous peoples, we establish a connection with one another and share our experiences in order to find a way to move forward. As a young P’urhépecha scholar, I feel very blessed for having had the opportunity to talk about my own community and our struggles for the advancement of our autonomy at a place that seems to be so far away from home but in reality is so close, as we share histories of colonization and a spirit of survival.
At the same time, in late April I presented at the Native American Studies Graduate Students Symposium held at the University of California in Davis, and had such a wonderful experience. The committee did such an awesome job putting this conference together that brought students together from both UC Davis and UC Berkeley. Personally, I extremely appreciate the support I received from the graduate students and the audience in general. I look forward to presenting at the symposium next year, as it allows many of us young scholars, to present our work and share our thoughts, experiences, and research with other Indigenous scholars and create an intellectual space for us to develop a new form of collaboration and understanding of each others’ histories and struggles as Indigenous people.
Finally, I attended the Native American and Indian Studies Association Conference in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. This was my first time presenting at NAISA and it definitely surpassed my expectations. Never before had I seen such an amalgamation of Native scholarship at one single place! At this conference, I had the opportunity to attend various panel presentations by Indigenous scholars from all over the Western hemisphere. What made me the most proud was to see the work that students from our department at UC Davis, are producing as we bring our research to conferences such as this and many others throughout the year. At this conference, I also attended the Abya-Yala working group meeting, which is an organization within NAISA, which concerns Indigenous studies in Latin America. Additionally, I was also present at the networking session for scholars working with Indigenous communities in Latin America. These two events allowed me to meet Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars from the U.S., Mexico, and Latin America.
As I’m barely beginning with my professional career, I feel very fortunate for having been invited to these sessions and for having the awesome opportunity to meet wonderful scholars, some of them whom I have read about but did not know personally. Nonetheless, most important is the fact that I was able to share more about my people with scholars from Canada, the U.S., Latin America, and other parts of the world. The most memorable moment I have from this conference was when I ended my presentation concerning the struggle for land and Indigenous resistance amongst P’urhépecha communities in Michoacán, Mexico, and a Maori scholar from New Zealand commented, “I understand perfectly what you are talking about, the Maori have experienced the same problem.” This brought me to an understanding that the development of Indigenous studies does not only pertain to the Western hemisphere, but it is a global movement that is reinforced as Indigenous people establish a dialogue with one another.
Hestum, This year has been so wonderful and so many accomplishments made by the NAS graduate students! I was a Graduate Representative for this year for the Native American Studies Graduate Student Association.
I had the honor to present for the second time at the American Indian Studies Association Conference in Tempe, Arizona on Inherent Sovereignty and US Federal Recognition Process. Locally, I presented at the Women of Color Conference with fellow NAS Grad Students Angel Hinzo and Stephanie Lunsden. I also presented at the "Native American Forum" for the Yolo County District Attorney's office and of course I presented at our own wonderful NAS grad symposium!
I also attended the Woven With Our Roots basket weaving retreat in Hoopa California where I learned to weave a basket for the first time with fellow NAS Grad Students Stephanie Lumsden and Cutcha Risling Baldy as well as my Aunt Amy.
And yes I am expecting my first child in Fall! YAY Whijay Joyce Meza! Welcome babygirl!
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It has been my great pleasure this past year to serve as visiting faculty in American Ethnic Studies (AES) at Willamette University (WU) in Salem, Oregon. My year here has provided me the opportunity to revise existing courses such as, Theory and Methods of American Ethnic Studies and Native American and First Nations Film, and develop new courses, Oregon Ethnicities, and Nine Tribes of Oregon. Further, I have been able to continue collaborative,
With support from WU’s Indian Country Conversations (ICC) program and in collaboration with the Native American Enlightenment Association (NAEA), I coordinated a campus visit from an intertribal sketch comedy group, The 1491s, to WU’s campus Fall semester to participate in a series of events. This spring, I will host a visit and public talk by award-winning First Nations filmmaker Lisa Jackson (Anishinaabe), again in conjunction with ICC and NAEA. In both cases, these national (1491s) and international (Lisa Jackson) guests also spent time with students attending Chemawa Indian School. WU’s ongoing work with Chemawa is very inspiring to me, and I spoke with Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) students on several occasions. In the Fall semester, I visited Chemawa’s main campus to meet with a AVID class about opportunities in higher education and meet with AVID students who visited WU. In the Spring I was asked to teach a class at WU in order to give AVID students a firsthand experience with college curriculum.
Currently, I am part of a WU Liberal Arts Research Collaborative (LARC) team of faculty and students, working on the Indian Mascot Community Listening Project. During the Spring semester, I was happy to learn that I had been awarded the University of California, Davis, Dissertation Writing Fellowship for the 2013-2014 academic year, which will allow me to complete my dissertation.
This year was my second year in the UC Davis Native American Studies MA program. It has been a very important year for me for many reasons. This year I taught my first class, I presented at the 11th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities, I helped organize our graduate student symposium, I completed my coursework, I got accepted to present at two conferences next fall, I submitted an abstract for possible publication, and I am currently in Washington D.C. at the Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages learning my heritage language na:tinixwe mixine:whe’. All of the things that I have done this year have provided me with a great skill set and have rounded out my graduate education. I feel as though involving myself in all of these different projects – presenting, publication, organizing, teaching, and language revitalization – is bringing me closer to who I am meant to become and simultaneously making me a stronger scholar.
This past year I focused on preparing for my qualifying exam, which took place on the last week of May 2013. Last summer I decided that I needed to do independent studies with a number of professors who would serve in my qualifying exam committee. Thus, in Fall 2012 I started doing independent studies with Professor Ines Hernandez-Avila, Professor Beth Rose Middleton, and Professor Steve Crum, which would continue until Spring 2013. I enjoyed greatly doing these independent studies since I was able to really focus on the preparation for the exam, and I cherished the moments when I could discuss the books in person with those professors during the meetings. In addition, this past year was the year I allocated to write my exam statements, i.e. the theory, region, and topic statements. I learned from other graduate students’ exam papers regarding what I had to include in my own papers, and approximately three weeks before the first day of the exam, I managed to finish writing the papers, which I then submitted to the members of the exam committee. These past three quarters have been fruitful since in doing independent studies and writing my exam statements, I learned much more in one year than what I had learned in the previous two years.
Prior to the exam, people asked me whether I was nervous because I was going to take the exam. Well, for the written exam, I was actually worried that I would not be able to answers the questions. In retrospect, however, I think that I was quite successful, despite the fact that I had bad time management on the first day of the written exam so that I did not have enough time to proofread, resulting in very long paragraphs without indentation and some mistakes here and there in spelling. Prior to the oral exam, some people asked if I was nervous, and I said that I tried to suppress my fears because this oral exam was going to be one among a number of so-called “oral exams” that I had had in my life. In fact, this was going to be the fourth oral exam or interview that I would have conducted; therefore, to reduce my fears, I said to myself that it was going to be just another oral interview like the ones I had had before. I did one oral exam to defend my bachelor’s thesis, one oral interview as part of the application process for Fulbright scholarship, and one oral exam for my Master’s thesis defense. I managed to answer the questions during the oral exam (despite one or two questions to which I faltered in responding), and in the end all committee members congratulated me for my success. The passing of the exam was an important milestone since it means that I have moved one step further in my academic journey, and I can now focus more on my dissertation writing. Most importantly, now that I have passed my qualifying exam, I will have time for helping my wife taking care of the BIG GUY in our family. Our Bobby is now 11 months old, and soon he is going to be 1 year old, and soon he is going to want to explore the world using his two little feet. I will be busy both doing research for my dissertation and, as some people have warned me, chasing him around!
First and foremost I am now ALL BUT DISSERTATION! I passed my qualifying exams in Spring 2013!
This year I published two book reviews. One for the American Indian Quarterly and one for the American Indian Culture and Research Journal. I also presented at the National Women's Studies Association (Oakland, CA) on decolonization through the revitalization of women's coming of age ceremonies. I also presented (with fellow NAS Grad Student Brook Colley and UCD Alum Dr. Gina Caison) at the Modern Language Association Conference (Boston, MA) on creating and working as partners with Indigenous communities when doing research. And I presented at the UC Davis Provost Speaker Series "Contested Knowledges" on the Uneasy Remains Film Project. In the Spring I presented at the UCD NAS Grad Student Symposium and the Designated Emphasis in Feminist Theory and Research Symposium. Finally, I was an invited keynote speaker at the "Native American Forum" for the Yolo County District Attorney's office. My presentation was called "Native Nations, Native Communities, Native Peoples-History, Law and Culture in California.”
I am also still the Executive Director of the Native Women's Collective. This year we hosted a traditional basket weaving retreat which I planned and attended. As part of the Collective I also organized Flower Dance demonstrations at the Native American Day (Sacramento, CA) and the Humboldt State University Big Time (Arcata, CA). I also secured a $10,000 grant for the collective to complete a project telling the history of certain dance regalia pieces which we hope to turn in to an online exhibit and book.
I'm spending my summer up in Hoopa. I'm also (cross your fingers) teaching a class on Native American Women (NAS 180) in Summer Session II.
Have a great summer!
Fall 2013: Visits to organizations in Sacramento, CA
Fall 2013: Visiting Speaker - Robert A. Williams, Jr. (Lumbee)
Fall 2013: Native American Day (Sacramento, CA)
Spring 2013: 11th Annual UCD Food Championship
The NAS Grad Students team WON the culinary competition (serving a menu of: Shrimp Tacos with homemade tortillas and lemon infused pico de gallo; Thai Meatball Soup; and French Toast with a wine reduction sauce and homemade whip cream. The team placed second over all (by only 1 point!).
The team also won for best aprons. This years' aprons were hand painted and designed to look like traditional Native wear from each team members' tribe.
Spring 2013: The 2nd Annual Native American Studies Graduate Student Symposium: "Weaving the Roots of Knowledge"
This year the Native American Studies Graduate Student Symposium reached beyond the UCD campus and extended an invitation for participation to UC Berkeley. The graduate students at UC Berkeley responded to our call for papers and were an invaluable addition to our event.For the first time our symposium was a two-day event, which took place April 26-27, 2013 in the Mee room of the Memorial Union. MORE
Spring 2013 Colloquium SeriesForum: Indigenous Peoples and the Doctrine of Discovery.
April 18: Jessica Bissett Perea (Dena’ina) UC President’s Post Doctorial Fellow. Presentation, “Tanya Tagaq Gillis and Contemporary Inukological Improvisative Practice.” Co-sponsored with the Music Department.
April 25: Heid Erdrich (Ojibwe) Poet and Author. Book Presentation and Book Signing of Cell Traffic: New and Selected Poems. Co-sponsored with the English Department and Comparative Literature.
May 2: Walter Echo-Hawk (Pawnee) Presentation and Book Signing of In the Courts of the Conqueror: The 10 Worse Indian Law Cases Ever Decided).
May 2: Forum: Indigenous Peoples and the Doctrine of Discovery. Walter Echo-Hawk (Pawnee, Author and Attorney). Chris Peters (Pohlik-lah/Karuk, Director of the Seventh Generation Fund for Indian Development). Katherine Florey (Professor, UCD Law School), Respondent Co-sponsored with Seventh Generation Fund, UCD Law School, Hemispheric Institute on the Americas, John Muir Institute of the Environment’s Environmental Justice Project, Cultural Studies, HARCS Dean’s Office, Office of the Provost, and Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas, UCD.
May 9: Amber Bill (Northern Paiute/Te-Moak Western Shoshone) Ph.D. Candidate in Native American Studies. Recipient of UC Davis Dissertation Year Fellowship (2011-2012).
May 9: Jodi Byrd (Chickasaw) Assistant Professor in English and American Indian Studies. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Presentation, “Between Chaos and the Untimely: Indigenous Critical Theory and The Transit of Empire.” Co-sponsored with Cultural Studies, Davis Humanities Institute, and Asian American Cultural Politics Research Group.
May 30: Scott Stevens, Ph.D. (Akwesasne Mohawk) Director, D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies, Newberry Library. Presentation, “Frederic Remington’s Hiawatha and the Arts of Displacement.”
Have a great summer everyone! See you Fall 2013!
A Guest Blog Post! UC Berkeley Scholar/Graduate Student Tria Andrews reflects on the 2nd Annual Native American Studies Graduate Student Symposium
The 2nd Annual Native American Studies Graduate Student Symposium:
The Beginning of a Beautiful Alliance Between UC Davis and UC Berkeley
The theme of weaving was integral to this year’s conference both literally and metaphorically. In a Skype presentation, Christine Willie, UC Davis Doctoral Candidate in Native American Studies, discussed the aesthetic choices that she made in weaving the featured artwork for the conference poster: a blue, gold, and gray Navajo rug. The rug represents an evolving relationship among the graduate students at UC Davis and UC Berkeley. Christine’s description of her piece was particularly meaningful to me, since I feel fortunate to consider many of the UC Davis graduate students allies, colleagues, and friends. I have had the opportunity to be acquainted with several of the professors at UC Davis and to work closely on Cherokee language study with one of my mentors, Professor Martha Macri, through the UC Intercampus Exchange Program.
My own presentation at the conference, titled, “Weaving the Silence of the Archives: A Creative Presentation on the Similar Historical Experiences of Native Americans and Filipinos under U.S. Rule,” wove critical and creative writing. I have found creative work necessary in illuminating the silence of the archives, because particularly in the Philippines, the majority of archival documents available about colonial education are from the perspective of administrators and educators—not students.
I opened the presentation by providing a brief history of colonial education for Native American and Filipino students under U.S. occupation. Following this synopsis, which highlighted education for assimilation and the implementation of industrial training as a tool utilized by the federal government to preserve race, class, and gender hierarchies, I moved to a reading of my creative work, a novel in poetic verse. This creative work-in-progress is currently composed of several stanzas reflecting my experiences, observations, and the nine months of research that I conduced on a Fulbright fellowship in Manila. The collection is tentatively titled, Dead Center of the Heart. Below is a link to two of the poems that I read, which have previously been published by As/Us journal, co-edited by Casandra Lopez and Tanaya Winder:
Tria Andrews is a Doctoral Candidate in the Ethnic Studies Department at the University of California, Berkeley and a graduate of the MFA program in Fiction from San Diego State University. Her critical research examines culturally relevant forms of rehabilitation for Native American youth in juvenile detention centers located on tribal grounds. This research is informed by over five years of tutoring and teaching yoga to incarcerated adolescents.
We will greatly miss Professor Macri and we wish her all of the best during her retirement.
Pinigigi Professor Macri! Thank you!
My name is Stephanie Lumsden and I wear many basket caps (HA!). I am a graduate student in the Native American Studies program at the University of California, Davis, an enrolled member of the Hoopa Valley Tribe, and a total Walking Dead geek (AMC’s television series). In fact, I often find myself in heated conversations with my colleagues at UC Davis about the inevitable Zombie Apocalypse and possible survival tactics – we are an interesting and tenacious group.
All of the episodes of The Walking Dead contribute to a complex and intense storyline of survival that drags the viewer through emotional highs, lip biting cliffhangers, and groans of displeasure when a favorite character gets eaten by zombie antagonists (I’ll try not to say too much). One episode in particular grabs my attention; that episode is called Cherokee Rose. It is the fourth episode of season two during which time the loveable and not so loveable cast members find themselves on Hershel’s farm fighting for survival. By this episode Carol’s daughter, a pre-teen girl named Sophia, has been missing for some time and her disappearance has taken a huge emotional toll on the other survivors. Everyone is worried for Sophia’s safety but it is Daryl Hixon’s emotional response and efforts to console Carol which provide the scene that piques my interest as a scholar of Native studies.
When Daryl is comforting Carol over the disappearance of her daughter he presents her with a white flower and tells her a story about the titular Cherokee rose. He tells her about the infamous Trail of Tears that the Cherokee walked during their forced removal from their homelands in the American Southeast. He truthfully says that the Cherokee lost many of their children along the way due to the brutal conditions of removal. The conditions were so horrible and the spirits of the Cherokee were so low that their Elders prayed for a sign that would grant the women who had lost children strength and hope. The Cherokee mothers who lost children, Daryl explains, wept as they were marched westward by American soldiers and wherever their tears fell white Cherokee roses bloomed. Daryl nods toward the flower he gives Carol and says that he believes this one bloomed for her lost daughter Sophia.
This scene is only about three minutes of the entire episode, but it is heavy with political significance. By telling the story of the Cherokee rose, the character Daryl appropriates the genocide endured by the Cherokee as a metaphor for the loss of one white child during the zombie apocalypse. And since actual Cherokee people, and all Indians for that matter, are absent from the plot one reasonable conclusion is that the non-Indian survivors of the zombie apocalypse are the new Indians. They are the new tribal people facing massive onslaught and being forced from their homes, and Daryl’s easy invocation of the Trail of Tears for one of the lost survivors makes a strong case for this analysis. In this episode, the Cherokee are ghosts and the survivors become Indians.
What does this mean? I think it means that in the event of the zombie apocalypse, the genocide of the Indian peoples of this country becomes an allegory for the suffering of non-Indian people. In fact, by using this story about the Trail of Tears to add depth to an episode of The Walking Dead the writers are contributing to the idea that Cherokee people no longer exist. If Cherokee people no longer exist, then their experiences of genocide can serve as fables for the people surviving in their territory now. This episode of The Walking Dead works to invisiblize the actual Cherokee apocalypse and simultaneously re-invents the survivors on the show as their metaphorical descendants; they are the new Cherokee. Why does this matter? Because to render invisible the actual genocide and colonization that occurred in what is now the United States is to ignore Indian peoples and cultures that have survived and continue to exist in this country. Erasure is a contemporary tool of colonization and it should be treated critically because it results in violence against Indian bodies.
Melissa Leal is currently working as the American Indian Program Educator in the Elk Grove Unified School District in Northern California. She will be a keynote speaker at the 2nd Annual NAS Graduate Student Symposium "Weaving the Roots of Knowledge" scheduled to take place April 26th and 27th. Also look for her upcoming publication in the anthology "Hip Hop and the Law".
Check out the full article here!
A big thank you to our new Symposium Sponsor! The UC Davis Native American Faculty & Staff Association
2nd Annual Native American Studies
Graduate Student Symposium:
Weaving the Roots of Knowledge
April 26-27, 2013
For more about the symposium click here.
Call for papers is due February 8! There is still time to submit!
This year’s theme is “Weaving the Roots of Knowledge.” Weaving can be understood as the interlacing of strands to form a texture, fabric, or design. With regards to Native American Studies and Indigenous research, some of the questions we seek to dialogue about throughout our two-day symposium include, but are not limited to: How and why do we weave knowledges together?; How and why do we interpret the complexities of narratives, textures, fabrics, and designs?, What knowledges are gained from interweaving disciplines, methodologies, and methods of research?, and when is it necessary to unweave narratives?
UC Davis and UC Berkeley Graduate students from all disciplines are encouraged to participate in this hemispheric dialogue. Papers should be in English and 12-15 minutes in length.
By: Christine M. Willie
Yá'át'ééh Shik'é, Shi dine'é, dóó Shik'is
This summer I attended Dr. Miranda Haskie’s (Diné) sociology class SOC 205: Qualitative Research Methods at Diné College in preparation for my upcoming Ph.D. dissertation fieldwork in Navajo Nation. The class’ ultimate goal was to produce documentaries for the 2012 Navajo Oral History Project, a collaborative effort between Diné College (DC) and Winona State University (WSU) to learn and document the living histories of WWII Navajo Code Talkers and Diné community leaders, according to Diné methods and principles of research.
In teams of 5, our class set out to listen to the stories of 4 Navajo Code Talkers: Kee Etsicitty of Chichiltah, New Mexico; Samuel Tom Holiday of Kayenta, Arizona; and Joe Vandever Sr. of Haystack, New Mexico, and Chester Nez of Chichiltah, New Mexico as well as Diné College employee and mentor Agatha Spencer of Chinle, Arizona.
I feel very fortunate to be a part of this project that aims to show respect and honor to our elders by listening to their stories and helping others to hear the knowledges that they possess. Going through this experience has reconnected me with the stories of my Father’s brother, John Willie Jr, who was one of the original 29 Navajo Code Talkers. Additionally, this project has made me more aware of what research means as a Diné person. As I prepare to conduct research within Navajo Nation for my dissertation entitled “Sheep Is Life and Diné Decolonization: Dis-membering and Re-membering the Spanish and Mexican Arrivals to Navajoland,” the lessons learned from my participation with this class will carry on throughout my academic career and personal endeavors.
In addition to gifting copies of the documentaries to each family, our research will be archived at the Navajo Nation Library, the Diné College Library, and the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian. Copies of the DVD are also available for purchase, with all funds from sales going to a scholarship fund at Diné College. Information about purchasing the DVDs is available from Tom Grier; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chester Nez Living History Film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAlNguQju4Q
Kee Etsicitty Living History Film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDh4v_sea3c
Samuel Tom Holiday Living History Film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jZ_Z1s6G7s
Agatha Spencer Living History Film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHR0kzRtZUw
Joe Vandever Sr. Living History Film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gf8IGiYN6JM
A Bit on Books: NAS Grad Student Stephanie Lumsden tells us about some of the books she's been reading here at UC Davis
Womack’s Red on Red is a book that contributes to the conversation about the significance of sovereignty by arguing that Native oral tradition and literature are critical aspects of it. He explains how Native people use literature to perpetuate sovereignty both by being the creators of their own images and critically examining those images (14). By being active creators of their own images, Native authors exercise the very definition of self-determination. Womack goes on to describe the importance of language, imagination, and literature in expressing a tribal or national voice. This voice implies belonging, nationhood, and a shared vision for the future. This keeps sovereignty relevant to and internally defined by tribal peoples (14).
Esteva & Prakash’s book, Grassroots Post-Modernism, provided me with an Indigenous perspective on the how the so called wisdom of thinking globally, the universality of human rights, and the myth of the individual can be challenged. These are important points to bring up because they are indicative of how imperialist western thought is disguised as universal knowledge. Esteva & Prakash point out the arrogance embedded in the assumption that one human being has the capacity to think globally and how this assumption seeks to simplify the complex pluriverse that we live in (22). The authors also point out that human rights are based in Western thought and they impose Western values on other cultures. When Esteva & Prakash challenge the myth of the individual they bear in mind the importance of community in Indigenous life. This book got me thinking about how Indigenous epistemologies and methodologies can be used to deconstruct hegemony.
Silko’s memoir, The Turquoise Ledge, is an incredible read that brings her landscape to life. While reading this book I could taste the sand and feel the dry heat of the desert, which is completely indicative of Silko’s amazing talent. What makes this book interesting for me is that it takes the genre of memoir and Indianizes it. Rather than writing about her life in a linear way, Silko weaves poetry, memories, and fictions together thus turning time on its head. She also devotes as much space to describing her non-human relationships as she does her human ones and this gave the book a distinctly Native voice. Silko’s awe of the land is palpable when I read The Turquoise Ledge and more than anything it inspired me to write.
CONGRATULATIONS: Two NAS Graduate Student receive awards for their presentations at the Interdisciplinary Graduate and Professional Student Symposium!
Patricia read from her book "Other Suns" - you can purchase it online!
Dean’s Prize for Best Oral Presentation, College of Letters and Sciences, Division of Humanities, Arts, and Cultural Studies: Cutcha Risling Baldy, Native American Studies.
Cutcha presented on her dissertation research on the revitalization of the Hupa Women's Flower Dance Ceremony.
A Thank you and Re-Cap of the 1st Annual NAS Gradaute Student Symposium - "Engaging the Indigenous Americas"
For our inaugural year, the Native American Graduate Student Association transformed the Risling Room into a colorful display of student artwork, crafts, and presentations. Entering the room, attendees were greeted with California Indian basket weavings, Diné weavings looms and rugs, and 6 large pieces of Alicia María Siu’s canvas paintings, one of which was Iyat Pahtli (Tabacco Medicine), the symposium’s image for this years theme “Engaging the Indigenous Americas.”
Associate Professor Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie opened the space with a blessing reminding us of the footprints that we follow as scholars of Native American Studies. While the path through academia may be filled with obstacles, departments like NAS and events like our Graduate Student Symposium are helping to prepare us with tools to face the challenges and enjoy the travels.
Dr. Martha Macri’s keynote talk allowed for personal and professional insight to the hemispheric, interdisciplinary, and multi-lingual philosophies of the UC Davis Native American Studies Department. The day-long event ended with NAS student presentations of creative work, hosted by Dr. Inés Hernández-Avila who opened the session with a song, encapsulating the title of the session: “An evening of flower and song,” and closed the session with a reading for her mother. During the session, Alicia María Siu offered a keynote address about the artwork displayed throughout the day. NAS graduate students followed, highlighting their own creative activities such as California Indian basket weaving, Diné rug weavings, poetry, blog writing, and photography displays, reminding us that art is another facet of critical inquiry, knowledge, theory, and praxis.
Archives of the day’s event will be available in the near future; so don’t forget to check back in with our symposium page.
Thank you from the symposium committee co chairs – Patricia Killelea and Christine M. Willie
Photos are courtesy of NAS Graduate Student Bayu Kristianto
An Invite and Note from our Symposium Chairs (Christine Willie and Patricia Killelea) Join us this Friday April 13!
There is often discussion of the importance of interdisciplinary approaches to Indigenous research, but we wanted to see what that would actually look like in practice. Our vision was to find out who was studying Native communities, histories, languages, and practices on campus so we could start talking. Our hope was and is to not only make networks for future collaborations but to form a larger community on the UC Davis campus, bringing together graduate students with a sense of investment in the betterment of the lives and peoples of the Indigenous Americas. In the future, we hope to expand the symposium to include other UC campuses and community members. For now, by sticking to the Davis campus we are afforded the opportunity and experience of putting together a more manageably-sized symposium for the first time around, which was both rewarding and challenging.
We are grateful to the Department of Native American Studies for co-hosting this unique event. Professors Inés Hernández-Avila, Martha Macri, and Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie were also very supportive and their participation adds a level of awesomeness to our program. Many others also answered the call for symposium planning, especially Tina Tansey and Stella Mancillas whose dedication to NAS student and department projects never wavers. Brook Colley, Cutcha Risling Baldy, Angel Hinzo, and Matthew Casey all worked hard to secure funding and without them this event would not be possible. Cutcha’s experience and expertise brought a much-needed sense of organization and confidence to this project. Brook’s suggestion to video record panels in order to create an archive allows us to share our work beyond our campus and we hope to post those as they become available. History Ph.D. candidate Ryan Tripp’s enthusiasm to join our project made it abundantly clear that the need for interdepartmental collaboration is both necessary and urgent on the UC Davis campus. Our presenters and moderators answered this call for collaboration as evidenced by the wide range of participating disciplines: Native American Studies, Anthropology, Comparative Literature, Community Development, Cultural Studies, English, History, and Spanish & Portuguese. Sarah Laudenslayer at the Women’s Recruitment and Retention Center dedicated not only her design vision but also her time and patience to develop promotional materials for the symposium. Lastly, thank you to Alicia María Siu whose artwork Iyat Pahtli (Tobacco Medicine) embodies the hemispheric approach that we wish to bring to the symposium and our research, reminding us that creative approaches to Indigenous knowledge are invaluable and honored.
Did we mention that there will be snacks? :) We will have free flowing coffee, tea, water, and munchies in addition to our keynote luncheon and dessert reception. We hope that you join us for this exciting day of exchange as we engage the Indigenous Americas!
A special thanks to all of our sponsors:
Department of Native American Studies
College of Letters and Sciences: Division of Arts & Cultural Studies
Graduate Student Association
Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center
Native American Studies Graduate Student Association
Office of Graduate Studies
Student Recruitment and Retention Center
UC Davis Native American Faculty Association
Women’s Resources and Research Center
- Patricia Killelea and Christine M. Willie
For the latest up to date information on the symposium (program coming soon!) please visit: http://ucdnasgrads.weebly.com/grad-symposium.html
Engaging the Indigenous Americas
Friday April 13, 2012
We are pleased to announce the 1st Annual Native American Studies Graduate Student Symposium, to be held on the UC Davis campus on Friday, April 13th, 2012. This year’s theme is “Engaging the Indigenous Americas." In our inaugural year we had submissions from Anthropology, Comparative Literature, Community Development, English, History, Native American Studies, and University Writing Program. We hope that you will be pleased to participate in what we believe will be a unique and intellectually rigorous conference.
Have you filled out your paper proposal yet?
1st Annual Native American Studies Graduate Student Symposium
Engaging the Indigenous Americas
Submissions due March 2, 2012
We are pleased to announce the 1st Annual Native American Studies Graduate Student Symposium, to be held on the UC Davis campus on Friday, April 13th, 2012. This year’s theme is “Engaging the Indigenous Americas,” and we welcome proposals from all current UC Davis graduate students whose research critically addresses the issues, concerns, and lives of Indigenous peoples of the Americas (North and South). Graduate students from all disciplines are encouraged to participate in this open hemispheric dialogue. Papers should be in English and 12-15 minutes in length.
See the full announcement at http://ucdnasgrads.weebly.com/grad-symposium.html
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Call For Papers
Campus Community Book Project
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Engaging The Indigenous Americas
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This blog is an independent site run by the NAS Grad Students at UCD. The views expressed on this website are not the views of UC Davis Native American Studies nor the University of California Davis and/or its affiliates.