Native American and Indigenous Studies Association

The premiere international & interdisciplinary professional organization for scholars, graduate students, independent researchers, and community members interested in all aspects of Indigenous Studies.

Yale University

ALYSSA MT. PLEASANT (Tuscarora) is an Assistant Professor of American Studies and History at Yale University; starting in August 2013 she will join the faculty of the University at Buffalo, where she will hold an appointment in the Transnational Studies Department. Mt. Pleasant's research and teaching focus on American Indians in northeastern North America. Trained as an historian at Cornell University, earning a graduate minor in American Indian Studies, she received a Ph.D. in 2007. Her publications include chapters on American Indian education in Ethnographies and Exchanges: Native Americans, Moravians and Catholics in Early North America, A. Gregg Roeber, ed. and the forthcoming collection Indian Subjects: New Directions in the History of Indigenous Education, Brenda J. Child and Brian Klopotek, eds. Mt, Pleasant is currently revising a manuscript After the Whirlwind: Haudenosaunee People and U.S. Settler Colonialism, 1780-1825. This microhistorical study focuses on the Buffalo Creek reservation in western New York State. she examines the formation of this community in the midst of the Revolutionary War, arguing that Gayaneshagowa, the Great Law of Peace, and Guswenta, the Two Row Wampum, informed Haudenosaunee people's strategies for developing and sustaining the new community during the upheaval of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. This work makes crucial contributions to scholars' understandings of Indian – colonial relations, explaining the ways that Haudenosauncee people maintained their community by extending frameworks for intercultural interactions and nation-to-nation relationships that they developed over generations of colonial entanglement. Her research has been supported by fellowships and grants from the Newberry Library, the Smithsonian Institution, Cornell University, Yale University and, most recently, as a Research Associate at the University of Pennsylvania. Mt. Pleasant has presented her work at NAISA meetings, the American Studies Association, the American Society for Ethnohistory, the Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, the Omohundro Institute for Early American History and Culture, and the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic.

Personal Statement:

I was humbled to receive the Nomination Committee's request that I add my name to the slate of candidates for the 2013 election. I have been involved with NAISA since the first meeting at the University of Oklahoma in 2007. It has been a pleasure to watch the association develop over the past six years and to support its growth as a member and, most recently, as co-chair of the Executive Host Committee for the NAISA 2012 annual meeting at Mohegan. If elected, I would be honored to extend the important work of the founders and the elected officers and council members. As a member of the NAISA Council, I would bring a strong commitment to collaborative work and extensive experience developing and supporting intellectual community in NAIS within and across institutions. My work in Native American and Indigenous Studies has been shaped by scholarly interactions in a number of contexts, as well as significant leadership activities on the Yale University campus and beyond. At Yale I have been involved in a number of initiatives and programs. My work in graduate education extends well beyond my teaching commitments: I reestablished a faculty-graduate student working group in NAIS in 2011-12; currently, I serve as a faculty mentor for the Indigenous Graduate Network on campus and I am the Yale Faculty Liaison to the Newberry Consortium in American Indian Studies. In March 2013 I co-taught (with Jennifer Denetdale) a graduate workshop on “Oral Traditions and Histories in the Archive” at the Newberry Library. I have supported Native American undergraduate recruitment and retention throughout my time at Yale, serving as a member of the steering committee and advisory board for the Native American Cultural Center, assisting with the development of Yale's Henry Roe Cloud celebrations of Native American alumni, and working with the Dean of Yale College to recruit the founding Assistant Dean for Native American Affairs in 2007. In 2010 the Association of Native Americans at Yale honored my work with their Community Award that acknowledges “ the contributions of faculty, staff, community members, scholars and others who have significantly improved or enriched the lives of Native American students at Yale.” Beyond campus, I co-founded a regional gathering that brings NAIS colleagues in New England together for informal meals and conversation several times a year. I also administer a regional list-serve, NativeStudies-l, promoting academic events and opportunities throughout New England. These efforts to reinforce collegial connections and intellectual community across New England laid the groundwork for colleagues to come together in support of a proposal to host NAISA 2012 at the Mohegan Sun Convention Center. For two years, from 2010-2012, I served as co-chair (with J. Cedric Woods) of the Executive Host Committee for NAISA 2012 annual meeting. Together with colleagues at Yale and across New England, I developed a collaborative approach to conference hosting that involved five co-host institutions, included important contributions from other institutions in the region and benefitted from significant support from local tribal nations (especially our hosts the Mohegan Tribe). The 2012 annual meeting brought over 850 NAISA members and supporters together at the Mohegan Sun Convention Center. As I look forward to possible service on the NAISA Council, there are two priorities that emerge for me out of my experience co-chairing the NAISA 2012 Executive Host Committee: recognizing that the annual meeting is a major source of revenue for the association, I would like to work with colleagues on the Council to reinforce and extend efforts to institutionalize the conference planning process; I also look forward to working with Council members to consider the ways NAISA can support graduate students – over 30% of the NAISA 2012 participants were students, and it seems important that the association attend to this cohort within our membership as NAISA moves forward.