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.


NAISA Council protests the decision of Chancellor Phyllis Wise of the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign to rescind the offer of a tenured faculty position in American Indian Studies to NAISA member Dr. Steven Salaita.

Dr. Salaita was offered the position in October 2013 following a national search and evaluation of his scholarship based on its merit and his contributions to comparative Indigenous studies. Chancellor Wise’s actions in rescinding the offer in August 2014, after Dr. Salaita had resigned his tenured position at Virginia Tech and just days before his classes were set to begin at UIUC, set a dangerous precedent. This last minute, top down decision with no faculty consultation violates the tenets of faculty governance and is a clear, profound, and deeply alarming breach of professional ethics. These actions constitute, as well, a de facto attack against American Indian Studies at UIUC, despite its carefully earned status as one of the leading programs nationally in our field. This decision, if not overturned, is sure to erode the confidence of scholars and students of American Indian and Indigenous Studies that UIUC is an open and welcoming institution that values their social, cultural, and intellectual contributions. Additionally, recent statements by both Chancellor Wise and the UIUC Board of Trustees allude to the character of Dr. Salaita’s comments on twitter about the recent Israeli invasion of Gaza as the basis for rescinding his offer, citing his supposed lack of “civility.” This action constitutes an assault on the rights of faculty members to express controversial political sentiments in the public sphere and/or to do so in unpopular ways.

We call upon the chancellor and the university to respect faculty governance, the Program in American Indian Studies, and the faculty peer review process that evaluates candidates for tenured positions. We call on the UIUC administration to fulfill the contractual obligation to hire Dr. Steven Salaita as a tenured associate professor of American Indian Studies at UIUC.
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a/b: Auto/Biography

Contact:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Hemispheric Performance Studies scholar Diana Taylor has referred to a shared hemispheric reality of  “tangled systems of expression, representation, and economic and power relations,” where attempts to align identities with geographical locations, cultural practices, naming practices, and heavily policed ideological borders  present the hemisphere’s inhabitants with constant challenges.  She sums it up with “America: it depends on how you look at it.  What you call it.  How you live it.”[1] (1417). 

This special issue of a/b: Auto/Biography Studies invites critical essays that explore how both Indigenous and America are looked at, named and lived in autobiographical works (literary, visual, filmic, other)  by Indigenous artists and authors throughout the Americas. 

Possible topics include:

  • how Indigenous authors or artists engage with what it means to be Indigenous in the Americas;
  • how various identity terms-- Indian, Native, Indigenous, Aboriginal, indio, American, norteamericano, and others—get claimed, played with or rejected by the authors, artists and texts discussed;
  • how readings of Indigenous life narratives in the Americas might further understanding of autobiographical genres and of the use of those genres as political tools;
  • connections between life narratives and assertions of Indigenous literary and rhetorical sovereignty;
  • the implications of exploring Indigenous autobiographical works from within a hemispheric context

All submitted essays should have a relevant theoretical framework and participate in contemporary conversations within the fields of auto/biography studies and Indigenous studies. Potential contributors may find it helpful to refer to back issues of a/b: Auto/Biography Studies prior to submitting their work for consideration.  Individual articles and full issues are now available on Project MUSE.

Submission guidelines: Inquiries and essays should be emailed to Laura Beard at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Essays are due by July 1, 2015 and they should be between 7,500 and 10,000 words in length, including notes and the Works Cited pages.  All essays must follow the format of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th ed.) and the a/b Style Sheet, which can be found at this address: All essays submitted for the special issue, but not selected, will be considered general submissions and may be selected for publication.

Authors must also include a fifty-word abstract and two to four keywords with their submissions.  In order to ensure a blind peer review, remove any identifying information, including citations that refer to you as the author in the first person. Cite previous publications, etc. with your last name to preserve the blind reading process. Include your name, address, email, the title of your essay, and your affiliation in a cover letter or cover sheet for your essay. It is the author’s responsibility to secure any necessary copyright permissions and essays may not progress into the publication stage without written proof of right to reprint. Images with captions must be submitted in a separate file as 300 dpi (or higher) tif files.

Laura Beard is author of Acts of Narrative Resistance: Women’s Autobiographical Writings in the Americas (U Virginia P, 2009).  She is Professor and Chair of the Department of Modern Languages & Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta, where she is also an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Native Studies. She is currently working on a book on autobiographical life narratives about the Indian residential school experience in the United States and Canada.

[1] Taylor, Diana. "Remapping Genre through Performance: From" American" to" Hemispheric" Studies." PMLA (2007): 1416-1430.

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Message: American Indian Quarterly (AIQ) is looking for established and new scholars of Native American studies who would like to write book reviews for AIQ. In order to be considered for selection as a reviewer, please contact our book review editor, Trever Holland, with a set of research goals/interests and short scholarly biography at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

AIQ is a peer reviewed, refereed journal that specializes in a wide range of issues pertaining to Native American issues and literature, politics, environmental justice, multimedia, screen studies, and the like. If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Special Issue of Marvels and Tales: Journal of Fairy-Tale Studies (2016)
Guest Editors: Bryan Kamaoli Kuwada and Aiko Yamashiro

Rooted in Wonder:
Tales of Indigenous Activism and Community Organizing
Indigenous wisdom has historically had a fraught relationship with the fields of folklore studies, cultural anthropology, and ethnography, with indigenous knowledges being relegated to “folk wisdom” as a way to undermine their authority within colonial knowledge systems. With that in mind, however, we feel that much can be gained by both fields in bringing indigenous studies and folklore/fairy tale studies into closer proximity. We would like to heed Cristina Bacchilega’s call to folklore and fairy tale scholars to re-focus on a “politics of wonder” instead of magic in order to move away from a Euroamerican literary tradition and worldview that has created and disseminated a brand of depoliticized magic. As Marina Warner contends, feelings of pleasure, fear, surprise, dread, marvel, fascination, and inquiry all come together in the powerful idea of wonder. Rather than dismissing the wondrous aspects of fairy tales as irrelevant to the “real world,” we want to employ wonder to connect the fairy tale to indigenous folk stories and tales that suggest another world, attending to the ways folklore and fairy tales have and continue to instill wonder in their audiences, foregrounding unknown possibilities and transformations within an unjust world.
“Make ke kalo, ola hou i ka naio” is a Hawaiian proverb that describes how the taro, a Hawaiian staple that is also thought to be the elder sibling of the Hawaiian, dies but lives again through its shoots. The first taro grew from the spot where a stillborn fetus was planted, and the taro’s younger sibling became the first Hawaiian. Hawaiians use this saying--and the story behind--for many different occasions to generate wonder and awe at the rootedness and connectedness of the people to the land, but it was mobilized to particularly powerful effect after the overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom in order to proclaim that while Hawaiian sovereignty seemed to have died back, it would ineveitably be restored through new growth.
Our collection will focus on tales and stories of wonder as strategy and survivance, as decolonial and anti-colonial in contemporary and historical contexts. For example, how do stories of wonder work to reconnect people to land and health? How do stories reframe or redefine the stakes in battles over oil drilling or militarization or telescopes? What place does wonder or magic have in our daily struggles against colonialism? How can we bring tales of wonder back into settler colonial educational systems in transformative ways?
In this special issue of Marvels & Tales: Journal of Fairy-Tale Studies, we would like to honor and discuss the ways indigenous tales and stories of wonder adapt to moments of political and social crisis, and live on in ways that sustain indigenous culture, health, identity, and sovereignty. We begin by acknowledging the ongoing colonial violences indigenous people are suffering, and the very real stakes of telling stories. By doing so, we are following the lines laid out by scholars like Caroline Sinavaiana whose academic and creative work highlights the importance of indigenous tradition, performance, connection, and story in interrogating our own gendered identities; Waziyatawin whose Remember This! Dakota Decolonization and the Eli Taylor Narratives foregrounds the importance of memory and stories in indigenous struggles for land and sovereignty; Steven Winduo’s large body of work that recenters the indigenous in relation to the colonial categories of literary and folk in the service of nation-building in Oceania, and Grace Dillon whose work advocates for the incorporation of indigenous “modes of imagination” into genres rife with wonder such as science fiction and fantasy as a commitment to social justice.
We are interested in articles dealing with ways in which tales of wonder—from fairy tales and folk tales to myths and legends—have been featured, employed, translated, adapted, or redefined in contemporary and historical struggles related but not limited to:
-the indigenous landscape
-contested place names or land/water use
-indigenous education or reforming settler state educational systems
-making space for indigenous practice
-legal struggles
-protecting spiritual and sacred sites
-militarization or development of indigenous land
-adaptation in new media and technology
-indigenous agriculture and food-based practices
-community health
-intergenerational or kinship relationships
-language and translation
-activism through art and music
-revitalizaion of voyaging practices
-reframing understandings of gender and sexuality
-creating cross-cultural, cross-struggle alliances and relationships

The guest editors, in consultation with the Marvels and Tales Journal editors, will make decisions on the final submissions. This special issue is scheduled to be published in 2016.
We are interested in short critical essays (20 double-spaced pages max, including Works Cited), and we are also open to creative-critical mixes, and original translations with commentary. Please get in touch with us if you have an idea that you think might fit, or if you have further questions.
DEADLINE: 300-500 word abstracts to Bryan Kamaoli Kuwada, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by August 15, 2014.

For more information about Marvels and Tales, please see:

We look forward to hearing your inspiring stories!
Bryan and Aiko

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The Indigenous Peoples Specialty Group (IPSG) of the Association of American Geographers (AAG) is sponsoring sessions at the 77th Association of Pacific Coast Geographers Annual Meeting. It will be held in Tucson, Arizona from September 24-27. In 2010, the IPSG published a Declaration of Key Questions About Research Ethics With Indigenous Communities stating

“Indigenous communities are highly capable of determining their own research needs, and as researchers who work with Indigenous communities, we see an important role for geographic tools, methods and theory for facilitating such research. However, we also believe that in doing so, the discipline of geography must overcome its distinctly colonial heritage, and its continuing relationship with power structures that define how knowledge is created and reproduced. This introspective process will require acknowledging how a historic sense of superiority and entitlement affects how geographic research is conducted.”

In order to facilitate collaborative research relationships and encourage meaningful Indigenous research scholarship, the IPSG will continue to sponsor sessions at regional geography meetings. While we are specifically looking to increase for graduate, undergraduate, tribal college and community college student participation and we welcome anyone doing research with/for/by Indigenous communities in the following areas

· Indigenous research and Indigenizing research regulations
· Indigenous science, climate change, sustainability, and resource management
· Geographies of hope: Honoring ancestral and innovative relationships to place
· Indigenous uses of geospatial technologies
· Representational politics: Indigenous sovereignty, identity, and self-determination
· Indigenous education and Indigenizing education
· Applied Indigenous community research

According to Chris Lukinbeal, the conference organizer, “This year’s meeting continues the tradition of scholarship, collegiality and friendship. Emmy award-winning media presenter on the world’s deserts, David Yetman, will be our Wednesday night keynote Speaker. Eleven exciting field trips are planned for Thursday to help you explore diverse aspects of the Tucson area. Thursday evening’s annual social event is a Mexican Fiesta and “night at the Museum” at the Arizona State Historical Society. Formal paper sessions will be held on Friday the 26th and Saturday the 27th at the Marriott Hotel.”

If you want more information about the conference, please visit the home page at

If you are ready to submit an abstract for either a poster or paper presentation, you must first register to attend the annual meeting before you can submit an abstract. Please be sure to email me your abstract as well after you submit online so I can notify the conference coordinator that you are an IPSG sponsored presenter. I hope to have 2 IPSG sponsored sessions and a few speakers in other sessions to provide an Indigenous perspective to a specific session theme.

The APCG provides $200-300 travel scholarships for Indigenous students. The application deadline is Tuesday, September 2, 2014. Fees to attend the awards banquet will be waived for awardees of the travel scholarship. The application requires two steps:

1) A statement about the student’s interests in geography, commitment to attend the Tucson meeting, statement about the student’s Indigenous/Native background, and, if presenting a paper or poster, a description of the research topic; and
2) A supporting letter of reference from a faculty member. Check out the Grants and Scholarships page for more information,

Lastly, Ken Madsen has organized a reasonably priced pre-conference field trip for IPSG sponsored poster/paper presenters and panelists on Tuesday/Wednesday before the APCG conference officially begins (5pm Sept 24). There is a limit of 18 people that can participate in the pre-conference field trip and the cost will be about $60-85/person depending on final decisions. The DRAFT itinerary is as follows:

Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014 – IPSG arrival

IPSG members arrive
if arriving early, pass time until departure at Desert Diamond Casino (Nogales Hwy. location)

OPTION: personal or car-pooled transportation to Topawa for early arrivals

5p – van departs Tucson airport
5:15p – pickup at Desert Diamond Casino
6:30p – arrive at San Solano Mission, Topawa, light dinner, time to relax

ALTERNATIVE: Papago Café in Sells

Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014 – IPSG Pre-Conference

Members of the Indigenous People’s Specialty Group will meet the day in advance of the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers’ annual meeting in Tucson to learn about and share with the Tohono O’odham community as well as network with each other. Members are encouraged to also attend present at the conference itself.

7:30a – breakfast burritos at Mission
8a – pack up and load van
8:30a – depart Mission
9a – Research, Native Participation, and Native Oversight conversation in Sells with Cultural Preservation Committee, Tohono O’odham Legislative Council

ALTERNATIVE: invite them to TOCC later in the day instead and offer to do guest lectures/discussions at Baboquivari High School in Topawa

11a – arrive at TOCC Main Campus, down time for an hour
12n – welcome ceremony, followed by catered lunch / pot luck with students, faculty, and staff
(if anyone wants to bring traditional food to share, bring ingredients!)
1p – presentations about Tohono O’odham Community College presentations about Indigenous People’s Specialty Group mix in guest lectures to classes as schedules permit
3p – depart TOCC
4:15p – arrive at Tucson Marriot University Park (APCG conference hotel)

APCG events on Wednesday:

3:30-7:30p Registration (Marriott)
5:00-6:30p Welcome and Opening Session (Center for Creative Photography)
6:30-8:00p Reception and Cocktail Hour (Landscape Architecture Foyer)

Mahalo for your consideration of this event.

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