Buorre beaivi! Greetings! I am Sámi (Mark Sámi) from the Norwegian side, and a registered member of the Norwegian Sámi electorate. Currently I am in my eighth year as Associate Professor of Norwegian and Scandinavian Studies at Pacific Lutheran University, on the traditional lands of the Nisqually and Steilacoom peoples and near the southern shores of the Salish Sea. I am also an affiliate of the Arctic Studies Program at the University of Washington, Seattle. Prior to being tenured I served as an assistant professor at PLU for four years, after having taught at a variety of universities and colleges in the United States and Norway. I earned my PhD in Scandinavian Studies at the University of Wisconsin in 2001 with my dissertation Colonial Palimpsest: Tracing Inscriptions of Sápmi and the Sámi. Over time I have moved from a critical engagement with settler-colonial texts and discourses to working more directly with Sámi texts from a position grounded in Sámi aesthetics and intellectual traditions. Increasingly that work has drawn on a comparative trans-Indigenous critical perspective as well. I have also spent the past five years working closely with educators from the Muckleshoot, Puyallup and Nisqually tribes to develop a collaborative, interdisciplinary program in Native American and Indigenous Studies at PLU, a program that we hope to launch this fall.
It is a humbling honor to be nominated to serve on the NAISA Council, and I am eager to work for our organization as it continues to grow and develop Indigenous Studies as an academic field that serves both our individual Indigenous communities and the global network of Indigenous collaboration and cooperation. While I strongly believe that our field has a lot to offer the settler institutions that house us, I also believe that our primary responsibilities are to the Indigenous peoples of the world, and that we can contribute to our communities and peoples both by critiquing settler ideologies and systems, and by working to produce Indigenous knowledge and to Indigenize our portion of the academy. Belonging to NAISA, attending its conferences and reading NAIS has had a rejuvenating effect on my own work, and I have been blessed by contact with colleagues from around the world who have challenged me and helped me to grow as an Indigenous scholar. I look forward to the opportunity to give back to this vibrant, exceptional organization. Ollu giitu.
Caskey Russell is originally from Seattle, Washington. He’s an enrolled member of the Tlingit tribe of Alaska. He’s from the eagle moiety, Naasdeidí clan, with roots to the Kóon Hít of the Kooÿu Ḵwáan. He received his BA and MA in English from Western Washington University, and his PhD from the University of Oregon. His dissertation examined Tlingit Intellectual Traditions. He’s taught at Iowa State University, is currently an Associate Professor in English and Director of American Indian Studies at the University of Wyoming. His research focuses on Tlingit Studies, sovereignty and civil rights, and critical race theory.
I’m thrilled to be nominated for the NAISA council. I’m currently the Director of American Indian Studies at the University of Wyoming, and associate professor of English and American Indian Studies. Much of my research is based on my own tribe (Tlingit) and focuses on Alaskan Native sovereignty and civil rights; my main goal in my research is to give indigenous people the tools to counter ideologies of oppression and colonization. My most recent piece, published February 8th 2017 by the ACLU, interrogated the state sponsored violence I witnessed against indigenous water protectors and their allies at Standing Rock on the night November 20th 2016.
As Director of American Indian Studies at U Wyoming, I spend much of my time on the Wind River Reservation working with the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho on important issues such as language revitalization, recruitment and retention, and community engagement with higher education. Currently, I’m working on a reservation-based bachelor’s degree program that will enable Wind River Reservation students to earn a four year degree while staying on the reservation. Also, as Director, I organized the 2014 Building Tribal Nations Symposium at the University of Wyoming, and helped organize the 2015 Stabilizing Indigenous Languages Symposium on the Wind River Reservation. I would love the opportunity to help organize the upcoming NAISA conferences.
In 2013, I was a visiting researcher in the School of Māori and Pacific Development at the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand. My time in New Zealand, and in the Yucatan among Mayan communities in 2008/09, has reinforced my desire to see NAISA continue to advocate for inclusivity and interdisciplinarity among all indigenous peoples—and to continue to bring indigenous people together from across the world. These next four years are going to be difficult for indigenous people in America and around the globe. Now, more than ever, NAISA will play an important role in working with indigenous communities to do the type of research and coalition building needed to help resist ongoing attacks on indigenous sovereignty.
My main tenet as a council member will be: Indigenous research should derive from and serve the needs of indigenous communities. I’ve delivered presentations at three NAISA conferences (Athens, Minneapolis, Honolulu) and will be presenting again at the 2017 conference. I’ve witnessed the amazing growth of NAISA over the past decade and hope, as council member, to help continue that growth and create NAISA’s vision for the next decade. Gunalchéesh!
Emilio del Valle Escalante (Emil Keme, K’iche’ Maya, Iximulew) is Associate Professor in the department of Romance Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His teaching and research interest focus on contemporary Latin American literatures and cultural studies with particular emphasis on indigenous literatures and social movements, Central American literatures and cultures, and post-colonial and subaltern studies theory in the Latin American context. He has been concerned with contemporary indigenous textual production and how indigenous intellectuals challenge hegemonic traditional constructions of the indigenous world, history, the nation-state and modernity in order to not only redefine the discursive and political nature of these hegemonic narratives from Native perspectives, but also interethnic or intercultural relations. His broader cultural and theoretical interests cluster around areas involving themes of colonialism as these relate to issues of nationhood, national identity, race/ethnicity and gender. He is the author / editor of Maya Nationalisms and Postcolonial Challenges in Guatemala: Coloniality, Modernity and Identity Politics (School for Advanced Research Press, 2009; Spanish version by FLACSO, 2008), Teorizando las literaturas indígenas (A Contracorriente, 2015), U’k’ux kaj, u’k’ux ulew: Antologia de poesia Maya guatemalteca contemporanea (IILI, 2010), “Untying Tongues: Minority Literatures in Spain and Latin America” (with Alfredo Sosa Velasco, a special issue of Romance Notes 2010), and “Indigenous Literatures and Social Movements in Latin America” (a special issue of Latin American Indian Literatures Journal [Spring 2008]). Del Valle Escalante has also published numerous book chapters and articles that may be found in such venues as Revista de Crítica Literaria Latinoamericana, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, Mesoamerica, Studies in American Indian Literature, Revista Iberoamericana, Latin American Caribbean and Ethnic Studies, Procesos: Revista Ecuatoriana de Historia, and Revista de Estudios Interétnicos. He is currently completing a monograph titled: “Before and After Genocide in Guatemala: Re-Building the Maya World Through Literature”
I am very honored to stand for election to the NAISA council. Since my first participation at NAISA 2010 in Tucson, AZ, I have learned so much, and I have been enriched and stimulated intellectually from the vitality of the organization. Along with other colleagues, I participated in the creation of NAISA’s Abia Yala Working Group which aims to increase the participation of Indigenous activists and scholars from the south of Abia Yala (or the Americas) at NAISA’s annual conferences. The Working Group also envisions having a future NAISA conference in the Indigenous South. If given the opportunity to become a council member, I would continue working toward concrete steps in materializing these efforts.
Julie Pelletier, PhD, is a cultural anthropologist specializing in Indigenous studies with a particular interest in the indigenization of the academy, the politics of representation and identity, and economic development as self-determination. An associate professor at the University of Winnipeg, Julie has served as the chair of the Department of Indigenous Studies and is currently the acting executive director of the Global College Human Rights Program. A descendant of the Maliseet and Mi’kmaq peoples of the St. John River Valley in northern Maine, she has lived much of her adult life in the territory of other Indigenous peoples as a grateful and respectful guest.
Hello fellow NAISA-ers! I have been participating regularly in NAISA meetings since the University of Minnesota conference in a number of capacities – giving papers, organizing panels, and mentoring new student participants. It has been inspiring to see the growth of the organization in numbers of attendees and members as well as in the range of disciplines and approaches. I have been involved in Indigenous studies for more than 25 years, as a student, faculty member, and administrator. My work in Canada and the U.S. has given me a comparative perspective that would be of value to the NAISA Council, as has my experience living and interacting with Indigenous peoples and scholars from different regions and from many disciplines. I would be honored to serve my colleagues in this capacity and promise to bring to the position enthusiasm, administrative experience, willingness to work respectfully with others, and a commitment to NAISA’s mission.
NAISA Council members serve terms of three years. Their role includes working with the other members of the council to make group decisions regarding: the conference program (by reading and evaluating paper and panel proposals and sessions and negotiating the roles of the council and the host committee); membership and conference fees; locations for future conferences; the Call for Papers for the conference; policies of the Association; raising, managing, and spending funds; appropriate modes of communication with the membership including the content of the message. The council convenes at the annual meeting, in a two-day meeting in December to set the program at the site of the upcoming annual meeting, and in periodic conference calls via telephone or Skype. The association has not usually been able to provide funding for council travel to meetings or reimbursement for phone charges and other expenses.
Along with working as a group, members of the council might assist the host committee in planning the annual meeting and are a vital conduit for bringing concerns of members to the council for discussion an, if necessary, remedies. They also keep in regular contact with the president and council, work on initiatives that the president and council have identified as important to the health and development of the association, and possibly serve on either permanent or temporary committees.