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.


Renae Watchman is Diné, originally from Shiprock, NM. She is Tódích'íí'nii (Bitter Water), born for Kinyaa'nii (Towering House). She also has family in Tahlequah, Oklahoma (Tsalagi) through her maternal grandfather. Her paternal grandparents were both from Sheepsprings, NM. Currently, Dr. Watchman is an Associate Professor of English, cross-appointed with Humanities/Indigenous Studies at Mount Royal University, where she teaches North American Indigenous Literatures and Film courses (contemporary, global, and Indigenous). She completed her Ph.D. in the Department of German Studies, jointly with the Graduate Program in Humanities from Stanford University in 2007. Her dissertation was titled "Fictionalizing the Indigenous in German Travel Literature," which examined late 18th and early 19th century scientific texts that muted, ignored, and silenced the Indigenous voice. As such, her work and research interests remain transdisciplinary and include: indigenous feminisms, comparative literature and cultural studies, orality, (post-/neo-) colonialism & decolonizing literature, and the globalization of powwows and powwow phenomena. Dr. Watchman is working on a book manuscript that looks at Indigenous land, landscape and monoliths and their displacement (place and story) in feature films.
In the spring semester of 2014, Dr. Watchman will be teaching a course on folklore and fairy tales. She will introduce students to Indigenous folklore and orality and their transnational influences of, and connection to, the popular Grimm's tales. While the focus of the course evolves around Indigeneity and orality, the course is a unique field school in which Dr. Watchman will end the course by taking students along the famous Fairy Tale road in Germany.

Personal Statement:

Yá'át'ééh! Shi éí Renae Watchman yinishyé. Tódích'íí'nii éínishłị dóó Kinyaa'nii báshíshchíín. Áádóó Tsalagi (Cherokee, Bird clan) éí da shichei dóó Táchii'nii éí da shinálí. Tse'Bit'Ai (Shiprock, NM) déé' íiyisí naashá. Dóó Calgary, Alberta, Canada di shighaan.
Should I be elected to serve for The Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, I will continue to advocate for and recruit leadership that exemplifies the diversity of 21st century Indigenous scholars. As a Navajo woman, with a German Studies background, teaching at a Canadian undergraduate institution, with a focus on Indigenous literatures and film, I have unique experiences that continually form my teaching and scholarship. At Mount Royal University (a teaching focused, undergraduate institution) I serve on a number of department and university-wide committees. I am the Chair of the Faculty of Arts Diversity Committee, as well as a committee member of the Mount Royal Faculty Association Diversity Committee. Furthermore, I envision a Center for Indigenous excellence at MRU that I will be advocating for, while also strengthening our (new!) Indigenous Studies minor. Having been a NAISA member since 2009, I have connected with mentors, elders and colleagues, made friendships, and gained knowledge that will help me broaden NAISA's vision to my institution and in Canada at large. My responsibilities as an educator also include the promotion of Indigenous scholars, authors, and student role models. To this end, I am co-organizing an Indigenous Speakers series to be held in the Winter semester 2014, of which has been generously funded by MRU. NAISA has afforded me these opportunities and I would be honored to reciprocate. NAISA's international reputation and growth as a professional organization is one I would humbly, yet actively serve.

Short Bio:

Danika Medak-Saltzman (Turtle Mountain Chippewa) is assistant professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her work focuses on Native histories, Indigenous thought and theory, transnational Indigeneity, Indigenous futurisms, and visual culture—including film and cultural production. She also examines the transnational movement of American colonial policies–particularly in the case of Japan—a subject explored in her book, Specters of Colonialism: Native Peoples, Visual Cultures, and Colonial Projects in the U.S. and Japan (1860-1904), forthcoming from the University of Minnesota Press in 2015. Danika is also author of "Transnational Indigenous Exchange: Rethinking Global Interactions of Indigenous Peoples at the 1904 St. Louis Exposition" published in American Quarterly 62.3 (Fall 2010) which, she is honored to mention, NAISA selected as "Most Thought Provoking Article of 2010 in Native American and Indigenous Studies." Danika's work and teaching seeks to reevaluate representations of Native people to underscore how Native peoples have always worked to negotiate difficult situations and visualize/create Indigenous futures in spite of persistent colonial narratives that mandate Native disappearance.

Personal Statement:

If selected for the Nominations Committee, I would welcome the privilege and responsibility of serving the association by helping to assemble a slate of nominees from which NAISA members elect its leadership. My interest in serving NAISA is grounded by administrative and community building skills that I have developed and dedicated over the years to fostering Indigenous scholarly and campus communities--from co-founding the New Voices in Indigenous Research graduate student conference (2002-2005) while serving as co-chair of the American Indian Graduate Student Association at UC Berkeley and actively participating in yearly NAISA conferences (with the exception of 2013, when a family emergency took precedence), to efforts on my home campus to resurrect the Native graduation ceremony and now working to help found a Center for Native American and Indigenous Studies at University of Colorado Boulder, for example. I welcome the opportunity to help NAISA continue to flourish, and I thank you for your consideration.

Osiyo. Ukvhad siquaniyoha dagwado'a. Anitsisqua tsiyvwi. Delasi digegv agwatvsvno. Nogwu agwsdayvhvsgi ale oginetsi agehyutsa Mnisota makoce (Dakota aniyvwiya gatohi unatseli) otseha. Mnisota tsundeloquasdiyi galvladi dagilvwisdaneho. Aniyvwiya dideloquasdi degadeyohvsgo.

I am a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, and an Assistant Professor in the Department of American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. I work closely with my tribal community in Oklahoma on issues of environmental policy, traditional ecological knowledge, and cultural revitalization initiatives. My book manuscript (under contract with University of Minnesota Press) situates this work in the context of broader discussions about indigenous governance, and asserts that American Indian nations--through their transformation of political structures that connect indigenous land ethics with resource management--have a central role to play in the global ecological crisis. This overall outlook situates my long-term research agenda to develop a sovereignty-based political ecological approach to indigenous environmental issues. Future research projects will focus on the relationship between American Indian conservation strategies and community health. As a member of the Nominations Committee, I hope to bring my experience working in tribal environmental science, policy, and management to foster this area of study within Indigenous Studies.


Nēpia is of Ngāti Porou and Waikato/Ngāti Maniapoto descent. He currently teaches Aotearao New Zealand History, Māori and Indigenous Histories, Oral History, and Historical Methodology, at the University of Waikato. He is the current chair of Te Pouhere Kōrero, a national Māori historians collective, and is a member of the New Zealand Historical Association Executive Committee. Nēpia is also working on a number of book projects related to Māori legal and political histories, a forthcoming publication on indigenous oral history method and theory, and a history of Indigenous Martial Arts.  He has recently returned from a Fulbright Visit with American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois.

Personal Statement

I am excited about the opportunity to connect with the NAISA community. NAISA provides an excellent opportunity to network and establish strong relationships with a broad international indigenous group of scholars. As the chair of Te Pouhere Korero I am aware that our national Māori history body has been keen to more formerly build relationships with like-minded indigenous scholars outside of Aotearoa. Some of our members have already been attending NAISA conferences. My hope is to continue to support this growing relationship in any way I can. Nga Manaakitanga ki a koutou katoa.

Jolan-HsiehDr. Jolan Hsieh is an Associate Professor in the Department of Ethnic Relations and Cultures, College of Indigenous Studies, National Dong Hwa University, TAIWAN. She earned her Ph.D. (2002) and M.S. (1996) in Justice Studies from Arizona State University-Tempe, USA. Her undergraduate degrees include a B.S. in Women's Studies (1993) and a B.A. in Church and Community Service (1991).

Jolan's research interest areas are Justice Theories, Law and Society, Human Rights, Gender/Ethnic/Class, Collective Identity and Social Movement, Indigenous Peoples' Traditional Knowledge, Feminist Legal Studies. Her book, College Rights of Indigenous Peoples – Identity-Based Movement of Plain Indigenous in Taiwan, published with Routledge (2006/2010). Jolan has developed expertise and interest specifically in the cultural aspects of socio-political issues, and how these process leads impact to indigenous policy in Taiwan and other countries.

Jolan's record shows her professional service for both the academic and community publics as well. Due to her personal research interest and the need to understand other countries' politics and related social issues, she organized several international conferences which included national policy studies on Canada, India, Samoa, New Zealand, and Belgium. In the last few years, she served as Executive Director for the Institute for National Development, Secretary General for both the Taiwan International Studies Association and Taiwan Canadian Studies Association, Executive Editor for both the Taiwan International Studies Quarterly and Taiwan Journal of Indigenous Studies, the PingPu (Plains Aboriginal) Working Committee of the Council of Indigenous Affairs, and Hualien County's Gender Equality Committee.

At current, Jolan directing the Innovation and Incubation Center for the Indigenous Peoples, serves as board of director / committee member of Mackay Memorial Foundation (Hospital), Mackay Medical College, Tainan City's Ethnic Affairs Office, Taichung City's Indigenous Peoples' Council, and Treasurer of the Trans-Pacific Environmental Action Network (U.S based NGO). Most recently, due Jolan's active service in community and professional knowledge, she also has been elected as Indigenous Peoples' Cultural Foundation's Standing Supervisor.

Dr. Jolan Hsieh also plays active role in her Siraya Nation's language and cultural revitalization movement and writes critiques in indigenous politics for several Taiwanese newspapers.


I am very honored to be nominated for the NAISA Council member. I am on faculty in the College of Indigenous Studies and am committed to doing intellectual work that serves Indigenous Peoples sovereignty, as well as cultural and language revitalization. I have attended the annual meeting since its established in 2009. As a Taiwanese Siraya indigenous scholar and activist, I advocate my knowledge in the field of social (in)justice and indigenous human rights.

I am committed to the development of indigenous studies as a coherent field, especially in providing viewpoints of Asian Indigenous peoples. I believe Indigenous scholars and activists need explicit treatment of our histories and practices from our own unique worldviews, therefore we also need to develop indigenous-based analytical frameworks as well as be able to speak for Indigenous ways of traditional knowledge and wisdom. I am committed to facilitating participation in NAISA by indigenous scholars from Indigenous Peoples' multicultural communities while respecting the nuanced ways in which various indigenous' works on different continents.

If elected, I will commit myself to work on main mission of the NAISA. First, with my training background and experience in trans-disciplinary programs, I am convinced that NAISA's strength stays in its organic differences as a useful supporting network. Second, I would bring with my election a particular focus on transitioning from a North America based professional organization to one that effectively serves the further inclusion of voices and perspectives from across the global South and North.

I thank all of NAISA's members and the officers' strength and conviction during our organization's establishment years. I thank the other candidates this year for agreeing to stand for election for NAISA's betterment. I thank my Grandmother's spiritual talk that leading me to taking this opportunity for greater service. And I thank all my relations.