Ines Hernandez-Avila is Professor of Native American Studies at UC Davis, and she has served twice as Chair of the department. She is Nimipu (Nez Perce), enrolled on the Colville Reservation in Washington, and Tejana. Her Ph.D. is in English from the University of Houston. At Davis, she has been passionate about program-building, the NAS graduate program, and strengthening the hemispheric perspective that NAS at Davis is known for. During her first term as Department Chair (1996-1998), NAS submitted a successful proposal to launch a Ph.D. program. With Stefano Varese, she organized the bi-national conference, “Indigenous Intellectual Sovereignties: A Hemispheric Convocation” (in 1998, held at UCD and in Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico). During her second term as Chair (2010-2013), with Varese and Victor Montejo, in 2009-2011, she coordinated a two-year Department of State grant to enhance graduate education across borders; workshops were held in Mexico (in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, and Oaxaca, Oaxaca), and Guatemala (in Antigua). She is one of the six founders of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA). In 2010-2011, she was the Site Coordinator for the annual NAISA conference that was held in Sacramento, California, in May 2011.
She received the UCD Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award for Graduate Teaching, and the Outstanding Mentor Award from the UCD Consortium on Women and Research. She is a poet and visual artist as well as a scholar. Her scholarly and personal essays have appeared widely. Her most recent publication is Entre Guadalupe y Malinche: Tejanas in Literature and Art (University of Texas Press, February 2016), co-edited with Norma E. Cantú. An earlier edited publication is Reading Native American Women: Critical/Creative Representations (Altamira, 2005)), and she was part of the Latina Feminist Research Group that produced Telling to Live: Latina Feminist Testimonios (Duke), which won the Outstanding Book Award (2002) from the Gustavus Meyers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights. She was a Co-Director of the UCD (Mellon funded) Social Justice Initiative (2013-2016); when she was lead Director (2014-2015), she focused the programming on global indigeneities (see http://socialjusticeinitiative.ucdavis.edu/). She regularly teaches Summer Abroad in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, with a focus on the Zapatistas and on contemporary Mayan and Zoque writers and visual artists. Besides NAISA, she is active in LASA (Latin American Studies Association), and the AAR (American Academy of Religion), in particular the Native Traditions in the Americas group.
I would be honored to serve NAISA in this position. I would bring my thirty-year experience of having worked in NAS at UC Davis and my vision that has emerged and been shaped from that formation, and from the work we have all done in NAISA. I see NAISA continuing to be a grounded space of transformative international engagement, praxis, networking, and mentoring, across and beyond borders. NAISA members have created a safe, welcoming, inclusive and powerful space for Native American and Indigenous peoples, scholars, and communities, and their allies. I am committed to contributing to NAISA’s vibrant growth and visibility. I am especially interested in supporting the graduate student members of the association, and finding evermore ways to support our scholars who are on their way towards tenure and full professorships, and those intent on strengthening their home programs/departments. I am happy, also, that I would bring the connections I have to indigenous scholars from the south, from Mexico, Central and South America. I am excited about the possibilities of our ever-expanding scholarly and creative community.