Jace Weaver is the Franklin Professor of Native American Studies and the Director of the Institute of Native American Studies at the University of Georgia. He holds a J.D. from Columbia University and a Ph.D. from Union Theological Seminary (affiliated with Columbia). He is the author or editor of twelve books (and numerous articles) in the field. His most recent book, The Red Atlantic: American Indigenes and the Making of the Modern World, 1000-1927, is due out from the University of North Carolina Press in March. He is currently completing a book project, "Oklahoma Revolution: Radicalism against Racism," which looks at the clash between Natives and socialists (on the one hand) and the Ku Klux Klan during the first decades of the 20th century.
I believe in Native American and Indigenous Studies ("NAIS") as a discipline and am committed to its development. NAISA has done so much to promote this during its brief existence. I was one of the original founders of NAISA, and the Institute of Native American Studies ("INAS") at the University of Georgia hosted the 2008 meeting at which the vote was taken to create the organization. In 2010, I was a leader in the movement for NAISA to boycott or publically protest Arizona’s anti-immigrant and anti-ethnic studies legislation. This, however, was always intended not as a boycott of NAISA but rather as a call for the organization to demonstrate its commitment to its constituent communities outside the academy. I have always remained committed to NAISA and its mission. As a senior scholar with an endowed chair, I have both the time and resources to dedicate myself to its continuance and growth. I want to keep NAISA the place where cutting-edge ideas in NAIS are discussed first.
Within NAIS, I have worked primarily in three areas: literature, law, and religious traditions. I think of myself principally as a theorist and a critic. Since the founding of INAS in 2004, however, I have dedicated myself primarily to community-driven research for the Cherokee Nation and the Cherokee National Historical Society. During this period, I have been part of teams that have: redesigned the educational reconstruction of a Cherokee village circa 1710 at the Cherokee National Museum in my home community of Park Hill; discovered and permanently marked the footprint of the original Cherokee National Female Seminary; surveyed the site of Cherokee chief John Ross' Rose Cottage and an early Cherokee cemetery in Indian Territory; and documented Cherokee adaptations to the loss due to Removal of one-third of the plants upon which they relied in their traditional homelands. I co-curated an exhibition at the Cherokee National Museum on our work on the Cherokee National Female Seminary and wrote a short film as an introduction to the exhibit. Elsewhere, INAS faculty organized and facilitated (and INAS helped finance) with the Navajo Nation Museum a project whereby master Navajo potters train young people in the Navajo tradition of pottery. Both the masters' and novices' work was then displayed at both the museum and in chapter houses around the nation. INAS also supported a faculty member who received a major NSF grant to record and document the language of the Wounaan people of Panama. Although I obviously continue to write books, my vision for NAISA is that it can find ways to continue to promote and support community-based scholarship like these projects, in addition to scholarship rooted more strictly in the academy.