Jean Dennison (Osage) is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Washington. Her book Colonial Entanglement: Constituting a Twenty-First-Century Osage Nation (UNC Press 2012) speaks directly to national revitalization, one of the most pressing issues facing American Indians today. From 2004 to 2006 the Osage Nation conducted a contentious governmental reform process in which differing visions arose over the new government's goals, the Nation's own history, and what it means to be Osage. With major grants from the National Science Foundation and the Wenner-Gren Foundation, this research documents the reform process in order to reveal the lasting effects of colonialism and the possibilities for indigenous sovereignty. Her current research continues to follow the nation building process, using ethnographic research to interrogate how various governmental officials and citizens deploy concepts of accountability. As American Indian and other indigenous peoples continue the process of rebuilding in the wake of ongoing colonialism, they face a similar set of challenges to their selfhood and governance structure. She has also published various journals including Visual Anthropology, PoLAR, American Indian Quarterly, and the American Indian Culture and Research Journal. Dennison's areas of specialty include representation, visual anthropology, race, and North American Indian citizenship, governance, and sovereignty. The primary goal of her academic endeavor is to explore how indigenous peoples can better negotiate and contest the ongoing settler colonial process.
Candidate Statement: I am honored to have been asked to stand for election to the NAISA Council. NAISA has provided me with an invaluable community of mentors, friends, and collaborators. Throughout my academic career I have sought to create new spaces for scholarly dialogue and enrichment. Some of these experiences include reviving our departmental colloquium, founding and convening both an interdisciplinary American Indian Studies colloquium and an interdisciplinary critical democracy colloquium, and organizing nine additional panels and symposiums. My primary strengths are in mentorship, community building, and dedication to any project I take on. I am committed to ensuring that NAISA continues to be a space where junior native scholars can build the community necessary to thrive in academic spaces and where all scholars can work together toward the decolonization of the academy.