I am an assistant professor of English at Northwestern University, where I teach classes on Native American and Indigenous Studies and Native American literature. I also serve as co-advisor to the University’s graduate student Colloquium on Indigeneity and Native American Studies and am co-chair of NU’s Indigenous Studies Research Initiative. My first book, Medical Encounters: Knowledge and Identity in Early American Literatures (University of Massachusetts Press, 2013) examined how medical knowledge served as a shared form of communication in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, one that allowed Native people and European colonists to debate questions about the body, spiritual entities, and the environment. My current book project utilizes archival research, consultations with tribal historians, and literary historical methodologies to study Native American literary practices of memory and place making in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. I am particularly interested in writers who contributed to and critiqued U.S. archives, museums, and anthropological displays. These interests have led to a collaboration with the American Indian Center of Chicago, on a digital archive of some of the Center’s papers.
I am honored to be included as a candidate for the Nomination Committee. I have been active in NAISA since 2014 and attend the conference yearly. My research, teaching, and service to my institution, the profession, and American Indian communities in Chicago are linked by my desire to address and dismantle colonial epistemologies, a passion that arises from my own and my institution’s specific settler colonial histories. I am the descendent of settlers who benefitted from the Homestead Act, an 1862 act signed by US President Abraham Lincoln that awarded “public land” to settlers willing to move west. My current institution was founded by John Evans, whose actions as territorial governor of Colorado were responsible for the Sand Creek Massacre in 1864. In all of my work, I aim to end settler practices of silencing these histories and to reshape educational institutions to make them accountable to their role in settler colonialism.
NAISA is my primary conference, and I am committed to supporting the excellent scholarship, mentoring, and activism that take place at the conferences. I would be thrilled to contribute to NAISA’s commitment to bringing together scholars, community members, and activists and to supporting interdisciplinary, community-engaged, collaborative work. If elected, I would work to identify candidates who represent these strengths and whose experience can help NAISA to meet the challenges of an expanding organization.