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.

Megan Lukaniec is an enrolled member of the Huron-Wendat Nation of Wendake, Québec, Canada. She is currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of Linguistics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she intends to write a grammar of her heritage language, Wendat. Megan began her academic career at Dartmouth College, where she earned a B.A. in Native American Studies and French. Upon graduating, Megan joined the budding efforts toward Wendat language revitalization on the reserve of Wendake. Since 2007, Megan has been working under the auspices of Project Yawenda [the 'voice']: a project whose primary goal was to revitalize Wendat and which was initially funded through the Community-University Research Alliances program (CURA) of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada. As the last speakers of Wendat passed away during the second half of the 19th century, revitalization is based upon the numerous Jesuit manuscript dictionaries and grammars located in archives across the United States and Canada. Within this project, Megan was responsible for reconstructing the lexicon (through historical and comparative linguistic analysis with the sister Iroquoian languages), training future language teachers, and helping to teach the language within the community. Concurrently, Megan earned her M.A. in Linguistics and Anthropology at Université Laval in Québec.

Megan’s current research focuses on reconstructing the stress patterns of Wendat as well as analyzing the morphological and discourse properties of the language through the lens of comparative Iroquoian research. Megan has also given numerous presentations on the use of archival materials for the purposes of language reawakening. She hopes to work on developing a language revitalization methodology that is specific to dormant languages (i.e. languages which are no longer spoken, but are documented) in her future research.

At the University of California, Santa Barbara, Megan continues to work remotely for the Wendat language revitalization project. Additionally, she has co-organized the 16th and 17th iterations of the Workshop on American Indigenous Languages through the Department of Linguistics at UCSB. Megan is also a member of the American Indian and Indigenous Collective (AIIC), a research focus group that unites faculty members and students on campus who are working on Indigenous issues.

Candidate Statement: Kwe onywatenro' [Greetings, friends]! I am honored to be nominated for the NAISA Nominations Committee. As a Native graduate student, I am committed to contributing to the expansion of Native American and Indigenous Studies within academia. In my own discipline of linguistics and elsewhere, I am devoted to promoting and sustaining collaborative, respectful, and responsible research with Indigenous communities.

Through my academic career, I have attended three different institutions in the U.S. and Canada, with varying levels of support for Native students and Native American and Indigenous Studies. These student experiences have shaped and continue to shape my perspective on the role of the institution in cultivating scholars working on Indigenous issues.

If I were to serve as a member of the NAISA Nominations Committee, I would put my efforts towards supporting the electoral process and encouraging strong leadership within the association. I would also advocate for the recognition and recruitment of emerging leaders within Indigenous Studies through the NAISA nominations process.