Renae Watchman Candidate Statement and Bio: Yá'át'ééh! Shi éí Renae Watchman yinishyé. Tódích'íí'nii éínishłị dóó Kinyaa'nii báshíshchíín. Áádóó Tsalagi éí da shichei dóó Táchii'nii éí da shinálí. Tse'Bit'Ai déé' íiyisí naashá. Dóó Calgary, Alberta, Canada di shighaan.
Greetings! My name is Renae Watchman and I am of the Bitter Water People, born for the Towering House People. My paternal grandfather was Cherokee from Tahlequah, OK, where we are Bird Clan, and my paternal grandfather was from the Red Running Through the Water Clan (from Sheepsprings, NM). I am originally from Shiprock, NM, but I now make Calgary, Alberta, Canada my home.
Currently, I am an associate professor of English, cross-appointed with Indigenous Studies at Mount Royal University, where I teach North American Indigenous Literatures and Film courses (contemporary, global, and Indigenous). Along with other colleagues, I recently received an Outstanding Team Award for our work in hosting an annual Indigenous Speakers series, where we continue to invite renowned Indigenous elders, scholars, activists and artists. I completed my Ph.D. in the Department of German Studies, jointly with the Graduate Program in Humanities from Stanford University in 2007. My dissertation was titled "Fictionalizing the Indigenous in German Travel Literature," which examined late 18th and early 19th century scientific texts that muted, ignored, and silenced the knowledges of Indigenous peoples during this era of travel. As such, my work and research interests remain transdisciplinary. I am working on a book manuscript that looks at the displacement of Indigenous stories and their connection to land, landscape and monoliths in feature films.
Should I be elected to serve for The Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, I will work collaboratively with the other members of Council to ensure the success of future conferences in their planning, organization, and implementation. As a member of Council, I would also assist in respectful decision-making and serve the membership as advocate for equity and inclusivity. At Mount Royal University (a teaching focused, undergraduate institution) I serve on a number of department and university-wide committees. I am the Chair of the Faculty of Arts Diversity Committee, as well as a committee member of the Mount Royal Faculty Association Diversity Committee. Having been a NAISA member since 2009, I have connected with mentors, elders and colleagues, made friendships, and gained knowledge that will help me broaden NAISA's vision to my institution and in Canada at large. NAISA's international reputation and growth as a professional organization is one I would humbly, yet actively serve.