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.

Successful candidates for Secretary of NAISA serve a three-year term. As a member of Council the Secretary is involved in Council business, discussions and decisions but also performs a unique administrative, organizational and recording role. The primary tasks revolve around the administration and recording of Council meetings. These include: Scheduling, preparing and circulating an annual Council Meeting plan which aligns meeting times for all Council members; Liaising with Presidents on agendas items, preparing and circulating Council Agenda to Council members prior to meetings; Recording, preparing, verifying with Presidents and circulating official minutes of Council Meetings; Maintaining and updating the Council Action List based on action items and decisions made by Council at each meeting; Leading items on Apologies, previous meeting’s minutes and Action List activity at each Council meeting.

In addition the Secretary is tasked with maintaining the official hard copy and electronic copy of Council business documentation for each Council year (annual meeting to annual meeting). This record includes agendas and minutes of all Council meetings, key Council documents such as the constitution, by-laws and any variations of these that have occurred; documentation and correspondence for the upcoming annual meetings and the documentation and correspondence of other Council matters as they arise.

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Noelani Goodyear-Kaʻōpua is a Kanaka Maoli who was born and raised in Hawaiʻi. Her genealogy also connects her to Southern China and the British Midlands. She is an associate professor of political science at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, where she teaches Hawaiian and Indigenous politics. Noelani’s research interests in Hawaiian sovereignty, Indigenous resurgence, the politics of education, and decolonial futures are deeply connected to her work beyond the academy. She is a co-founder of Hālau Kū Māna public charter school and of MANA, a movement-building organization supporting Hawaiian independence. Noelani also serves on the boards of Kānehūnāmoku Voyaging Academy and Hui o Kuapā Keawanui, both of which use Native Hawaiian ocean-based technologies and practices to help create resilient Indigenous communities.

The ethics and practices of aloha ʻāina guide her academic and community work, as she seeks to document, analyze and proliferate the ways people are transforming imperial and settler colonial relations through Indigenous political values and initiatives. For example, her research has focused on the politics of designing and implementing Indigenous culture- and land-based educational initiatives within and against settler state structures. Her first book, The Seeds We Planted: Portraits of a Native Hawaiian Charter School (University of Minnesota Press, 2013), discusses some of these tensions and the ways educators and students navigate them. Noelani deeply values collaborative work. Two edited volumes co-edited are evidence of her commitment to collective intellectual production. A Nation Rising: Hawaiian Movements for Life, Land and Sovereignty (Duke University Press, 2014) is a collection that explores late-20th and early 21st century Hawaiian organizing for justice and self-determination, while The Value of Hawaiʻi, 2: Ancestral Roots, Oceanic Visions (University of Hawai‘i Press, 2014). She is also the co-editor, along with April Henderson, of a new Indigenous Pacifics series with UH Press.

I am honored to be nominated for NAISA council secretary. One of the things I value most about NAISA is the ways the organization and annual meetings have helped to facilitate trans-Indigenous intellectual, cultural exchanges that have deeply influenced my work, my activism, and my students. I would bring to the position my experience in serving on volunteer boards for community-based, non-profit organizations. For instance I served as secretary and then chair of the local school board of Hālau Kū Māna. Because that orgnaization dealt with significant external pressures, I came to understand the critical importance of clear and timely documentation of deliberations and official communications. Being a mom of three and a former waitress has also made me a practiced multi-tasker. I am currently serving on the host committee for the NAISA 2016 annual conference, and this is giving me a better understanding of some of the inner workings of NAISA governance. If elected, I would also be interested in exploring with the council ways that we might use more digital tools to facilitate participatory decision-making amongst the membership. Community-engaged research and activist scholarship are my passions, so I would want to support NAISA’s continued work and growth in these areas. I am also interested in conversations about how to be more inclusive of scholars from disciplinary backgrounds that seem to be less common at NAISA, such as theater, economics, or public health, and of scholars from parts of the Indigenous world(s) that are less well-represented in the organization and the field of Indigenous studies.


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It is such a great honor to be considered as a candidate for NAISA secretary.  Over the past 5 years, I have benefited from the hard work of the council, executive board, and the organization’s members, and I would relish the opportunity to reciprocate. NAISA has been a sustaining intellectual home and it’s been a pleasure to watch its astounding growth into a global meeting place, a vast network of scholars, artists, activists, and community members working across geographic regions and disciplinary boundaries, and a forum for exchange, debate, collaboration, mentorship, and more. In 2015, I co-chaired of the local host committee for the NAISA annual meeting in Washington D.C.; we welcomed nearly 1000 attendees for three days of meetings, sessions, and special events. I gained critical experience in this position over the course of 18 months—managing a committee of organizers, keeping and balancing a large budget, reporting at in-person and Skype council meetings, and serving as a liaison between the organizers and NAISA executive officers—that has prepared me well to carry out the responsibilities of the secretary. If elected, I will endeavor to serve with the same generosity and good will as those who have served before me.  Specifically, I will work hard to facilitate council meetings, communicate effectively with NAISA members, and draw from my conference organizing experiences to help future host committees plan and hold intellectually vibrant and exciting annual meetings in the coming years.

As an historian working in Native American and Indigenous studies, my scholarly work has focused on reinterpreting standard narratives of U.S. settler colonialism. I’ve sought to illuminate moments, often obscured in mainstream historical accounts, when viable alternatives to federal dispossession and assimilation policies arose in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. My first book, Crooked Paths to Allotment, illustrated how Native leaders and allies, working within structures of the federal government, established a tradition of dissent against disruptive colonial governance. I also co-edited a collection of essays entitled Beyond Two Worlds that brought together scholars and activists to interrogate the binary “two worlds” trope that has shaped both historical writing and popular culture about Native communities and individuals. More recently, my work and engagement has been centered on Washington D.C. I am writing a book that examines the visual, symbolic, and lived Indigenous landscapes of the capital, focusing especially on the ways that Native visitors and residents claimed and reclaimed spaces in the city. For the initial stages of research on this project, I served as a fellow at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress and as a Smithsonian Institution Fellow at the National Museum of the American Indian.