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.

Theodore C. Van Alst, Jr. is an Assistant Professor of Native American Studies at the University of Montana. He is a former Assistant Dean and Director of the Native American Cultural Center at Yale University, and has been an Assistant Professor and Co-Chair of the Program in Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Connecticut. His most recent work includes "Lapin Noir: To Del Rio It Went" in A Critical Companion to the Fiction of Stephen Graham Jones, ed. Billy J. Stratton from the University of New Mexico Press as well as the chapters "Navajo Joe," and "The Savage Innocents," in Seeing Red—Hollywood's Pixeled Skins: American Indians and Film(2013), available from Michigan State University Press. His current book-length project is Spaghetti and Sauerkraut with a Side of Frybread, and his edited volume The Faster, Redder, Road: The Best UnAmerican Stories of Stephen Graham Jones will be released in April 2015 by the University of New Mexico Press. He has worked as a consultant on multiple projects for the Disney Channel as well as on NPR’s All Things Considered, and has recently appeared in multiple segments of the History Channel series Mankind the Story of All of Us. He has been interviewed by The Washington Post, Canadian Broadcast Corporation, Native America Calling, Smithsonian Magazine, and Al-Jazeera America Television on a variety of subjects, from Native representation and Tonto to Spaghetti Westerns, headdresses, and Twilight.


Candidate Statement: I have attended every meeting of NAISA since Minneapolis (2009), and have watched our organization steadily grow both physically and intellectually. Whether engaging with academic colleagues in sessions so numerous and vibrant we could all use dedicated hourly planners to sketch our attendance, or with local community scholars and elders at the wonderful sites we’ve been privileged to attend, I am sincerely committed to assisting our organization in continuously increasing its influence and relevance in our academic and indigenous communities, and I am deeply devoted to assisting NAISA in working with those communities, be they home, abroad, or adopted.

As one of the original Executive Host Committee members who first envisioned bringing NAISA to Mohegan (2012 meeting), I was privileged during that time to observe first-hand the possibilities available to groups of committed people, and, should you select me to serve as a member of Council, I hope to continue that concept of shared workload. It is an honor to be nominated for this position, and I would be grateful to represent our membership and our communities on NAISA Council.