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Message from the Director

Dear AISC friends and family, Chokma!

Wishing you a very happy holiday season from all of us at the AISC!

Shannon Speed
Director, UCLA American Indian Studies Center


Institute of American Cultures 2020–2021 Visiting Research Scholar Fellowship Program in Ethnic Studies

The Institute of American Cultures offers in-residence appointments to support research on African Americans, American Indians, Asian Americans, and Chicanas/os. We especially encourage applications that advance our understanding of new social and cultural realities occasioned by the dramatic population shifts of recent decades, including greater heterogeneity within ethnic groups and increased interethnic contact.

For 2020–2021, the American Indian Studies Center will host a Visiting Scholar for one quarter. The Bunche Center for African American Studies will not have a Visiting Scholar this academic year. 

Applications site will open on October 15, 2019. Completed applications must be received by 11:59 pm January 9, 2020. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. Applicants will be notified in March.

For more information and to apply:


Institute of American Cultures 2020–2021 Research Grant Program in Ethnic Studies

The UCLA Institute of American Cultures (IAC) invites applications for support of research on African Americans, American Indians, Asian Americans, and Chicanas/os for 2020–2021. The Institute also invites proposals on interethnic relations that will increase collaboration between the Centers and/or between the Centers and other campus units.

Deadline: Applications available October 15, 2019 and must be received by 11:59 p.m., March 1, 2020. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. Applicants will be notified in May.

For more information and to apply:


News from the AISC Library

Library-FB-profile003The UCLA American Indian Studies Center and Library traveled to San Francisco November 20th-23rd to participate in the activities celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Occupation of Alcatraz Island by the Indians of All Tribes (the group who initially took over the island in protest of the federal policy of tribal assimilation). This occupation would help end the assimilation policy and cast other Native issues into the spotlight. The occupation lasted 19 months, forever impacting Native activism.

The events were hosted and planned by the Indians of All Tribes committee jointly with the National Park Service. Events included public speaking and testimonies of Alcatraz veteran occupiers (among them UCLA Native alumni), several major photography and archival exhibitions, including “Red Power on Alcatraz: Perspectives 50 Years later,” films, book talks, book signings, and a concert by Buffy Sainte-Marie (Cree First Nation), social activist and singer-songwriter, and other special hosted events at other sites. 

Buffy Sainte-Marie performs at Herbst Theatre

During Alcatraz’s 50th Anniversary, the AISC Library nabbed signed copies dedicated to AISC students and patrons from University of Nebraska Professor Kent Blansett (Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Shawnee, and Potawatomi descendant), who gave a talk on "A Journey to Freedom: Richard Oakes, Alcatraz, and the Red Power Movement," and from Alcatraz veteran and prominent activist LaNada Means War Jack (Shoshone Bannock)  who signed her book, "Native Resistance: an Intergenerational Fight for Survival and Life." Come see these two books and what else the library has on the Native resistance movements.

Left: Kent Blansett discusses his new book; Right: LaNada War Jack signs a copy for AISC library

The AISC Library is preparing for an exhibit on Native Activism later in the academic year and is collecting photos, papers, and ephemera related to all Native activism with special emphasis on California, UCLA, and Native women activists. If you are alumni, community friends, or former staff members and have materials you would be willing to discuss or share, contact Joy Holland at

 The AISC Librarian spent some time at UC Berkeley discussing collection development, ethical collection practices, and future collaborations with the creative and wonderful Melissa Stoner, Native American Studies Librarian in the Ethnic Studies Library at UC Berkeley. We look forward to ways to work together to highlight and improve resources in our libraries!

Melissa Stoner and Joy Holland pose for a selfie on Berkeley's lovely campus.


Empire's Tracks: A Talk by Dr. Manu Karuka's%20Tracks_sm.jpgMonday, January 13, 2020
3 PM – 4:30 PM
UCLA Charles E. Young Research Library, Main Conference Room

Dr. Manu Karuka will give an overview of his new book, Empire’s Tracks: Indigenous Nations, Chinese Workers, and the Transcontinental Railroad (University of California Press, 2019). Empire’s Tracks boldly reframes the history of the transcontinental railroad from the perspectives of the Cheyenne, Lakota, and Pawnee tribes, and the Chinese migrants who toiled on its path. Karuka situates the railroad within the violent global histories of colonialism and capitalism, examining legislative, military, and business records, explain the imperial foundations of U.S. political economy. Tracing the shared paths of Indigenous and Asian American histories, this multi-sited interdisciplinary study connects military occupation to exclusionary border policies.

Manu Karuka, assistant professor of American Studies at Barnard College, critiques imperialism, with a particular focus on anti-racism and Indigenous decolonization.

Please RSVP to the talk for an accurate headcount.
Following the talk, Dr. Karuka will be hosting a workshop for students from 5 – 6 pm in Rolfe 2125. Snacks will be provided.

Co-sponsored by the UCLA American Indian Studies Center.


Film Screening: The Incredible 25th Year of Mitzi Bearclaw, January 16, 2020
7:30 PM
UCLA James Bridges Theater

RVSP at Seats are limited. The UCLA American Indian Studies Center will be hosting the Los Angeles premiere of award-winning visual artist and filmmaker Shelley Niro’s new feature film, The Incredible 25th Year of Mitzi Bearclaw. A Q&A will follow with Director Shelley Niro.

This event is co-sponsored by Melnitz Movies (UCLA Graduate Students Association and the ASUCLA Student Interaction Fund), Bruin Film Society, Department of Gender Studies, American Indian Studies Interdepartmental Program, Department of World Arts and Culture/Dance, Center for the Advancement of Teaching, Center for the Study of Women, UCLA Canadian Studies Program, UCLA Institute of American Cultures, and the UCLA Division of Social Sciences.


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