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Message from the Director

Chokma! Greetings to the American Indian Studies Center community. I am excited and honored to be here to serve you as the AISC Director. As you can all imagine, I will be working in the coming weeks and months to come up to speed on all things AISC and UCLA, and your input and advice is most welcome. I will also be endeavoring to get to know each and every one of you personally and to build the collaborative relationships and collective processes that will move the Center forward.

As I start on this journey, I am deeply grateful to former AISC Director Angela Riley, whose dedicated efforts have left the Center in such a solid and invigorated state. Many thanks also to Mishuana Goeman, who did a great deal more during her period as Interim Director than “keep the seat warm,” as she characterized it in a previous newsletter. The staff of the Center have been wonderfully welcoming and extremely astute at anticipating my needs, which I truly appreciate. It is an honor and a privilege to serve under the leadership of Vice Provost Belinda Tucker, who has fought and continues to fight the good fight for American Indian Studies.

We have a number of exciting events coming up this quarter that I am sure will be of great interest to you. Please see the list below and mark your calendars! Also, please note the deadline date to apply for research fellowships (due April 20), and please encourage your students to apply to the student research funds (due February 1). Finally, please help us to circulate this link to the visiting scholar position - deadline is approaching quickly (February 2):

I thank you in advance for your patience with me in this transition period. My door is always open, so please come by and see me anytime. I look forward to working with you all to continue to build the AISC as a campus hub of support and an intellectual community for indigenous studies students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community


Dr. Shannon Speed is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation. She was appointed Director of the UCLA American Indian Studies Center in January 2016, and is also an Associate Professor in the departments of Gender Studies and Anthropology. Dr. Speed has worked for the last two decades in Mexico, and her research and teaching interests include indigenous politics, legal anthropology, human rights, neoliberalism, gender, indigenous migration, and activist research. She has published five books and edited volumes, including Rights in Rebellion: Human Rights and Indigenous Struggle in Chiapas, Human Rights in the Maya Region: Global Politics, Moral Engagements, and Cultural Contentions, and Dissident Women: Gender and Cultural Politics in Chiapas.  She has published numerous journal articles and book chapters in English and Spanish, as well as two books in Spanish. Her current research is on indigenous Latin American women migrants and gender violence, and her book in progress is entitled, States of Violence: Indigenous Women Migrants and Human Rights in the Era of Neoliberal Multicriminalism.  She serves on the Council of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) and as co-chair (with Maylei Blackwell) of the Otros Saberes/Other Knowledges section of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA). In 2013, she was awarded the Chickasaw Dynamic Woman of the Year Award by the Chickasaw Nation, and in 2014 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the State Bar of Texas Indian Law Section.


Save the Date for these Upcoming Events

[February 5] UCLA Law Review’s 2016 Symposium: “The Next Frontier in Federal Indian Law: Building on the Foundational Work of Carole E. Goldberg.” 8:30 AM - 7:00 PM, UCLA School of Law. RSVP at:

[February 18] Biopolitics, Aging and the Struggle for Indigenous Elsewhere, 2-4 PM, Cypress Room in UCLA Faculty Center. Lecture by Professor Sandy Grande. Co-sponsors: REPAIR AND NetCE.

[March 16] Trying Times: Disability, Activism and Education in Samoa, 3-5 PM, Room 2343, Public Policy. Lecture by Dr. Juliann Anesi. Co-sponsors: REPAIR AND NetCE.

[March 31] American Constitutions: Life, Liberty, and Property in Colonial East Florida, 12-2PM, History Conference Room, 6275 Bunche Hall. Lecture by Nancy O. Gallman, UC Davis.

[April 12] Addressing Indigenous Land, Environmental Destruction Symposium
4/12 -- time TBD, symposium at Sequoia Room, UCLA Faculty Center

[May 7 & 8] UCLA Annual Pow Wow, hosted by AISA


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