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Message from the Director

Dear AISC friends,
November 2016 is not likely to go down in history as our best month. The unexpected election of a president who has espoused hate and prejudice of all kinds and who has been openly hostile to Native American sovereignty is profoundly alarming. It leaves many of us worrying about our families, our communities, our friends and allies, our future.

We are also concerned about the resisters at Standing Rock. The day after the election, the DAPL builders announced they plan to defy President Obama’s request to stand down and begin drilling within two weeks. We are certain to see tensions there rise in the coming days. Please join us for a Standing Rock Teach-in on Tuesday, November 15 at 3:30 in Dickson Plaza North (between Haines and Dodd) where we will discuss the current situation and hear from faculty and students who have visited Standing Rock in recent weeks.

On the up side, November is also Native American Heritage month, for which we have planned and participated in other exciting activities.

We continue to fight to establish Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Los Angeles. Although we were disappointed that the LA City Council did not put it on the agenda for a vote November 4, we were delighted to see and hear Native drums and dancers in the City Hall rotunda. The procession into the Council Chambers was impressive and Councilman O’Farrell (Wyandotte) spoke eloquently.  The AISC was honored to participate and humbled to receive recognition by the L.A. City/County Indian Commission for our service to the community. The Indigenous Peoples’ Day Coalition will continue to encourage City Council to bring the IPD proposal to a vote.

We may be in for some trying times ahead, given the policies the president-elect has said he will enact. Much of what he said during the campaign is profoundly antithetical to what the American Indian Studies Center and the Institute of American Cultures stand for. Know that the AISC will continue to provide a safe space and serve as a resource for students, staff, faculty, and community. We stand in solidarity with any and all marginalized or stigmatized individuals and communities that may be affected by potential future policies of prejudice and hate, and in particular express our support for our undocumented students here at UCLA. 

Let’s work together to continue our efforts!

Shannon Speed
Director, UCLA American Indian Studies Center


Caravan Against Repression in Mexico, November 14, 2016
12 - 2 PM
144 Haines Hall, Chicano Studies Research Center

Representatives of diverse sectors of Mexican society fighting against state repression and the US militarization of Mexico will appear to educate students and the public about the their cause.

The Caravan brings together 2 mothers of the 43 disappeared students of Ayotzinapa; a student from the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa, Guerrero; agricultural workers of San Quintín; a representative and relative of a political prisoner from Committee of Victims from Nochixtlán, Oaxaca; a member of the Otomí community from Xochicuautla; and a mother from Return Our Daughters Home of Ciudad Júarez.

Co-sponsors: UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center, the UCLA American Indian Studies Center, and the Latin American Institute

Standing Rock Teach-in, November 15, 2016
3:30 PM – 5:30 PM
Dickson Court North
(between Haines and Dodd)
Join UCLA students, faculty, postdocs, and guests for #NoDAPL Day of Action by leading a teach-in on the Dakota Access Pipeline and resistance/water protection. Members of our UCLA community who have traveled to Standing Rock will share their knowledge and experiences.
Speakers include

  • Angela R. Riley, Professor, UCLA School of Law
  • Jessica Cattelino, Associate Professor, UCLA Department of Anthropology
  • Nick Estes, (Lakota), UNM American Studies ABD student and founder of Red Nation
  • Melanie Yazzie, UC president’s Post-doc UCLA and Assistant Professor of Gender Studies, UCR
  • UCLA students

Food will be served.


10th Annual LA SKINS Fest

November 18, 2016
8 PM
Barnsdall Gallery Art Theater
4800 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Film Screening of FIRE SONG
Directed by Adam Garnet Jones
Running time: 95 min

About the film:
Shane, a gay Anishnabe teenager living in Northern Ontario, struggles to support his family after his sister commits suicide. If he fails, he will be forced to choose between keeping the family home or saving his future.

Co-sponsored by the UCLA American Indian Studies Center


Cherokee Nation History Course at UCLA

Saturday & Sunday, November 19 - 20, 2016
9 AM - 6 PM
Haines Hall A25

FREE for UCLA students, staff, and faculty!

Join Cherokee Nation citizens in the Los Angeles area, students, and others in exploring a complex and fascinating tribal history. This course has been awarded by Harvard's "Honoring Nations" program for tribal initiatives that support the understanding and expansion of tribal sovereignty. Covering legal, governmental, social, and cultural aspects of the history, the Cherokee Nation History Course is a well-rounded view of this story as understood by Cherokees themselves.

Developed by former Principal Chief Chad Smith and expanded and taught by Dr. Julia Coates, an ethnohistorian and anthropologist who is a former member of the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council, the course has received accolades from the more than 10,000 tribal citizens, museum officials, university students and professors, and tribal employees and elected officials who have participated in it. Many Cherokees have described it as "life changing."

This offering is co-sponsored by the Cherokee PINS Project: Education for Sovereignty, a non-profit dedicated to tribal civic education and engagement, the American Indian Studies Center at UCLA, and Tsa-La-Gi LA, the Cherokee Nation's official satellite organization in Los Angeles.


Institute of American Cultures Fall Forum

Thursday, December 1, 2016
4:00 PM
UCLA Faculty Center

In honor of the 2016-2017 IAC Visiting Scholars, Graduate & Predoctoral Fellows, and Research Grant Awardees

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