American indian Studies Center Monthly Newsletter

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Dear AISC Friends and Family,

Well, 2021 is off to quite a start! While COVID continues to plague our communities, and our hearts go out to all those who are struggling with the virus or who have lost a loved one, we are hoping that the vaccines will eventually get this thing turned around. And while the political divisions in this country are deeply concerning, there are some things to celebrate with the new presidential administration, including the appointment of UCLA alum Deb Haaland of Laguna Pueblo as Secretary of the Interior! Many congratulations to Deb!

The AISC also has good news. Together with the other ethnic studies centers under the IAC— the Asian American Studies Center, the Bunche Center for African American Studies, and the Chicano Studies Research Center—we received a three-year, $3.65 million-dollar grant from the Mellon Foundation for the project “Archiving the Age of Mass Incarceration.” We are excited to work collaboratively with the other centers, community organizations, and students on this important project, which will create a digital archive of more than a decade of LAPD records, and will also include oral histories and ephemera that capture the lived experience of incarceration for our communities.

We are also very excited about two other grants coming to the Center through Principal Investigator Mishuana Goeman, Special Advisor to the Chancellor on Native American and Indigenous Issues. The prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities is funding the “NativeHub@AISC: Digital Archiving for Tribal Communities” project, which will bring the Center into a consortium of universities that serve as hubs to help tribal communities digitize their cultural resources using the Mukurtu platform. What is unique about Mukurtu is its ability to integrate multiple sets of standards and information systems, allowing tribes to determine who has access to specific materials. The platform thus promotes the exchange of cultural materials and shared stewardship in an ethical, anticolonial, and collaborative framework.

The second project, funded by the UC Multicampus Research Programs and Initiatives, was granted to UCLA’s Carrying Our Ancestors Home, an Indigenous community-based repatriation education project. Called “Centering Tribal Stories of Cultural Preservation in Difficult Times,” this educational project will produce eight to ten modules on topics such as land rematriation, repatriation of ancestors, climate change’s impact on cultural heritage sites, and several others. Each module will consist of videos or podcasts co-created with Indigenous communities, primary and secondary sources, and a classroom activity tying the components together.

Center staff will be busy in the coming months as we work to put all of these research projects in motion! Meanwhile, our exciting programming will continue. Please see below for details.

Chinchokma’ni sabanna/Be well, 

Shannon Speed
Director, UCLA American Indian Studies Center


For up to date information on the COVID-19 outbreak, please access:

UCLA acknowledges the Tongva People

AISC at UCLA acknowledges the Tongva peoples as the traditional land caretakers of Tovaangar (Los Angeles basin, So. Channel Islands) and are grateful to have the opportunity to work for the Taraaxatom (indigenous peoples) in this place. As a land grant institution, we pay our respects to Honuukvetam (Ancestors), 'Ahiihirom (Elders), and 'Eyoohiinkem (our relatives/ relations) past, present and emerging.


February 2021 Newsletter


This February we are highlighting Native Bruin Wendy Red Star from the Apsáalooke (Crow) Nation.

Raised on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation in Montana, Wendy Red Star’s work is informed both by her cultural heritage and her engagement with many forms of creative expression, including photography, sculpture, video, fiber arts, and performance.

An avid researcher of archives and historical narratives, Red Star seeks to incorporate and recast her research, offering new and unexpected perspectives in work that is at once inquisitive, witty and unsettling. Red Star holds a BFA from Montana State University, Bozeman, and an MFA in sculpture from University of California, Los Angeles. She lives and works in Portland, Oregon.

“Within a couple of weeks of starting the Master of Fine Arts program, I knew I was in for a great life adventure. I grew and I was challenged by the experience which set me on my life path as a professional artist. I am grateful to the professors who gave me valuable mentorship and I made deep friendships with peers in my program. I am honored to be a UCLA alumna.”


The UCLA American Indian Studies Center (AISC) was founded in 1969 as a research institute dedicated to addressing American Indian issues and supporting Native communities. The AISC serves as a hub of activities for Indigenous students, staff, faculty, alumni, and community, as well as serving as a bridge between the academy and indigenous peoples locally, nationally, and internationally. We foster innovative academic research by students and faculty, publish leading scholarship in the field of American Indian Studies, and support events and programming focused on Indigenous issues.





I am happy to announce that the American Indian Culture and Research Journal will be publishing issue 44.1 this month. This marks the first new issue during my time as the editor-in-chief. The new issue contains research on post-secondary institutions and their resistance to Indigenization, the appropriation of Native basketry, Native land dispossession under proto-conservation rationales in the early nineteenth century, and an examination of the influence and complexity of Ojibwe lawyer Marie Baldwin in the Society of American Indians in the early twentieth century.


We are excited about two new issues that will cover COVID-19 and Indigenous peoples. A total of nine new research manuscripts and commentaries will be published in two special issues, 44.2 and 44.3, in the next few months. The papers for these issues focus on the impact and responses to COVID-19 on Indigenous peoples in the United States, Canada, and New Zealand.

Finally, the AICRJ is pleased to announce our new editorial board formed in December 2020.

The new editorial board will serve for a term of six years and will provide guidance on special issues of the AICRJ and input for new and emerging research topics.

The new editorial board is comprised of the following members:

  • Robin Delugan (UC Merced) 
  • Inez Hernandez-Avila (UC Davis) 
  • Felicia Hodge (UCLA) 
  • Shari Huhndorf (UC Berkeley) 
  • Andrew Jolivette (UC San Diego)
  • Paul Kroskrity (UCLA) 
  • Beth Middleton (UC Davis) 
  • Angela Riley (UCLA)
  • Cliff Trafzer (UC Riverside) 

We are excited to have this esteemed set of scholars on our editorial board.




American Indian Studies Center Publications

The Center's publications unit operates as a small independent press, one of the few that prizes Native voices in works of creative writing, community handbooks, and academic publications. Our flagship publication is the American Indian Culture and Research Journal (AICRJ), which has been recognized as one of the leading serial publications on Native American life and issues. In addition to publishing works on contemporary and historical American Indian issues, law, and politics, the press publishes books of plays, poetry, and fiction.

American Indian Studies Center Library

What’s New in the Library. The American Indian Studies Center Library has invited back its star intern, Julie Fiveash, Diné, to be student staff in the library this term. Julie is helping create educational tools, perform collection management, conduct reference with patrons, and other tasks. We are delighted to welcome them back! Check out Julie’s latest social media posts on Traditional Knowledge labels in collections on our social media feeds. (TwitterFacebookInstagram). 


Recommended Reading. AISC Library friend and colleague at UCLA, Dr. Ulia Gosart recently contributed a piece to American Libraries, the membership magazine of the American Library Association, entitled “Responsive and Responsible: Libraries Promote Ethical Care of Indigenous Collections.” Ulia interviewed AISC Library about some of its practices and responsibilities, and wrote an important piece to the larger library community about considerations of Native and Indigenous agency in collections across the nation. You can read that great article here.


Drop In Support for Students. This Wednesday, February 10, from 10–11 am, come to the American Indian Studies Center Library’s drop-in support session on Zoom. If you have questions or just want to know what library resources are available during distance learning, drop by! Joy Holland, librarian, and Julie Fiveash, graduate student library staff, will be on hand to help or set up an individual appointment for you. Undergraduate and graduate students welcome! 

Topic: [AISC Library Support] Drop-In American Indian Studies Center Library 

Time: Feb 10, 2021 10:00 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada) 

Join Zoom Meeting ID: 943 1295 9457





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