JULY 2020

American indian Studies Center Monthly Newsletter

Please donate to the American Indian Studies Center

Please consider donating to the UCLA American Indian Studies Center to support students, research, and programming.

Dear AISC Friends and Family,

Without a doubt, the times continue to be challenging. With LA County COVID cases on the rise again, new shutdowns, and UCLA’s injunction to continue remote learning and working at least through January 2021, we all miss each other and worry about the present and future of our collective endeavors. At the same time, we feel hope that there is potential for social change toward greater social justice, both within the university and in society more broadly.

We are cheered by the beautiful work put into fundraising and the generosity of our people in donating to the AISC student support fund. And we feel the greatest respect for the ways in which all have overcome the psychological and physical impacts of the current moment to continue to do good work and, most importantly, to care for each other. Please see below for a sample of this good work!

Until we can be together in person once again, sending love and solidarity from all of us at the AISC.

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.


July 2020 Newsletter



An artist talk with Cahuilla artist, scholar, Gerald Clarke, July 23, 2020 at 3 PM via Zoom

Join the UCLA American Indian Studies Center and the Department of World Arts and Cultures/ Dance for an afternoon talk with Gerald Clarke, a Cahuilla artist, activist, and scholar. Clarke will describe his creative process of integrating the history and culture of the Cahuilla Indians into artistic expression. The Artist Talk will show how Clarke’s sculptures, installations, and conceptual art draw on his cultural knowledge to express ideas such as tribal sovereignty.


The American Indian Studies Center, in partnership with the UCLA Center for Diverse Leadership in Science, was awarded a David and Lucile Packard Foundation grant in the amount of $590,000. The funding will be used to support the efforts of the CDLS to address racism, sexism, and injustices in STEM. Aradhna Tripati, founder of the CDLS, will serve as PI on the grant, and the AISC will administer it. CDLS leadership teams across all work to increase diversity in recruitment efforts, conduct trainings, and facilitate UCLA and off-campus off-campus outreach. They mentor early career fellows, staff, and faculty as well as work on community engagement and research efforts. We are excited to collaborate with CDLS in this important work.


We congratulate Emerita Professor Pam Munro on receiving the 2019–2020 Edward A. Dickson Emeritus Professorship Award, which honors outstanding research, scholarly work, teaching, and service performed by emeriti since retirement. Pam Munro, Distinguished Research Professor of Linguistics, is a specialist in the documentation, analysis, preservation, and revitalization of Indigenous languages of the Americas. During her career, she has worked on almost 40 languages. In the eight and a half years since her retirement in 2011, she has continued to publish, teach, and engage in community service, at a level that would be worthy of most full-time faculty members. She serves as a model for all linguists. Keep your eyes out for the next issue of the American Indian Culture and Research Journal on “Indigeneity, Feminism, Activism.” Guest-edited by Joanne Barker, this special issue includes contributions from Joanne Barker, Jaskiran Dhillon, Annita Hetoevehotohke’e Lucchesi, Melissa K. Nelson, Kai Pyle, and Melanie Yazzie, with poetry by Kecia Cook and Janelle Pewapsconias and fiction by Deborah Miranda.


We would like to recognize Jamie Chan, AISC’s Management Services Officer, for having been accepted as a participant in UCLA’s Professional Development Program for 2020–21! Please join AISC in congratulating her for this wonderful career enhancement opportunity at UCLA! We look forward to hearing about Jamie’s experiences and seeing her grow during her time in the program.


Stephanie Mushrush, LCSW, is a member of the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, and is also Filipina. Stephanie earned a master’s degree in Social Welfare at UCLA in 2013 as an Indian Health Service Health Professions Scholar. She currently works as a psychiatric social worker at the American Indian Counseling Center for the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. Her mental health work takes Native cultures, traditions, and historical and intergenerational trauma into consideration to aid in supporting the healing and resiliency of individuals, families and communities. Stephanie spent the past year working as a mental health therapist for the Washoe Tribal Healing Center in Gardnerville, NV, and says that it was an invaluable experience. She hopes other Native people will seek out similar work, serving their own tribal communities and spending time learning in their homelands. Previously, she worked at Sherman Indian High School as dorm staff and she presently serves as chair of the Many Winters Gathering of Elders, a four-day ceremony where Native elders share teachings with the Southern California/Los Angeles community. She is also a music artist under the name of Salle Free, whose music reflects her resilience through expressing her cultural identity. Regarding her time at UCLA, Stephanie states,

"UCLA was a special time in my life. Although I went to graduate school later than some—it was still a huge, scary life-changing decision—one that continues to bless me today. I hope every BIPoC person out there hears and follows their calling; for some, it's to higher education, for some, it may look a little different, but is equally powerful. Know that it’s never too late, you are not alone, and that you belong. Seek out help and support. Trust— Creator will unfold your path before you."



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.






The next issue of the American Indian Culture and Research Journal on “Rethinking Blackness and Indigeneity in the Light of Settler Colonial Theory” is now available online and in print. Guest-edited by Circe Sturm, this special issue explores the intersections of Blackness and Indigeneity from two primary analytic and theoretical frames, critical race theory and settler colonialism (vol. 43, no. 2).



Allen Press, the online host of the American Indian Culture and Research Journal, is migrating AICRJ to Meridian, a new platform that offers better functionality. Please be patient as we transition over the summer. If you experience access problems, email Pamela Grieman, We’ll update you about all the new bells and whistles when we’re fully up and running on Meridian!


Forthcoming! Special AICRJ Issue on Indigeneity, Feminism, Activism

Keep your eyes out for the next issue of the American Indian Culture and Research Journal on “Indigeneity, Feminism, Activism.” Guest-edited by Joanne Barker, this special issue includes contributions from Joanne Barker, Jaskiran Dhillon, Annita Hetoevehotohke’e Lucchesi, Melissa K. Nelson, Kai Pyle, and Melanie Yazzie, with poetry by Kecia Cook and Janelle Pewapsconias and fiction by Deborah Miranda.

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


The UCLA American Indian Studies Center and American Indian Studies Center Library hosted a successful online event, on Friday May 29, 2020 from 10–11:15 am, with dozens of engaged community members, artists, archivists, university staff and students, and Tongva illustrator, Weshoyot Alvitre. Weshoyot led a thoughtful discussion about her interesting and intentional process as an artist, her enthusiasm for archives, and her fidelity to her subjects. She also spent some time discussing her methods as a meticulous researcher and family genealogist, which is often folded into her work as a Native artist and graphic novelist.

Weshoyot fielded questions about her activist approach to her work and how she incorporates Native historical figures, whom she pointed out are too often ignored. The talk and lively Q&A gave a behind-the-scenes look into one Native artist’s thought process both in representing Native nations in historical context and in sharing self-determined storytelling. Weshoyot also spent time discussing her most recent graphic novel project about the Tongva woman and hero, Toypurina.

AISC LIBRARY COMMUNITY OUTREACH The AISC Librarian, Joy Holland, has been doingcollections service and community outreach to support the advocacy work the Center does for Native and Indigenous communities. Joy has been working on a project at Los Angeles County Museum focused on a collection of photography and materials featuring people and places ranging from Hawaii through the Pacific including Aotearoa, Samoa, Fiji and other Indigenous nations. Joy serves as an advisory research consultant and is chair of a cultural advisory board for the project that is being assembled this month. You can read a bit about thisstunning and fascinating photography collection, in two pieces written by UCLA AIS alumna and LACMA employee, Sedna Villavicencio here and here.

Joy has also been working on an advisory group for the Autry Museum’s Where Repatriation Meets the Protocols Workbook project, which aims to create a resource that incorporates both Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) policies and Protocols for Native American Archival Materials (PNAAM) guidelines.

Finally, she is volunteering for a group that organized a recent listening round table on Native land repatriation. The event focused on California Native land trust initiatives. Valentin Lopez, chair of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band since 2003, and the president of the Amah Mutsun Land Trust, and Native American Advisor to the University of California, Office of the President on issues related to repatriation, led the discussion of engaged tribal members and community advocates. The event was organized by independent advocacy group, Return California.




Congratulations to Rey Soto, American Studies Center Library volunteer, UCLA Native Staff president, and programmer analyst in epidemiology at UCLA, as well as valuable volunteer across many campus units for winning the 2020 Rising Star Award at UCLA, presented by The Administrative Management Group (AMG), in partnership with Campus Human Resources. This award spotlights an individual with high potential to make a positive impact throughout their career, and who has established a leadership role on campus, while pursuing training and development opportunities for career growth. Rey was nominated for this award by the AISC Library for his outstanding service to AISC and the AISC library through his work on several important projects, for his engagement and passion in supporting Native programs, events, and students and staff across campus, and for his impressive and extensive service to the campus generally in many units. Congratulations, Rey! We appreciate you!

Check UCLA AISC Library Facebook page: @aisclibraryucla Twitter: @aisclibrary, Instagram: @aisclibraryucla



Follow the American Indian Studies Center

AIS Connect



twitter-icon - twitter logo png square PNG image with transparent ...

® All Rights Reserved. © UCLA American Indian Studies Center

3220 Campbell Hall, Box 951548, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1548

310.825.7315 | |

UCLA AISC maintains an e-mail list to inform visitors of Center news, special events/offers, publications, and academic information. We do not sell, rent, lend, trade, or lease the e-mail addresses on our lists to any organization. Additionally, our e-mail list subscription service does not divulge the e-mail addresses of the subscribers and cannot be used by anyone unless authorized by UCLA AISC.