MARCH 2021

American Indian Studies Center Monthly Newsletter

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Dear AISC Friends and Family,

Chokma! We hope you are all safe and well. We were excited to meet the new admits to the AIS MA program and to contemplate a new academic year in which we might all be together again on campus. However, due to the tremendous popularity of our virtual programming, we will likely continue to have many wonderful events online, allowing for greater access and attendance, even after we return to campus. We have several such wonderful events coming up this month, so be sure to see the details below!

Chinchokma’nihookmano anhili,

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.


March 2021 Newsletter


This March we are highlighting Native Bruin Tazbah Rose Chavez, a citizen of the Bishop Paiute Tribe, a UCLA American Indian Studies graduate of 2010..

Tazbah Rose Chavez is a performance poet turned director and television writer. She is currently a co-producer on FX’s new series “Reservation Dogs,” a former story editor on NBCUniversal’s “Rutherford Falls” and was a staff writer for SyFy’s “Resident Alien.” Raised in Payahuunadü, Tazbah is a citizen of the Bishop Paiute Tribe and comes from the Nüümü, Diné and San Carlos Apache people. Tazbah is a director of film and music videos and was recently part of AT&T’s Hello Lab Filmmaker Mentoring Lab in which she wrote and directed the short film “Your Name Isn’t English,” executive produced by Taika Waititi and currently streaming on DirectTV. Tazbah has written ads for Nike N7, and directed health and cultural preservation campaigns for tribes throughout California. She holds a degree in American Indian Studies from UCLA, is a former intern of Sundance Institute’s Native and Indigenous Program, and serves as the co-chair of the Native American and Indigenous Writer’s Committee at the Writer’s Guild of America.

“From the moment the elevator doors opened from the parking garage I knew UCLA was the school for me, and long after graduating I still return a few quarters of the year to take UCLA extension classes. There is no question that UCLA changed my life and continues to be the reason I’m where I’m at in my career today. Academically, UCLA absolutely shaped my work ethic and discipline to get things done. Many of my professors remain intellectual heroes to me, and my fellow students continue to be lifelong friends and community members.“


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.

Zoom Events



Join UCLA’s American Indian Studies Center for an afternoon talk focusing on the importance of teaching children about American Indians through appropriate children’s literature and animated programs. Dr. Debbie Reese (Nambé Pueblo), a critic, scholar and founder of the blog “American Indians in Children’s Literature,” and Princess Daazhraii Johnson (Neets'aii Gwich’in), a producer of PBS’ “Molly of Denali,” will lead the talk, and UCLA graduate student Clementine Bordeaux (Sicangu Lakota Oyate) will moderate. Event is co-sponsored by the Tataviam Band of Mission Indians



Join UCLA’s American Indian Studies Center for an afternoon Zoom discussion about the removal of Native American mascots and the continuing fight for Native American rights. Amanda Blackhorse (Navajo) and Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee) will discuss their ongoing advocacy to remove stereotypical mascots in sports teams, schools and monuments. The talk will be moderated by UCLA American Indian Studies Center Director Shannon Speed (Chickasaw Nation).





Editor-in-Chief Randall Akee is seeking scholars to guest-edit special issues of the American Indian Culture and Research Journal on topics such as Indigenous sustainability, bioethics, sacrifice zones, economics, missing and murdered indigenous women, land reclamation, and women leaders, to name a few areas of interest. Or propose a special issue by emailing If approved, we’ll send a detailed list of guidelines for guest editors.





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. Due to UCLA's closure during the pandemic, book sales have been suspended. You can purchase books from Small Press Distribution,


American Indian Studies Center Library

In the fall term, Julie Fiveash, Diné Masters in Library and Information Sciences graduate student intern in the AISC Library, helped craft a social media campaign focused on Native library matters with AISC librarian Joy Holland. They want to help draw attention to matters of Native sovereignty and privacy in collections and focus specifically on subjects that are not well known or well understood by library patrons, university colleagues, and other non Native allies. These subjects, which differ quite a bit from typical academic librarianship standards, include data sovereignty (having control over data collected and shared about tribes and Indigenous people), traditional knowledge (TK) labels (culturally provided information about collections), and spotlights on tribal libraries and Native library organizations. Julie created eye-catching graphics and well-sourced text. Julie talked about the status of the campaign and future subjects this term and next:


We’re immensely excited about the response we’ve received about our social media infographic posts. What started as a simple way to highlight topics within Indigenous Library and Information Studies has become a teaching tool on Indigenous issues as a whole. We’re hoping to continue the posts to educate not only UCLA students and patrons but colleagues and educators to the particulars of Indigenous collections. Future posts will focus on Indigenous privacy, sovereignty, and protocols in regard to Indigenous collections. 

Check out the campaign on our social media sites here: Twitter, @aisclibrary; Facebook, @aisclibraryuclaInstagram @aisclibraryucla


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