American indian Studies Center Monthly Newsletter

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Chokma AISC Friends and Family,

September already! I hope this finds you and your families well, and wrapping up a productive and relaxing summer despite the trying times. As summer closes, we are looking forward with much excitement to welcoming our new and returning Indigenous students to UCLA. Though we won’t be meeting in person this quarter, we have lots of events coming up to keep us all connected (see below for details). Hope to see you (virtually) very soon!

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.


August 2020 Newsletter




Join us for an afternoon discussion with two Tongva artists: MERCEDES DORAME is a Tongva artist who uses her cultural history to engage problematics of (in)visibility and ideas of cultural construction. RIVER TIKWI GARZA is also a Los Angeles Tongva artist and a member of the Ti’at Society. Garza’s work draws on traditional Indigenous aesthetics, Southern California Indigenous maritime culture, graffiti, Xicanx culture, and the Los Angeles urban experience.

Register: https://



California Native American Day is celebrated each year on the fourth Friday of September. This state holiday serves not only to recognize tribal people, but also to teach about California tribal cultures, histories and heritage. For the first time, UCLA’s American Indian Studies Center will commemorate California Native American Day by hosting a Zoom poetry event featuring local tribal poets: EMILY CLARKE from the Cahuilla tribe and KELLY CABALLERO and MEGAN DORAME from the Tongva tribe. Each poet will share knowledge of their language, culture and traditional life of contemporary California Native women. They will illuminate issues facing their communities, as well as the perseverance of their cultures.



This September we are highlighting Native Bruin Carlie Domingues from the Chumash tribe.

Carlie Domingues is transitioning from her M.A. scholarship at UCLA to a doctoral scholarship at UC Davis. She is part of the UCLA class of 2020 and earned her Master’s degree in American Indian Studies. At UCLA, she served as the co-president of the American Indian Graduate Student Association and co-founder of the California Indian Graduate Student working group, along with AnMarie Mendoza, a PhD candidate in Urban Planning, and Carolyn Rodriguez, PhD candidate in Education. While at UCLA she focused on Indigenous California epistemology and ecosystems management as a place-based practice. In her research, she interned with Intertribal Agriculture Council, Santa Ynez Chumash Environmental Office, and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to generate Chumash basketry plants and food systems for Santa Ynez Valley Watershed. In her doctoral research at UC Davis, she plans to work with Chumash communities and other Indigenous communities and/or tribes invested in supporting women's health and wellness and food security based on ancestral cultural agriculture and medicinal traditions, such as sustainable edible acorn food production, regeneration of Salmon, Deer, and Elk populations and tending of various other food and medicine plants. Rather than research ecosystems according to colonial science, Domingues seeks knowledge about healthy ecosystems from Indigenous people who often harbor this complex knowledge in their stories or Storywork, a term coined by education scholar Jo-Ann Archibald which validates Indigenous stories as data. Domingues's thesis work looked at biographies of Indigenous California women Delfina Cuero, Mabel McKay, and Dorothy Parker as harboring research methods for Indigenous epistemological generation and how daily embodiment critically informs knowledge production systems, agriculture, and medicine for Indigenous people.

"In my time living and studying in Tovaangnar at UCLA, I experienced the extent to which American infrastructure has destroyed Tongva livelihood. Although I yearned to see Gabrieleno Tongva people thrive and succeed in their culture and their homelands, I bore witness, instead, to American infrastructure built over critical resources, such as riparian ecosystems and former oak woodlands. I am grateful to the Tongva, Tatavium and Ajachamen relatives that I did spend time with to learn about their current experiences and quests for cultural revitalization and revival of healthy waterways in their homelands. I learned that although the violence and destruction has been harmful, current Gabrieleno Tongva continue to envision and work towards a Tovaangnar with healthy people, flowing rivers and clean oceans."




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.






Guest editor Joanne Barker’s special AICRJ issue on “Indigeneity, Feminism, Activism” is now available at This special issue packs a punch with its blend of scholarly inquiry and fierce activism! It includes contributions from 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.



On October 6, 2020, the online American Indian Culture and Research Journal (AICRJ) is migrating to a new online platform called Meridian, hosted by Silverchair. You will still be able to access the journal using the same URL, With this move comes many enhancements, including:

  • Mobile-responsive web design
  • Optional split-screen reading experience
  • Suggested articles based on browser history, saved searches, alerts and notifications

If you are a subscriber, you should have received an email from Publications Assistant Cheyenne Suzukawa ( asking you to send updated IP lists to ensure a smooth transition. She also sent instructions explaining how to reset your passwords.

If you have not received this email, please reach out to Cheyenne at the email address above in case we have an outdated address for you. Continue to email and copy Pamela Grieman at if you experience access problems. Please be patient during the transition—the new bells and whistles will be worth it!


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 AISC librarian is preparing for the fall term and invites incoming and continuing students to email her at expressing interest in two library introduction sessions, which will be held during the first three weeks of the term. She will cover finding digital resources, borrowing books on campus, and using reserve materials, and will offer helpful tips for navigating the term from a distance. Dates TBD based on response and polled dates. The library looks forward to helping you navigate this year! Reach out, email Joy, and listen in!

Students and patrons concerned about Indigenous materials, Indigenous agency, and Indigenous subject matter in archives might be interested in the upcoming Mellon-sponsored conference hosted by the American Philosophical Society. The conference spans five days and will focus on the theme, "Relationships, Reciprocity, and Responsibilities: Indigenous Studies in Archives and Beyond" from September 21–25, 2020. Information about the program can be found here

The AISC librarian has been volunteering and collecting data related to Native land repatriation for the nonprofit organization, Return California. The organization is hosting an upcoming event, the second in a series of “Listening Circle” events this summer, which is open to the public. The series focuses on Native land repatriation. The first event in the series this summer addressed land trust initiatives featuring Valentin Lopez, chair of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band since 2003, and the president of the Amah Mutsun Land Trust.


The next Return California event will focus on traditional ecological knowledge and building Indigenous land trusts for sovereignty and will be hosted by Ali Meders-Knight, Mechoopda Citizen, who was recently featured on North State Public Radio regarding wildfires, Indigenous knowledge and other matters. Click here https:// for more information.


The event will be held via video conference on September 11, 2020. Welcome and sign-in begins at 9:11–9:30 am. Register for the round table by emailing






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