Miigwech (thank you) to everyone who has warmly welcomed me to Northwestern. I’m so happy to serve as the inaugural director of Northwestern’s new Center for Native American and Indigenous Research CNAIR). It’s shaping up to be an exciting year.
Some of you may know that the center grew from a seed planted four years ago when campus leadership, responding to indigenous students and community members, convened the Native American Outreach and Inclusion Task Force (NAOITF). The goal was to strengthen Northwestern’s relationships with indigenous communities, focusing on recruitment, academic programs and support services. In 2014, NAOITF published a report that included a recommendation to establish an Indigenous Research Center and hire tenured faculty to help guide it.
Over the next several years a university steering committee led by Professors Loren Ghiglione, Doug Medin, and Kelly Wisecup, laid the groundwork for the center. The committee invited national and local Native community leaders to campus to advise Northwestern about how to reach its goals and helped identify a core group of indigenous scholars who ultimately joined the faculty. It solicited input about the initiative from students, faculty, and staff and generated increased awareness through projects like the One Book One Northwestern reading of Thomas King’s The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America. Momentum for a center was definitely building. In late 2016, under the leadership of Dean Adrian Randolph and Associate Dean Ann Bradlow, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, in which the center will be located, announced that Weinberg had successfully acquired a $1.5 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to make CNAIR a reality!
As we look ahead, Co-director Doug Medin, Program Assistant Jennifer Michals, and I, along with all the scholars associated with the center (we’ll feature them in upcoming stories), are committed to building relationships with Native American and Indigenous communities and conducting meaningful and collaborative research. We also are excited about upcoming events, including Lisa Kahaleole Hall’s talk on the politics of identity on September 28, 2017; Chad Allen’s workshop on academic publishing with a focus on ethnic studies on October 30, 2017; and Indigenous Artists in Collaboration: A Panel Discussion featuring Rosy Simas, Heid Erdrich, Andrea Carlson, and Debra Yepa-Pappan on November 29, 2017.
I look forward to meeting you and hearing your ideas for the center, which we intend will become an international leader in indigenous research.
Baamaapii (until later),
Director, Center for Native American and Indigenous ResearchBack to top