Council statements

On occasion, the Council of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association responds to requests from our members to raise awareness of issues that particularly concern the membership of the association. NAISA Council advocacy most often takes the form of official statements, which we post on our website, to the membership, and through social media. Other forms of advocacy include letters to leadership, such as letters to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, ambassadors, or other such individuals and organizations. 

Current NAISA members who would like to request a statement or other form of advocacy from NAISA Council should send an email to including the description of the issue; links with more information; a description of how NAISA members are addressing the issue; type of documents requested, i.e. statement or letters and a draft statement or letters, as needed; in the case of letters, specific names and email addresses of recipients; and a timeline for response.

NAISA Council carefully considers member requests for statements. While Council advocates for many issues, it is not possible or appropriate for Council to address every issue affecting Indigenous Peoples. Council thus encourages NAISA members to rely on additional means of spreading awareness of critical issues, including the NAISA Facebook page and collective organizing with other association members.

Letter in Support of Maori Colleagues at the University of Waikato

NAISA Statement of Solidarity with Mapuche People

NAISA Statement in Support of Protesters Seeking Justice in the Murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd

NAISA Statement in Support of Indigenous Children, Adults and Families on the Guatemala/Mexico/United States Borders

NAISA Statement in Support of Mauna Kea Kia’i

NAISA Council and 2019 Local Host Committee Statement on Terrorism

Statement of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en First Nation

NAISA Council Statement on “Zero Tolerance” and Family Separation in the United States

NAISA Council statement supporting Victoria Tauli-Corpuz and Indigenous Peoples of the Philippines

NAISA Council Statement on the Stanley/Cormier Verdicts

NAISA Council Statement to Wells Fargo

NAISA Council Statement on Dakota Access Pipeline

NAISA Council Statement on Indigenous Identity Fraud

NAISA Council Declaration of Support for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions

Letter in Support of Maori Colleagues at the University of Waikato

September 23, 2020

To: University Council and the Chancellor at the University of Waikato, Minister of Education Honorable Chris Hipkins, Associate Minister of Education for Maori Education Honorable Kelvin Davis, Associate Minister of Education and Minister for Ethnic Communities Honorable Jenny Salesa, Associate Minister of Education and Minister for Children Honorable Tracey Martin

From: The Council of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA Council)

September 23, 2020

Dear University Council and Chancellor Satyananad:

Sgeno – greetings of health and well-being. We are writing to express concern and consternation regarding the treatment by the University of Waikato of highly recognized and influential Maori scholars on your faculty. It has come to our attention that organizational changes resulting in the non-renewal of contracts of these scholars contradict the principles and rights outlined in the Treaty of Waitangi and New Zealand human rights laws, in addition to other laws and policies preventing discrimination against specific social groups. We also note that, while there may be institutional changes in the works due to budgetary cuts, these non-renewals also represent a statement of the university’s priorities. We wish to express our dismay that the University of Waikato would make such short-sighted decisions, which inevitably reproduce structures of white supremacy and settler power in your institution.

The Native American and Indigenous Studies Association is a member-driven organization that represents thousands of scholars, students, staff, and Indigenous community activists whose research is grounded in Indigenous rights, histories, and philosophies. Since its inception in 2009, NAISA has hosted an annual conference, in which our members share key ideas and research findings. Our members are actively engaged in local, national, and global policy work and agenda setting with regard to Indigenous rights. Our annual conference serves as a venue through which our members learn, network, and collaborate toward the kind of structural changes required to achieve justice, equity, and fairness toward the flourishing of some of the world’s most marginalized peoples.

For many years, the scholarship and leadership of our Maori members has shaped NAISA leadership as well as the research practice of NAISA members in terms of values, practices, and ways of thinking. In particular, Professors Linda Smith, Brendan Hokowhitu, Alice Te Punga Somerville, and Leonie Pihama are long-time NAISA members whose scholarship and leadership have been influential to the association and its network of members. Indeed, through the efforts of these leaders among many others the 2019 NAISA conference at the University of Waikato proved to be one of the most successful and meaningful events in the history of our association. Our colleagues in the Faculty of Maori and Indigenous Studies and across the university worked diligently to host NAISA 2019. We were honored to be invited into the University of Waikato during that time to host the kinds of conversations that are critical to the field of Indigenous Studies and the work of our membership.

We cannot help but be disappointed in and alarmed by recent decisions by the University of Waikato administration that relate to recognizable patterns of structural and systemic racism against our Maori colleagues, staff members, and students. We find it to be our professional responsibility to support our colleagues as they raise awareness of these patterns and work to support the rights of Maori peoples, including rights to education, fair employment, and just representation in decision-making that affects Maori communities. We furthermore demand that the University of Waikato processes of investigation and restitution of systemic and structural racism against Maori employees, students, staff, and allies include the meaningful participation of Maori representatives who can rightly interpret the Treaty of Waitangi for the benefit of Maori present and future generations. We also demand that processes of investigation and restitution include the meaningful representation of professionals who can justly interpret how allegations relate to the human rights of the aggrieved parties and affected communities. As experts in Indigenous Studies, NAISA members are keenly aware of how public institutions and national governments–including universities like the University of Waikato–systematically and covertly disempower and marginalize Indigenous intellectuals under the cover of organizational management and reorganization. We thus challenge the University of Waikato’s defense of divisionalization as a moral ground from which to dismiss or otherwise induce the resignation of Maori colleagues and allies who stand up for human rights, racial justice, and equity in academia. We encourage the University of Waikato administration to take active steps to overcome the colonial logic that warrants invisibilizing, surveilling, silencing, and eliminating Indigenous intellectuals, knowledge and peoples.

We trust that you will consider our concerns with the seriousness that they merit.

Dr. Susan Hill, President

On behalf of NAISA Council

NAISA Statement of Solidarity with Mapuche People

June 22, 2020

The Council of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) expresses its strong solidarity and support for the Mapuche People, who have been exposed to an escalation of state violence in Chile or better said, in Wallmapu, the Mapuche territory. These events form part of the spread of systemic racism and reprehensible violence that affects many communities and peoples in the middle of the current global crisis. Therefore:

  1. We urgently ask the international community for its attention on the critical situation of nine Mapuche political prisoners who have been on a liquid hunger strike since May 4 in detention centers in the cities of Angol and Temuco in southern Chile, including Machi Celestino Cordova, a traditional healer who is confronting his third hunger strike and is in a critical condition. They are on a hunger strike as a way to denounce the continual police violence against their communities, which are standing up for land recovery and territorial autonomy. They also have taken this drastic action in protest of their confinement in an unsafe and unhealthy Chilean carceral environment, where exposure to COVID-19 is a critical issue. Therefore, they demand to have the option to serve their respective “sentences” or “preventive imprisonment” in their own Mapuche communities or territories. We would like to highlight that there are about 30 Mapuche political prisoners in present-day Chile, and most of them are leaders involved in the struggle for land recovery and political autonomy. We urge the Chilean government and other institutions to comply with what has been established by the ILO’s 169 Convention, the UN Mandela Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners  and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to guarantee the physical and spiritual integrity of the Mapuche political prisoners currently on hunger strike, and freedom to all Mapuche political prisoners in Chile.
  2. We join indigenous and human rights organizations in denouncing the recent assassination of Mapuche leader Alejandro Alberto Treuquil Treuquil, who, in confusing circumstances was ambushed and shot to death on June 4 near to the town of Collipulli in southern Chile.  Moreover, three young members of his community were injured in this criminal event. Alejandro Alberto Treuquil, who left behind a family with four children, was the spokesman (Werken) of his own community and a leading voice in a collective struggle for land recovery. According to community members, they have been subjected to constant state police surveillance and harassment since May 13. We demand that his assassination is fully investigated and we urge the Human Rights Institute of Chile, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to play an active role in ensuring that those who are responsible for Alejandro Alberto Treuquil’s murder are found and brought to justice.
  3. We express our solidarity with the Mapuche women from rural areas of the Cautin Province who, in recent months, have experienced police brutality for selling their natural products on the streets of the city of Temuco, in southern Chile. As has been highlighted by the research collective Comunidad de Historia Mapuche, these women embody an “ancestral labor” a heritage that makes available home-grown vegetables and fruits with “the label and identity of each territory,” representing a “long Mapuche tradition” of trade and exchange (Trafkintu). We condemn all the inhumane acts of state police violence that have been perpetrated against Mapuche women in the streets of Temuco. Chilean authorities must respect the rights of native women to practice their own traditions and be in compliance with the rights of Indigenous women as stated in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  4. During the last decades, over one hundred Mapuche leaders have been imprisoned in Chile using “counter-terrorism” legislation aimed at curbing Mapuche protests against extractivism and land dispossession. The Inter-American Court in 2014 condemned the Chilean State due to irregularities in the use of “anti-terrorist law” against indigenous leaders. Uncountable human rights abuses in the Mapuche territory have continued including violent raids with elders and children severely injured as well as youth killed by militarized police. All the above events and the persistent repression have profoundly impacted all dimensions of the life of Wallmapu, from the individual to the collective: individual, family, intergenerational and historical trauma is reexperienced by the constant threat to the Mapuche existence. Furthermore, there is continued impunity for crimes committed against the Mapuche People.

The Council of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association expresses its outrage regarding all the aforementioned acts of inhumanity, police brutality and repression against the Mapuche People and we unanimously condemn the unethical manipulation of the current COVID-19 crisis as a cover-up for these actions.

We urge the Human Rights Institute of Chile, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to immediately take the necessary steps to stop this spiral of state violence to which Mapuche women, Mapuche political prisoners, communities and activists are subject in today’s Chile.

In these times of systemic racism and the continuity of land dispossession, structural inequality and injustice in Turtle Island and Abiayala—or what is currently called the Americas, the Council of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association urgently calls for dismantling all forms of patriarchal, racist and colonial violence that are violating the most basic indigenous rights, and life itself, in Mapuche lands.

NAISA Council


El Consejo de la Asociación de Estudios Nativo Americanos e Indígenas (NAISA, por sus siglas en inglés) expresa su irrestricta solidaridad y apoyo hacia el Pueblo Mapuche, el cual ha estado expuesto a un escalamiento de violencia estatal en Chile. Estos hechos forman parte de la ola de racismo sistémico y violencia represiva que afecta a muchas comunidades y pueblos en medio de la actual crisis global. Por lo mismo,

  1. Urgentemente pedimos la atención de la comunidad internacional a la situación de los nueve presos políticos Mapuche que han estado en una huelga de hambre desde el 4 de mayo en las cárceles en las ciudades de Angol y Temuco en el sur de Chile entre ellos el Machi Celestino Córdova, autoridad de salud tradicional mapuche, quien confronta su tercera huelga de hambre y se encuentra en un estado de critico de salud. Ellos se hallan en una huelga de hambre como una manera de denunciar la continuidad de la violencia estatal policial contra sus comunidades, las cuales se han levantado por la recuperación de sus tierras y la autonomía territorial. Más aun, ellos debieron tomar esta drástica acción en protesta por sus confinamientos en inseguros y malsanos recintos carcelarios chilenos, en los cuales la exposición al COVID-9 es una aguda problemática. Por lo mismo, ellos exigen tener la opción de cumplir sus respectivas “sentencias” o dictámenes de “prisión preventiva” en sus propias comunidades o territorios. Deseamos subrayar el hecho de que hoy hay alrededor de treinta presos políticos Mapuche en lo que hoy se denomina Chile, y gran parte de ellos son líderes involucrados en la lucha por la recuperación territorial y autonomía política. Interpelamos al gobierno chileno y restantes instituciones a cumplir con lo establecido por la Convención 169 de la OIT, las Normas Mandela de Naciones Unidas para el Tratamiento de Prisioneros y la Declaración de los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas de las Naciones Unidas, para garantizar la integridad física y espiritual de los presos políticos mapuche en huelga de hambre y libertad para todos los presos políticos Mapuche en cárceles chilenas.
  2. Nos unimos a las organizaciones de derechos humanos y derechos indígenas para denunciar el reciente asesinato del líder Mapuche Alejandro Alberto Treuquil Treuquil, quien, en confusas circunstancias, fue emboscado y baleado a muerte el pasado 4 junio en las cercanías de Collipulli en el sur de Chile.  Además tres jóvenes miembros de su comunidad fueron heridos en este hecho criminal. Alejandro Alberto Treuquil, deja una familia de cuatro niños, era el vocero (Werken) de su comunidad y un líder en la lucha colectiva por la recuperación del territorio. De acuerdo a miembros de su comunidad, ellxs estaban sujetxs a un constante hostigamiento y vigilancia policial desde el 13 de mayo. Exigimos que su asesinato sea investigado a cabalidad, y hacemos un llamado urgente al Instituto de Derechos Humanos de Chile, al Relator Especial de las Naciones Unidas sobre los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas, a la  Comisión y Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos a jugar un rol activo en asegurar que aquellos que resulten responsables del asesinato de Alejandro Alberto Treuquil sean encontrados y sometidos a la justicia.
  3. Asimismo, expresamos nuestra solidaridad con las mujeres Mapuche provenientes de zonas rurales de la provincia de Cautín, quienes, en los meses recientes, han experimentado brutalidad policial por comerciar sus productos naturales en las calles de la ciudad de Temuco, en el sur de Chile. Tal como ha sido subrayado por el colectivo de investigación “Comunidad de Historia Mapuche”, estas mujeres encarnan una “labor ancestral” que pone a disposición frutas y verduras localmente producidas con “el sello e identidad de cada territorio,” representando una “larga tradición Mapuche” de comercio e intercambio (Trafkintun). Condenamos todos los inhumanos actos de violencia estatal y policial que ya por largo tiempo han sido perpetrados contra Mujeres mapuche en las calles de Temuco. Las autoridades chilenas deben respetar los derechos de las mujeres indígenas a practicar sus propias tradiciones y actuar en cumplimiento a sus derechos tal como se establecen en la Declaración de los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas.
  1. Durante las últimas décadas, más de cien líderes Mapuche han sido encarcelados en Chile a causa de la aplicación de la legislación “antiterrorista” destinada a frenar las protestas Mapuche contra el extractivismo y el despojo territorial. La Corte Interamericana condenó en el año 2014 al Estado chileno debido a las irregularidades en el uso de la “ley antiterrorista” contra líderes indígenas. Pese a ello, innumerables abusos contra los derechos humanos en el territorio Mapuche han continuado, incluyendo violentos allanamientos con resultado de ancianos y niños severamente heridos, así como jóvenes asesinados por la policía militarizada. Todos los eventos anteriores y la persistente represión han impactado profundamente todas las dimensiones de la vida del Wallmapu, desde lo individual a lo colectivo: trauma individual, familiar, intergeneracional e histórico se vive por la amenaza constante a la existencia mapuche y, además, por la continua impunidad de los crímenes cometidos en contra del Pueblo Mapuche.

El Consejo de la Asociación de Estudios Nativo Americanos e Indígenas expresa su indignación ante todos los actos arriba mencionados de inhumanidad, brutalidad policial y represión contra el Pueblo Mapuche; y, unánimemente, condenamos la manipulación inmoral de la actual crisis del COVID-19 como modo de encubrimiento de estas acciones.

Urgimos al Instituto de Derechos Humanos de Chile, al Relator Especial de las Naciones Unidas sobre los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas, a la Comisión y a la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos a tomar los pasos necesarios para detener esta espiral de violencia estatal a la cual mujeres Mapuche, presos políticos y luchadores Mapuche se hallan expuestxs en el Chile actual.

En estos tiempos de racismo sistémico y  continuidad de la desigualdad estructural, el despojo territorial y la injusticia en Isla Tortuga y Abiyala—o lo que actualmente se denomina las Américas—, el Consejo de la Asociación de Estudios Nativo Americanos e Indígenas urgentemente hace un llamado a desmantelar todas las formas de violencia colonial, racista y patriarcal que violan los más básicos derechos indígenas, y la vida misma, en tierras Mapuche.  

Consejo de NAISA

NAISA Statement in Support of Protesters Seeking Justice in the Murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd

May 31, 2020

The Council of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) condemns the murders of African Americans Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd, which are part of a long pattern of reprehensible violence. We stand in solidarity with the African American, Afro Indigenous, and Black Native communities and with protesters of all races who express their righteous anger and demand of justice across the United States. We are outraged at the unconscionable violation of human rights that these murders constitute, and the blatant show of open white supremacy that they reflect. As Indigenous scholars who study social dynamics, we acknowledge that the civil unrest that has followed the murders is a result not only of outrage generated by the authorities’ blatant flaunting of legality and justice processes following the crimes, but also simmering rage over the ongoing structural inequality, injustice, and racism in the country currently called the United States.

Indigenous Peoples know this story. We have lived it. We have survived genocidal violence and, alongside our African American relatives, continue to experience the violent and structural oppression at the hands of a settler capitalist state founded on twin pillars of Native dispossession and Black enslavement. Our communities have been hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, which also laid bare blatant and endemic inequalities of all kinds imposed on our peoples.

With the rest of the country, we watch as police repression escalates and the country slides alarmingly toward an openly authoritarian state. We call for an immediate end to violent repression and authoritarian tactics. We call for the voices of Black, Indigenous, and other people of color and the poor to be heard, and meaningful dialogue established. We ask our elders to pray for courageous leadership to guide us toward a future free of racism, capitalist exploitation and structural oppression.

As leaders of a professional association of Indigenous Peoples and their allies, we express our love and kinship with all oppressed people in what is currently called the United States, and we call for immediate systemic change with unity, justice and dignity.

Council of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association

El Consejo de la Asociación de Estudios Nativo Americanos e Indígenas (NAISA, por sus siglas en inglés) condena los asesinatos de lxs Afro-Americanxs Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery y George Floyd, los cuales son parte de un prolongado patrón de reprensible violencia. Estamos de pie y en solidaridad con la comunidad Afro-Americana, los pueblos Afro-Indigenas y Negros Nativos, y con lxs manifestantes de todas las razas que han expresado su justa rabia y demandan justicia a lo largo de los Estados Unidos. Nos sentimos indignados ante la violación extrema de los derechos humanos que estos asesinatos constituyen y ante el show evidente de abierta supremacía blanca que estos reflejan. Como académicxs Indígenas que estudiamos dinámicas sociales, reconocemos que la agitación popular que ha seguido a los asesinatos es resultado no solamente de la indignación generada por el evidente alarde de legalidad y procesos de justicia que han hecho las autoridades tras estos crímenes, sino que también desatando rabia ante la desigualdad estructural, la injusticia y el racismo existentes en el país actualmente denominado Estados Unidos.

Los Pueblos Indígenas saben de esta historia. La hemos vivido. Hemos sobrevivido a la violencia genocida y, al igual que nuestros pares Afro-Americanxs, continuamos experimentando la opresión violenta y estructural a manos del estado capitalista colonizador erigido sobre los pilares gemelos del despojo Indígena y la esclavitud negra. Nuestras comunidades han sido las más duramente golpeadas por la pandemia del coronavirus, lo cual también pone al desnudo las obvias y endémicas desigualdades de todo tipo impuestas a nuestros pueblos.

Con el resto del país, observamos como la represión policial escala y Estados Unidos se desplaza de un modo alarmante hacia un estado abiertamente autoritario. Hacemos un llamado a poner fin de inmediato a la represión violenta y las tácticas autoritarias. Hacemos este llamado para que las voces del pueblo negro, de los pueblos indígenas y las comunidades de color y de los pobres sean escuchadas y se establezca un diálogo significativo. Pedimos a nuestrxs personas mayores ofrecer sus palabras de bien para que un valiente liderazgo nos guíe hacia un futuro libre de racismo, explotación capitalista y opresión estructural.

Como líderes de una asociacion profesional ligada a los Pueblos Indígenas y a sus aliadxs, expresamos nuestro amor y hermandad con toda la gente oprimida en lo que actualmente se denomina Estados Unidos; y hacemos un llamado por un cambio sistémico inmediato, con unidad, justicia y dignidad.

Consejo de NAISA

NAISA Statement in Support of Indigenous Children, Adults and Families on the Guatemala/Mexico/United States Borders

August 5, 2019

The Council of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) expresses its deep concern regarding the situation of Indigenous children, adults and families seeking asylum and refuge outside Mexico and Central America. As is already internationally known, they have been subject to violent and inhumane maltreatment on Guatemala-Mexico and Mexico-United States borders. In this regard, we echo what was recently denounced by Maya scholars in their “Open Letter” (May 31, 2019) to the governments of the United States, Mexico, and Guatemala. As stated in their letter, “Since December 2018, five Maya children have died under the custody of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security at the U.S.-Mexico border, and one under the custody of the Mexican immigration officials in Mexico City.” This situation calls for an immediate action of reparation by the states involved in these unfortunate events as well as an effective investigation of these and other abuses, especially by international human rights organizations.

In compliance with our mission as a scholarly organization dedicated to Indigenous knowledge and ethics, the Council condemns the exercise of state violence against Indigenous children, adults and families who already suffer from social, economic, cultural and racial inequality in their countries of origin. We urge governmental and non-governmental agencies from the region and the larger international community to guarantee the fundamental human and civil rights of Indigenous children, adults and families; to prohibit the racial profiling, incarceration, and criminalization of asylum seekers; to facilitate humanitarian emergency medical aid in the case of asylum seekers who have endured bodily and psychological traumas during this process; to immediately stop the practice of fostering or “adopting out” detained children by U.S. families; to halt the dismemberment of Indigenous families; to facilitate the reunification of children with their parents or caretakers; to ensure that Indigenous asylum seekers are provided with the human and technological means for interpretation in Indigenous languages in immigrant detention centers and courts, as demanded by Article 13.1 of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; to ensure that Indigenous asylum seekers are granted their right of due process;  and, above all, to respect and protect their linguistic, cultural, physical and spiritual integrity in compliance with Indigenous Rights and universal humanitarian principles.

Furthermore, we remind the United States, Mexican and Guatemalan authorities that their nation-state “borders” have been set on native or tribal lands. For that reason, they should stop the militarization of these territories as well as any form of intrusion that undermines the principle of self-determination and disturbs the collective life of the Indigenous Peoples on their lands. Finally, it must be highlighted that the countries involved in the ongoing deployment of border violence are either signatories or supporters of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007), the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1979), the U.N. Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees (1967), and the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). Therefore, we urge them to act accordingly.

As an academic organization that brings together an important community of Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars from the aforementioned regions, we express our firm support to our members who are enduring the suffering of their Peoples. We invite all of our members and other scholarly societies to demand that state authorities and agents cease inflicting ill treatment against Indigenous children, adults and families and that they remain nationally and internationally accountable for their actions on the borders of the United States, Mexico and Guatemala.


Council of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA)

Declaración en apoyo a niñas y niños, personas adultas y familias en las fronteras de Guatemala-México y México-Estados Unidos

5 agosto 2019

El Consejo de la Asociación de Estudios Nativo Americanos e Indígenas (NAISA, por sus siglas en inglés) expresa su profunda preocupación con respecto a la situación de niñas y niños, personas adultas y familias en busca de asilo y refugio fuera de México y Centroamérica. Como ya es sabido internacionalmente, dichas personas han sido sometidas a maltrato inhumano y violento tanto en las fronteras de México-Guatemala como Estados Unidos-México. En este sentido, nos hacemos eco de lo que recientemente fuera denunciado por académicas y académicos Mayas en su “Carta Abierta” (31 de mayo de 2019), dirigida a los gobiernos de Estados Unidos, México y Guatemala. Como se afirma en dicha carta, “Desde diciembre de 2018, cinco niños Mayas han fallecido bajo la custodia del Department of Homeland Security de los EE.UU. en la frontera EE.UU.-México, y un niño bajo la custodia de funcionarios de inmigración del Estado mexicano en Ciudad de México.” Esta situación demanda una inmediata acción de reparación de parte de los estados involucrados en estos desafortunados eventos así como una efectiva investigación de estos y otros abusos, especialmente por parte de organizaciones internacionales de derechos humanos.

En cumplimiento de nuestra misión como una organización académica dedicada al campo de la ética y el conocimiento indígena, el Consejo de NAISA condena el ejercicio de violencia estatal contra niñas y niños, personas adultas y familias indígenas, las cuales ya sufren la desigualdad racial, cultural, económica y social en sus países de origen. Instamos a las entidades estatales y no estatales de la región y de la comunidad internacional a garantizar los derechos humanos y civiles fundamentales de las niñas y los niños, las personas adultas y familias indígenas; a prohibir la discriminación basada en perfil racial así como el encarcelamiento y la criminalización de quienes buscan asilo; a facilitar asistencia médica de emergencia humanitaria en el caso de las personas en busca de asilo que han sobrellevado traumas físicos y psicológicos durante este proceso; a inmediatamente detener la práctica de promover o llevar a cabo la “adopción” de niñas o niños detenidos por parte de familias estadounidenses; a poner un alto al desmembramiento de las familias indígenas; a facilitar la reunificación de niñas y niños con sus padres o seres queridos; a asegurar que las personas indígenas en busca de asilo sean asistidos con los medios humanos y tecnológicos para la interpretación en lenguas indígenas en los centros de detención de inmigrantes o en las cortes, como lo exige el Artículo 13.1 de la Declaración de los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas de la ONU; a asegurar que las personas indígenas en busca de asilo puedan ejercer su derecho a un debido proceso; y, sobre todo, a respetar y proteger su integridad espiritual, física, cultural y lingüística en cumplimiento de los Derechos Indígenas y los principios humanitarios universales.

Más aún, les recordamos a las autoridades de Estados Unidos, México y Guatemala que sus “fronteras” de estados—naciones han sido establecidas en tierras indígenas.  En razón de ello, deben poner un alto a la militarización de estos territorios así como también a cualquier forma de intromisión que mine el principio de auto-determinación y perturbe la vida colectiva de los Pueblos Indígenas en sus tierras. Finalmente, debe ser subrayado el hecho que los países involucrados en el actual despliegue de violencia fronteriza son firmantes o han apoyado la Declaración de los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas (2007), la Convención de los Derechos del Niño (1989), la Convención sobre la Eliminación de Todas las Formas de Discriminación contra la Mujer (1979), el Protocolo sobre el Estatuto de los Refugiados (1967) y la Declaración Universal de los Derechos Humanos (1948) de las Naciones Unidas. Por lo tanto, les instamos a actuar en consecuencia.

Como una organización académica que agrupa a una importante comunidad de investigadores e investigadoras indígenas y no-indígenas de las regiones arriba mencionadas, expresamos nuestro firme apoyo a los afiliados y las afiliadas de NAISA que están sobrellevando el sufrimiento de sus Pueblos. Invitamos a toda nuestra membresía y a otras asociaciones académicas a exigir que las autoridades y los agentes estatales cesen de infligir vejamen a niños y niñas, personas adultas y familias indígenas; y que deben, nacional e internacionalmente, hacerse responsables de sus acciones en las fronteras de los Estados Unidos, México y Guatemala.


Consejo de la Asociación de Estudios Nativo Americanos e Indígenas (NAISA)

NAISA Statement in Support of Mauna Kea Kiaʻi

July 26, 2019

The Council of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) supports the Kiaʻi/Defenders of Mauna Kea in their historic and ongoing opposition to the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on Mauna Kea, also known as Mauna a Wākea, in Hawaiʻi. The NAISA membership consists of scholars and leaders from around the world who are dedicated to the production and advancement of Indigenous epistemologies, practices, and knowledge developed through ethical and community-based research.

Mauna Kea, a spiritual and ecological center for the Kānaka Maoli, is proposed as the site for the construction of the TMT due to its height and the potential views it would provide for astronomers. The TMT project is sponsored by the University of Hawaiʻi, as well as the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Caltech, the University of California, the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, the Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences and Canada, and the states of China, India and Canada. Defenders of Mauna Kea have objected to the construction of the TMT since it was first proposed, citing harmful effects to the ecology and desecration of the sacred Mauna a Wakea that figures as a central kupuna (ancestor) in Kanaka Maoli genealogies. While some have tried to present this conflict as a conflict between science and culture, we note that, at the time of this writing, more than 800 astronomers from around the world have signed an open letter objecting to the methods by which the TMT process has gone forward, and demanding an end to the arrest of Kiaʻi protectors. Science is a human pursuit, and must not be used to legitimize poor citizenship in humanity.

The NAISA Council stands with the defenders of Mauna Kea against the desecration of the mountain and violence against Kānaka Maoli. The State of Hawaiʻi is violating its own principles “to protect all rights, customarily and traditionally exercised for subsistence, cultural and religious purposes…of Native Hawaiians” as stated in its constitution.

As an organization dedicated to Indigenousnowledge and ethics, the Council objects to the violence and disavowal of Kanaka Maoliepistemologies, practices, and relationships with Mauna Kea that undergird support for the TMT project. The Council further objects to the criminalization of peaceful protesters, who have been arrested and removed from the mountain since construction was allowed to go forward by the State of Hawai’i beginning on July 17.

The NAISA Council urges its membership to take individual actions to learn more about the proposed TMT and participate in solidarity actions:

To donate to direct action organizing on Mauna Kea:

To donate to the bail fund for those arrested on Mauna Kea:

10 Questions about Mauna Kea whose answers might surprise you:

On social media, follow the official accounts of the Puʻuhonua o Puʻu Huluhulu (sanctuary and base camp of the protectors on Mauna Kea):

NAISA Council and 2019 Local Host Committee Statement on Terrorism

March 15, 2019

Ka tangi a Aotearoa ki ngā mahi mōrikarika a te hunga whakaweti.  Ka tūwhitia e mātau ngā mahi whakaweti ake, ake. (Aotearoa mourns the heinous crime of terrorism.  We condemn acts of terrorism and always will).

NAISA and the 2019 NAISA Local Host Committee write this message in solidarity with the Muslim community in Aotearoa/New Zealand and elsewhere following the violent and hateful killing of innocent Muslim worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, yesterday. We offer our prayers and condolences for our Muslim brothers and sisters particularly in the Aotearoa/New Zealand community who have a right to peace and freedom from hatred. Our NAISA community and Indigenous communities more broadly will be deeply saddened and angered by yesterday’s terrorism. Consequently, NAISA and the 2019 Local Host Committee at this time want to clarify our stance against hate speech, against religious intolerance, and against white supremacy in all its forms including the micro-aggressions people of colour face everyday. We wish Aotearoa strength for the healing that must follow.

Statement of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA)

in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en First Nation

February 22, 2019

NAISA stands in solidarity with the WET’SUWET’EN First Nation as they bravely defend their peoples and territories in British Columbia, Canada, from pipeline development. These protectors have been caring for the lands and waters for countless generations, and their resistance against violent and illegal incursions into their territory by the RCMP and Coastal GasLink is a continuation of that legacy. The long-term struggle of the Wet´suwet´en is a legitimate, legally sanctioned struggle for rights, autonomy and sovereignty on their unceded territories. We send strength and appreciation to the folks of the Unist´ot´en Healing Centre, Gidumt’en checkpoint and the Wet’suwet’en nation.

‘Anuc niwh’it’ën (Wet’suwet’en law) and feast governance systems remain intact and continue to be utilized by the Wet’suwet’en in governing themselves. The Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs are title holders, and maintain the authority and jurisdiction to make decisions on unceded lands. The 22,000 square km of Wet’suwet’en Territory is divided into 5 clans and 13 house groups. Each clan within the Wet’suwet’en Nation has full jurisdiction under their law to control access to their respective territories. The Unist’ot’en (Dark House) is occupying and using their traditional territory as they have for centuries. They have never ceded sovereign title and rights to their land, waters, and resources.

The Unist’ot’en and Gidumt’en have not given their free, prior, and informed consent for Coastal GasLink or any company to establish pipelines or industrial work camps on their territories. The Unist’ot’en Healing Centre has long been envisioned as a space to heal from the trauma suffered by so many First Nations in Canada due to colonial and extractivist violence. Projects such as the Trans-Canada pipeline perpetuate this violence. To invade this space of healing is unconscionable.

The people of Unist’ot’en and Gidumt’en have pointed out that the establishment of industry work camps–temporary housing facilities for up to thousands of mostly non-Indigenous male workers brought in for industrial work–create the social conditions for an increase of violence against Indigenous women and children. James Anaya, former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has written that, “Indigenous women have reported that the influx of workers into Indigenous communities as a result of extractive projects also led to increased incidents of sexual harassment and violence, including rape and assault.” A report on Indigenous Communities and Industrial Camps: Promoting Healthy Communities in Settings of Industrial Change, prepared by The Firelight Group with Lake Babine Nation and Nak’azdli Whut’en, elaborates on the ways Indigenous women are subject to “risk pile up,” particularly when “there is a pattern of drugs and alcohol use that is prevalent among industrial camp workers and is a contributing factor to violence against local women and girls. Increases in substance abuse and gambling throughout the life cycle of extractive industry projects is well documented.” The rate of murdered and/or missing Indigenous women and transgender people is already several times higher than the rate of the rest of the population in Canada, and the conditions of extractivist industrial work camps further entrenches the problem. These are exactly the kind of traumatic social dynamics that the Unist’ot’en Healing Center seeks to address.

NAISA Council stands against the illegal encroachment of the RCMP and Coastal GasLink on the traditional territories of the Unist’tot’en and Gitumt’en. Moreover, the arrest on January 8, 2019 of 14 people protecting Wet’suwet’en homelands raises serious concerns about the role of settler Canadian courts and police in claiming jurisdictional authority over unceded Indigenous homelands. Their actions are is a direct refutation of the self-determining authority of Indigenous nations as well as the principles of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which Canada fully endorsed in 2016.

Further, NAISA Council notes that the twin crises of climate chaos and rising inequality are worsening. The 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report has warned that humans must make a hard shift away from fossil fuel usage to limit increasing global temperatures to 1.5 degrees and trying to slow or halt catastrophic climate change. Scientists have made it clear that new fossil fuel infrastructure present the source of the world’s most threatening emissions. Shale gas development and its related infrastructure will have serious impacts on the territories of the First Nations peoples within British Columbia, as well as on areas of extraction in the northeast, along the territories and watersheds the pipeline will cross, and on coastal communities in the Salish Sea and K̲andaliig̲wii (the Hecate Straight). All will be impacted by increased tanker traffic.

We call the Canadian government, the BC provincial government, TransCanada and Coastal GasLink to immediately stop the illegal work on Unist’ot’en and Gidumt’en territories by Coastal Gas Link. We urge the federal and provincial governments to respect Indigenous rights as outlined in the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous people (UNDRIP) and in ‘Anuc niwh’it’en (Wet’suwet’en law). We firmly oppose the Trans-Canada pipeline project threatening Indigenous lands. To meet Canada’s commitments to reconciliation and Canada’s climate targets, the Canadian government needs to stop forcing gas pipelines violently through Indigenous lands.

The NAISA Council notes that over 1000 scholars from across Canada and around the world have signed a “Statement of Solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people of British Columbia” and we encourage our members to consider signing it as well. To do so, click here.

We further ask all of those who agree with this statement to take such actions as have been suggested by the Wet’suwet’en people themselves:

                                                                                                          NAISA Council


NAISA Council Statement on “Zero Tolerance” and Family Separation in the United States
 July 20, 2018
Protesters at the Otay Mesa Detention facility in California.
Photo credit: The Japan Times

The Council of the Native American & Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) repudiates the “Zero Tolerance” policy and practice of family separation undertaken by the Trump administration on the U.S.-Mexico border. This practice is explicitly intended to punish vulnerable parents and children refugees as a deterrent to further refugee migration, and violates national andinternational law.

While the cruel separation of refugee families is intolerable in every circumstance, Council wants to draw special attention to the unique experience of Indigenous migrants, who make up a significant percentage of these refugees. For Indigenous refugees, the devastating process in which children are thrust into cold, prison-like institutions, and parents anguish over the fate of their children, not knowing what to expect or if they will ever see them again, is further complicated by having limited or no language fluency in Spanish or English compounding their fear, isolation, and trauma.

Further, family separation resurrects a federal policy toward American Indians and Indigenous people that the government of the United States rejected decades ago. During the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the United States abandoned a 50-year-old policy of separating children from their families through off-reservation boarding schools, arguing that forcible separation was inhumane and damaging to the bonds between parents and children. To revive a policy that educators, American Indians, lawmakers, and the government of the United States understood was harmful to family life 90 years ago is unreasonable and undermines the lessons of history.

The Trump administration, by tearing more than 10,000 children from the arms of their parents and families and leaving them for weeks and months in horrific institutional conditions, has effectively created a new stolen generation. The trauma these children have suffered is real, and will affect them for many years after they are reunited with their parents – if they are reunited with their parents and families.

NAISA Council further repudiates the extreme irresponsibility and callousness of the U.S. government in failing to keep adequate records of family relationships to facilitate the reunification of these families, the conditions these children are being kept inthe profits private sector companies are making on child detention, and the coercive and criminalizing nature of its capturing of DNA on the pretext of aiding reunification.

The brutal policy of family separation throws a harsh light onto the enduring nature of the settler state – founded on dispossession – with its compulsion to continually reestablish white dominance and the racial stratification of rights that place non-white subjects in precarious and criminalized positions. Repeatedly in the history of Indigenous peoples, this shameful compulsive need has taken the form of tearing families apart.


Links for further reading:

NAISA council statement supporting Victoria Tauli-Corpuz and Indigenous Peoples of the Philippines

March 14, 2018

The Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (“NAISA”) expresses its solidarity with U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, and with the Indigenous peoples of the Philippines, who are coming under worsening attacks under President Rodrigo Duterte’s regime. Most recently, the Duterte government labeled Ms. Tauli-Corpuz and over 600 others as “terrorists.”[1] Human Rights Watch has asserted that this is tantamount to putting her on a government “hit list.”

Ms. Tauli-Corpuz is an Indigenous leader from the Kankana-ey Igorot people of the Cordillera Region in the Philippines. She has a consistent record of building power among Indigenous peoples across the globe and has been a strong advocate for women’s rights, speaking out against the criminalization of political dissent and training native women to organize and document acts of violence in situations of armed conflict and displacements from mining, logging, and other extractive industries.[2]

Most recently, she has been particularly concerned for the safety of 2,500 displaced Lumads (Indigenous peoples of Mindanao) who were forced to flee their homes in October of 2017, and she has worked to shine attention on the need of the Philippine government to observe its obligations under international law to protect human rights.[3]

We stand with protectors of international human rights who have expressed grave concerns about the Duterte government’s violence against Indigenous peoples and its accusations of terrorism against Ms. Tauli-Corpuz and other Indigenous activists.

Michel Forst, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, and Catalina Devandas Aguilar, chairperson of the coordination committee of the special procedures, have reported that:

“The accusation against her comes after the public comments made, jointly with other Special Rapporteurs, in relation to the militarization, attacks and killings of indigenous Lumad peoples by members of the armed forces in Mindanao; this accusation is considered as an act of retaliation for such comments.”[4]

The accusation of Tauli-Corpuz takes place in the context of an expansion of the extrajudicial killing of urban poor Filipinos profiled as “drug peddlers” or “addicts,” without trial or due process.[5] Often this repression specifically targets Indigenous peoples. Duterte’s declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao in May 2017 sought to contain a political faction rebelling against the Manila-based central government’s discontinuance of Peace Talks regarding the Bangsamoro Basic Law and Lumad self-determination.[6] Duterte resorted to aerial bombings of Marawi city, Mindanao, in attempt to neutralize the rebellion.[7] According to the Asia Preparatory Meeting on UN Mechanisms and Procedures Relating to Indigenous Peoples, “Philippine Indigenous peoples organizations have recorded at least 62 illegal arrests, 21 political prisoners, 20 incidents of forced evacuation affecting 21,966 indigenous peoples, more than a hundred people facing trumped-up charges, and forcible closure of 34 Lumad schools from July 2016 to December 2017.”[8] In February 2018, Duterte made public statements ordering his soldiers to shoot women rebels in their genitals: “We will not kill you. We will just shoot you in the vagina.”[9]

Duterte’s promotion of armed violence against any opposition is backed by an increasingly militarized state.  Even after the closure of Clark Air Force and Subic Naval base in the 1990s, the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement and the Visiting Forces Agreement emerged in the guise of “mutual security” between the U.S. and the Philippines. Training exercises were established between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the U.S. Military.  The Duterte Administration is now a willing recipient of U.S. funds to modernize Philippine bases as the Trump Administration pursues the U.S. Pivot to Asia.[10]

The NAISA Council expresses our deep concern about discrimination and violence against Indigenous peoples in the Philippines, and we stand against the criminalization and military repression of Indigenous land defenders at the hands of states.This includes extrajudicial killings and the curtailment of their basic rights, such as freedom of expression and mobility. We urge the Philippine government to uphold the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), World Conference of Indigenous Peoples (WCIP) Outcome Document, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Humanitarian Law, and other international human rights agreements to which the Philippine government is a signatory.

The Council also urges all NAISA members to learn more about the situation of Indigenous peoples in the Philippines and to consider whatever kinds of support they are able to give.

[1] See

[2] See

[3] See

[4] See

[5] See

[6] See

[7] See

[8] See

[9] See

[10] See


March 2, 2018

The Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) Council sends our deepest condolences to the families of Tina Fontaine and Colten Boushie. Tina Fontaine (January 1, 1999 – c. August 10, 2014), a 15-year old Indigenous girl from the Sagkeeng First Nation, was found wrapped in a weighted down duvet after having been murdered and dumped in the Red River. Raymond Cormier was charged with her murder. Colten Boushie (October 31, 1993 – August 9, 2016), a 22-year old Indigenous man from the Red Pheasant Cree Nation, was shot by Gerald Stanley. In February 2018 both accused were acquitted of all charges and found not guilty in two separate trials. The verdicts continue a legacy of unjust treatment against Indigenous peoples amid colonial structures and institutions in what is currently Canada.

As a professional association of scholars and educators, activists, knowledge holders, and community members, NAISA is committed to opposing systemic racism and violence and exposing miscarriages of justice against Indigenous people through our interdisciplinary pedagogies. We send strength and support to the Boushie/Baptiste and Fontaine families, as well as to our colleagues, students, and elders in residence who confront and combat anti-Indigenous sentiments in and outside of the institutions where we work. We support the Open Letter to Universities Canada[1] that calls upon universities to ensure that Indigenous students, faculty and staff are safe and commit to anti-racist professional development as part of everyone’s responsibility. The on-going violence against Indigenous people that these cases represent is intolerable and cannot be condoned. The verdicts in these cases reflect a legal and structural cynicism that counteracts any possibility of a better future. NAISA Council rejects this perspective and calls for justice for Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine.


NAISA Council Statement to Wells Fargo

April 28, 2017

Wells Fargo

420 Montgomery Street

San Francisco, CA 94104

Dear Mr. Sloan

As Council members of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA), the premiere international and professional organization of Indigenous studies, whose membership consists of more than 1,000 scholars, students, independent researchers, and community workers, we write to you concerning the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and Wells Fargo’s investment in the pipeline. NAISA Council stands in solidarity with the Oceti Sakowin Oyate (the Great Sioux Nation), the Standing Rock Sioux, and the Water Protectors in their opposition to the DAPL, and has issued a statement in support of this struggle against the pipeline, which can be accessed from our website ( DAPL crosses un-ceded Sioux lands and violates treaty rights and continues to desecrate sacred burial and cultural sites. A spillfrom the pipeline, which crosses four states, would contaminate the drinking water of not only those at Standing Rock but millions of Americans, placing their lives in danger.

Since its inception in 2008, NAISA has had its financial accounts with Wells Fargo and has valued this relationship. As elected Council members, we have fiduciary and ethical duties to our members who in turn have responsibilities to not simply their intellectual fields and academic homes but to indigenous communities. ln our capacity as NAISA Council, but also as clients of Wells Fargo-a company that claims it is committed to environmental sustainability and human rights” and ‘respects Tribal governments and communities, ‘we implore you to exercise social responsibility to those who lives will be placed in danger and divest from the DAPL. As representatives of our membership, we are obligated to consider both the security and performance of NAISA assets and philosophical congruence when deciding on financial institutions. The current situation with DAPL is leading to a reconsideration of our current relationship with you as our financial institution.

NAISA Council Statement on Dakota Access Pipeline

September 11, 2016

The Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (“NAISA”) expresses its solidarity with the Oceti Sakowin Oyate (Great Sioux Nation), the Standing Rock Sioux, the numerous other Native tribal nations and individuals who have expressed their opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline (“DAPL”), and with the brave and stalwart individuals who have put their bodies in the path of bulldozers to halt its construction.

Executive Order 13175, issued by President Clinton on November 6, 2000, requires executive departments and agencies to engage in regular and meaningful consultation and collaboration with tribal national governments when federal policies and actions have implications for tribal nations. President Obama reaffirmed this policy in his Presidential Memorandum on Tribal Consultation of November 5, 2009. In it, he wrote, “History has shown that failure to include the voices of tribal officials in formulating policy affecting their communities has all too often led to undesirable and, at times, devastating and tragic results.” He went on to commit his administration to “complete and consistent implementation” of President Clinton’s executive order. Further, Article 19 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples says that “states shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.”

In a clear violation of the above stated obligations, the Army Corps of Engineers failed to engage in meaningful consultation with the Standing Rock Sioux prior to authorizing DAPL. As a result, sites sacred to the Sioux have already been destroyed. DAPL was originally planned to cross the Missouri River north of Bismarck, North Dakota. Objections by the state and the city about the threat to the municipal water source led to a relocation to the crossing at Oahe Lake adjacent to the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Reservations. We cannot imagine a clearer example of environmental racism. Yet a rupture of DAPL under or near the Missouri River would not only contaminate the source of the tribes’ water source. It would create an environmental disaster of disastrous proportions to the Mississippi River and into the Gulf of Mexico.

We are heartened that President Obama’s administration has brought a halt to further construction, but that cessation is only temporary. DAPL must be halted permanently to fulfill the federal government’s trust obligation to tribal nations.

The NAISA Council urges all of its members to consider supporting the justified opposition to DAPL and to provide any aid and support that they are able to.

NAISA Council Statement on Indigenous Identity Fraud

Approved by NAISA Council, 15 September 2015

Issues of Indigenous identity are complex. Hundreds of years of ongoing colonialism around the world have contributed to this complexity. However, such complexity does not mean that there are no ethical considerations in claiming Indigenous identity or relationships with particular Indigenous peoples. To falsely claim such belonging is Indigenous identity fraud.

As scholars of Native American and Indigenous Studies, we are expected to undertake our work with a commitment to the communities with whom we work, about whom we write, and among whom we conduct research — we are expected to uphold the highest ethical standards of our profession. Further, as scholars it is incumbent upon us to be honest about both our ancestries and our involvement with, and ties to, Indigenous communities. This is true whether we are Indigenous or non-Indigenous. In no way are we implying that one must be Indigenous in order to undertake Native American and Indigenous Studies. We are simply stating that we must be honest about our identity claims, whatever our particular positionalities. Belonging does not arise simply from individual feelings – it is not simply who you claim to be, but also who claims you. When someone articulates connections to a particular people, the measure of truth cannot simply be a person’s belief but must come from relationships with Indigenous people, recognizing that there may be disagreements among Indigenous people over the legitimacy of a particular person’s or group’s claims. According to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues statement on Indigenous identity, the test is “Self-identification as indigenous peoples at the individual level and accepted by the community as their member.”1

Being dishonest about one’s identity and one’s connections to Indigenous communities damages the integrity of the discipline and field of Native American and Indigenous Studies and is harmful to Indigenous peoples. If we believe in Indigenous self-determination as a value and goal, then questions of identity and integrity in its expression cannot be treated as merely a distraction from supposedly more important issues. Falsifying one’s identity or relationship to particular Indigenous peoples is an act of appropriation continuous with other forms of colonial violence.The harmful effects of cultural and identity appropriation have been clearly articulated by Native American and Indigenous Studies scholars over the past four decades, and it is our responsibilityto be aware of these critiques.

The issue is not one of enrollment, or blood quantum, or recognition by the state, or meeting any particular set of criteria for defining “proper” or “authentic” Indigenous identity. The issue is honesty and integrity in engaging the complexities, difficulties, and messiness of our histories (individual and collective), our relations to each other, and our connections to the people and peoples who serve as the subjects of our scholarship.

For these reasons, the Council of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association expresses its conviction that we are all responsible to act in an ethical fashion by standing against Indigenous identity fraud.

1 – United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, “Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Voices Fact Sheet, ‘Who are indigenous peoples?’” Posted 09/05/2006, accessed 12/08/2015

NAISA Council Declaration of Support for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions

Approved by NAISA Council, 13 December 2013

The council of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) declares its support for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

A broad coalition of Palestinian non-governmental organizations, acting in concert to represent the Palestinian people, formed the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. Their call was taken up in the United States by the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. A NAISA member-initiated petition brought this issue to NAISA Council. After extensive deliberation on the merits of the petition, the NAISA Council decided by unanimous vote to encourage members of NAISA and all who support its mission to honor the boycott.

NAISA is dedicated to free academic inquiry about, with, and by Indigenous communities. The NAISA Council protests the infringement of the academic freedom of Indigenous Palestinian academics and intellectuals in the Occupied Territories and Israel who are denied fundamental freedoms of movement, expression, and assembly, which we uphold.

As the elected council of an international community of Indigenous and allied non-Indigenous scholars, students, and public intellectuals who have studied and resisted the colonization and domination of Indigenous lands via settler state structures throughout the world, we strongly protest the illegal occupation of Palestinian lands and the legal structures of the Israeli state that systematically discriminate against Palestinians and other Indigenous peoples.

NAISA is committed to the robust intellectual and ethical engagement of difficult and often highly charged issues of land, identity, and belonging. Our members will have varying opinions on the issue of the boycott, and we encourage generous dialogue that affirms respectful disagreement as a vital scholarly principle. We reject shaming or personal attacks as counter to humane understanding and the greater goals of justice, peace, and decolonization.

As scholars dedicated to the rights of Indigenous peoples, we affirm that our efforts are directed specifically at the Israeli state, not at Israeli individuals. The NAISA Council encourages NAISA members to boycott Israeli academic institutions because they are imbricated with the Israeli state and we wish to place pressure on that state to change its policies. We champion and defend intellectual and academic freedom, and we recognize that conversation and collaboration with individuals and organizations in Israel/Palestine can make an important contribution to the cause of justice. In recognition of the profound social and political obstacles facing Palestinians in such dialogues, however, we urge our members and supporters to engage in such actions outside the aegis of Israeli educational institutions, honoring this boycott until such time as the rights of the Palestinian people are respected and discriminatory policies are ended.