Chokma! I am truly honored to stand for NAISA President. I am Chickasaw and Choctaw, and I am a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation. I serve as Director of the American Indian Studies Center (AISC) at UCLA, on Tongva traditional land, where I am also an Associate Professor of Gender Studies and Anthropology. I was trained in hemispheric indigenous studies at UC Davis, and my work bridges disciplinary and geographic boundaries in the Americas. My work in the last two and a half decades has focused on Mexico, Central America, and the U.S., on issues of indigenous autonomy, sovereignty, gender, neoliberalism, violence, migration, and collaborative research. I recently completed a book manuscript entitled, “Incarcerated Stories: Indigenous Women Migrants and the Settler Capitalist State” (forthcoming UNC Press Critical Indigeneities Series). My next (proposed) project is with the Chickasaw Nation.
Candidate Statement: I am strongly committed to NAISA as our Native professional association, as my record of service reflects. I have attended all but two of the meetings since NAISA’s inception. In 2010, I helped co-found the Abiayala Working Group, to assist Council in addressing barriers to the participation of our indigenous colleagues from Latin America. Abiayala was NAISA’s first, and remains its only, official working group. In 2014, I served as Chair of the Host Committee when we brought the annual meeting to UT Austin. The center I now direct, the AISC at UCLA, is hosting this year’s conference in Los Angeles. I have served on NAISA Council from 2015 to the present (term ending May 2018). I hope to be able to continue this trajectory of service as president of NAISA. If elected, I would continue to build on NAISA’s great strengths in community-engaged research and knowledge production with a global theoretical reach. Since its founding, through the annual meetings and the NAIS journal, NAISA has played a decisive role in reshaping and invigorating the discipline of Native Studies. As president, I would humbly seek to continue the groundbreaking work carried out by our past presidents and councilmembers. I would also endeavor to expand our development efforts, seeking funding to grow our support for graduate student, community, and international participation. I will work to foster continued dialogue, not just across north-south borders, but across the Pacific, Atlantic, and beyond. In addition, through its public statements, NAISA Council has spoken to pressing issues affecting Native individuals and communities. I would encourage and expand (as appropriate) this important form of public engagement. In short, I will continue to uphold and strengthen NAISA’s inclusive mission of locally grounded, publicly engaged, and globally relevant scholarship in Native Studies.
Chokma’shki/Thank you for considering my potential to lead the association.