Apply for the 2017 NCAIS Summer Institute – The State of/and/against Native Nations: US Law and Native America



The State of/and/against Native Nations: US Law and Native America

NCAIS Summer Institute, 2017

The Newberry Library, Chicago, Illinois

Dr. Jennifer Nez Denetdale

Associate Professor of American Studies

University of New Mexico

Dr. Justin Richland

Associate Professor of Anthropology

University of Chicago

Research Professor, American Bar Foundation


This NCAIS institute will examine foundational doctrines of law that have informed the history and contemporary shape of the government-to-government relations between Native Nations and the United States. Drawing upon case studies, primary documents, and contemporary Indigenous Studies, we consider how laws and policies of both the United States and different tribal nations inform modern Native nation-building and the ways in which Native leaders have addressed the challenges that face their respective peoples, including questions of belonging related to citizenship and blood quantum; family, marriage, and sexuality; Western notions of property and land use; Indigenous forms of governance and justice and impositions of Western democratic principles, among other issues and questions. Our inquiry will also include an exploration of UNDRIP as a document to advance Indigenous nations and peoples’ efforts to reclaim their sovereignty and self-determination based upon principles grounded in their own cultural commitments, legal traditions, and ethics.

The Newberry Library’s holdings of manuscript collections and books will be especially relevant to the theme of this proposed NCAIS institute and we plan to have students inspect primary documents and books such as those from the Edward Ayer Collection, the Dorothy R. Parker D’arcy McNickle Research papers, 1863-1980, which include references to Indian Commission Dillon Myer (responsible for Indian termination in the 1950s) and the Crownpoint development project, 1951-1958; several publications of Alice Fletcher (involved in the Dawes Commission), including her book, Hunting Customs of the Omaha. Personal Studies of Indian Life (1895); and the book, In the Circuit Court of the U.S., District of South Dakota, Jane E. Waldron vs. the United States of America, Black Tomahawk, and Ira A. Hatch as Indian agent at the Cheyenne River Indian Agency, defendant (1904).



As a member of NCAIS, UNM is entitled to send one graduate student to the four-week summer institute at the prestigious Newberry Library. The successful UNM applicant will be reimbursed up to $500 for travel, will have housing provided for free at the Canterbury Court Apartments, and receive a $600 stipend.  A UNM faculty committee will review applications and choose our graduate representative.

To Apply: Please send the following items to our faculty liaison, Dr. Jennifer Denetdale at as attachments by May 15th, 2017:

  • letter of application stating why you hope to attend and how this institute will help further your research interests and program;
  • a short 2 page c.v.;
  • and a letter of recommendation from a faculty members who are familiar with your work to our NCAIS Faculty Liaison by May 15th, 2017 by 5pm