Past UNM graduate student & faculty participants in NCAIS Programs

NCAIS Summer Institute

India Rael Young (Art History)  2016 Summer Institute on “Writing Indigenous Histories: Print, Material, and Digital Sites of Memory” with Dr. Kathleen Washburn (English, UNM ) and Dr. Kelly Wisecup (English, Northwestern University).

Nicholas Barron (Ph.D. Anthropology) “Ironic Encounters: Expert Witnesses and the Indian Claims Commission” (2014 Summer Institute, “Recording the Native Americas: Indigenous Speech, Representation, and the Politics of Writing”)  As a participant in the NCAIS Summer Institute, I conducted archival research at the Newberry library pertinent to the interrelated history of anthropology and federal Indian policy. My paper, “Ironic Encounters: Expert Witnesses and the Indian Claims Commission,” traces the life history of three anthropologists who came to work for the federal government as expert witnesses during the 1950s. This paper complicates previous studies of the relationship between anthropologists and the Claims Commission that have been quick to render these individuals agents of settler colonialism without acknowledging the left progressive commitment to full integration that underwrote much of this work. Highlighting the ironic means by which academics who saw themselves as sympathetic advocates for Native peoples came to produce a vast body of knowledge that the federal government could use to support a settler colonial project of marginalization, I argue that in order to begin to make sense of this paradoxical history, scholars must move past overly reductive views of knowledge production that fail to account for the complex subjectivity of acting individuals. The Summer Institute provided a vital opportunity to conduct preliminary research that will inform the interconnected subjects of my dissertation project: anthropology, settler colonialism, and the formation of ethnographic archives in the U.S.

W. Oliver Baker (English) will represent UNM at the 2013 Summer Institute, “Competing Narratives: Native American and Indigenous Studies Across Disciplines.” Led by Prof. Erin Debenport, Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico and Dr. Scott Stevens, Director, D’Arcy McNickle Center, participants of the institute will compare competing narratives as they relate to indigenous studies.

Maurice Crandall, (Ph.D. History) “Carlos Montezuma’s Cross-Continental Origin, Family, and Identity” (2012 Institute, Territory, Commemoration, and Monument: Indigenous and Settler Histories of Place and Power). In 2013-2014, Maurice was awarded the Charles A. Eastman Dissertation Fellowship at Dartmouth College. Run through the Dartmouth Native American Studies Department, the fellowship offers year long support for dissertation completion. Maurice is the first fellow from UNM, joining past recipients from UC-Berkeley, NYU, Harvard, Cornell, McGill, and Illinois Urbana-Champaign, among other schools. In 2016-2017 he held a fellowship at SMU’s Clements Center for Southwestern Studies and will be joining the faculty at Dartmouth University in Fall 2017.

Alessandra La Rocca Link, (MA History) “Translation and Politicization in Indian Country: Ermine Wheeler-Voegelin, Gene Weltfish, and the Production of Ethnographic Knowledge in Twentieth-Century America” (2011 Institute, Gender in Native American History and Communities). Alessandra graduated with her MA from UNM in Spring 2012 and is now enrolled in the History Ph.D. program at the University of Colorado.

Lisa J. Brown, (Ph.D. History) “John Howard Payne: Forgotten Advocate for the Cherokee” (2010 Institute, Teasing Indian Agency, Tribal Voice, and Persistence from the Record)

Spring Workshop in Research Methods

Zonnie M. Gorman, a History Ph.D. student at UNM, will participate in the “Archives by Way of Museums: Material Culture and the Writing of Indigenous History” workshop at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., March 8-10. The workshop is directed by Professor Brenda Child from the University of Minnesota. For more than six years, UNM has been a member of the Newberry Consortium of American Indian Studies (NCAIS), which is a program housed in the D’Arcy McNickle Center at the Newberry Library in Chicago, Illinois. UNM’s membership in the consortium offers UNM faculty and graduate students opportunities to participate in American Indian Studies seminars, conferences, and summer institutes hosted at the Newberry Library. UNM faculty and students also have access to the Newberry archives, which houses one of the largest collections of manuscripts, books, and maps in American Indian Studies. UNM faculty, including Dr. Jennifer Denetdale, Dr. David Correia, Dr. Cathleen Cahill, and Dr. Kathleen Washburn, have led the NCAIS workshops and summer institutes.

Zonnie Gorman is recognized for her work on the Navajo Code Talkers of World War II, the topic of her M.A. thesis.  She has served as a consultant to numerous documentaries, museum exhibitions, and magazine and book authors. She has appeared in and served as consultant to a number of documentaries, including the History Channel documentary, Navajo Code Talkers and the PBS documentary, True Whispers. She is a past board member for the Navajo Studies Conference and belongs to several academic organizations including the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) and the Organization for American Historians (OAH).  More information can be found at

Loyola Bird, (Ph.D.  English), represented UNM for the Spring 2017 methods workshop. The workshop, “Indigenous Languages and Literatures in the Colonial Archive,” was held  at Amherst College, Amherst, MA, and  led by Dr. Jenny L. Davis, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Dr. Birgit Brander Rasmussen, SUNY-Binghamton University and Mike Kelly, Head, Archives & Special Collections, Amherst College.


Loyola is a member of the Jicarilla Apache Nation, located in northern New Mexico. She received her B.A. in English from Fort Lewis College, an M.A. in English and a Certificate in Technical & Professional Writing from Northern Arizona University. Her early career background includes positions in secretarial and business administration. In 2004, Loyola began a teaching trek at the secondary level on the reservation. She has also taught First-year Composition at The University of New Mexico and has guest lectured on American Indian issues such as education and identity. In 2017, she will complete a doctorate in English with emphases in rhetoric (both Westernized and American Indian), composition studies, and American Indian Literature. Loyola’s intellectual sub-interests include American Indian education, developmental writing studies, Indigenous ethnography, and the use of narrative in capturing human experience. Her doctoral dissertation focuses on the rhetorical motivations and practices of American Indian tribal leaders. Bird, a three-time cancer survivor, plans to continue teaching, motivating, and healing through education.

Marilyn Riggs (Ph.D. Anthropology) attended the 2014 NCAIS Spring Methods Workshop (led by UNM’s Dr. Erin Debenport of the Anthropology Department) “Betting on Indian Country: Indian Gaming in the Archives” at member institution University of Nevada at Las Vegas’ Special Collections and the Center of Gaming Research. The workshop was a great fit with Riggs’  doctoral research. In her dissertation, “Games People Played:  The Social Role of Gambling in the Prehispanic Southwest,” she is looking at archaeological evidence of gambling to investigate the possibility that gambling could facilitate ongoing interactions between unrelated people in large pueblos, or between people from unrelated cultures.

Nicholas Estes (Ph.D.American Studies) participated in the 2013 Spring workshop, “Native Oral Traditions and History in the Archives: Research, Theory, and Methods,” at the Newberry Library in Chicago, Illinois, where students were introduced to the theory and practice of Native oral traditions and their intersections with history.  Nicholas is Sicangu Tintonwan is an enrolled member of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe in South Dakota.  He received his M.A. in History from the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, South Dakota in 2012. A first year Ph.D. student in American Studies at UNM, Nicholas applied for the fellowship because of his interest in Native American history and particularly, to add to his knowledge of interdisciplinary approaches to theories of settler colonialism as they relate to the environment, resource exploitation, treaty rights, gender roles, sexuality, and the construction of Native and Indigenous identities in rural and urban settings.  Nicholas is already very accomplished as he has conducted oral history interviews in Native communities as graduate research assistant at the Oral History Center in the American Indian Studies Department at the University of South Dakota.  Ultimately, he is interested in utilizing oral history theories and methods to further understand the politics of the everyday lived experience of settler colonialism and hopes to focus on what is commonly ignored, elided, and/or misrecognized as to what constitutes the materiality and dispersal of suffering of the lived experiences of the Oceti Sakowin Oyate.

Kevin Brown, (Anthropology) 2012 Workshop, the Museum as Archive in American Indian Studies. Kevin is currently a Program Specialist at the Indigenous Nations Library Program at Zimmerman Library, UNM.

Melanie Yazzie, (Ph.D. American Studies) 2011 Workshop, Uncovering Early American Indian Literary History.

Annual Graduate Student Conference (and Summer Institute Presentations)

Maurice Crandall, (Ph.D. History) “Carlos Montezuma’s Cross-Continental Origin, Family, and Identity” (2012 conference)

Julie Williams, (English) “Home Sweet (Dirty) Home: Discourses of Hygiene and Domesticity in Stiya: A Carlisle Indian Girl at Home” (2012 conference)

Alessandra Link, (MA History) “Translation and Politicization: Gender and the Politics of Twentieth Century American Indian Ethnography” (2011 Summer Institute Presentation)

Alessandra Link, (MA History) “Embracing the Beaded Necklace: The Anthropological Education of the Indian New Deal” (2011 conference)

Christopher Steinke, (Ph.D. History) “Pawnee Indians and the Eighteenth-Century Missouri River Trade” (2011 conference)

NCAIS Graduate Student Fellowship Recipients

Elaine Nelson, (Ph.D. History) (now faculty at the University of Nebraska at Omaha), for Dreams and Dust in the Black Hills: Contested Identities in America’s Land of Promise

Christopher Steinke, (Ph.D. History) for “Borderlands Circuit: Missouri Trade Corridor, 1718-1803.” Chris is the 2012-2013 recipient of the Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Fellowship. These newly established fellowships in the UNM College of Arts & Sciences provide valuable financial support for top, meritorious doctoral students with demonstrated financial need who are conducting research for, and or completing, their doctoral dissertations.

UNM faculty participants

2017 Summer Institute, c0-taught by Dr. Jennifer Denetdale (American Studies, UNM) and Dr. Justin B. Richland (Anthropology, University of Chicago)

2016 Summer Institute, “Writing Indigenous Histories: Print, Material, and Digital Sites of Memory” co-taught by Dr. Kathleen Washburn (English, UNM ) and Dr. Kelly Wisecup (English, Northwestern University).

2015 Summer Institute, “Looking for Native Sovereignty: Property, Citizenship and the Violence of Settler Colonialism” co-taught by Dr. Jennifer Denetdale (American Studies, UNM) and Dr. David Correia (American Studies, UNM).

2014 Spring Methods Workshop, “Betting on Indian Country: Indian Gaming in the Archives”   co-taught by Dr. Erin Debenport (Anthropology, UNM) and Dr. William Bauer (History, UNLV)

2013 Summer Institute, “Competing Narratives: Native American and Indigenous Studies Across Disciplines” taught by Dr. Erin Debenport, (Anthropology, UNM) and Dr. Scott Stevens (Director, D’Arcy McNickle Center, Newberry Library)

2011 Summer Institute, “American Indian Women, Gender, and Feminisms,” co-taught by Dr. Jennifer Denetdale (American Studies, UNM) and Dr. Cathleen Cahill (History, UNM)

Annual Faculty Fellowship Recipients

2014 Short-Term Fellowship Dr. Cathleen D. Cahill (History)

2013-2014 Dr. Kathleen Washburn, (English)

Faculty Liaisons:

Faculty Liaison 2015-present—Jennifer Denetdale, Department of American Studies

Faculty Liaison 2012-2015—Erin Debenport, Department of Anthropology

Faculty Liaison 2011-12—Cathleen D. Cahill, Department of History

Faculty Liaison 2010-11—Jennifer Denetdale, Department of American Studies