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Dear AISC friends and family,

Chokma! Happy holidays from the AISC. As we wind down this fall quarter, it is with sadness (for ourselves) and joy (for her) that we celebrate Wendy Teeter for her multitudinous accomplishments at UCLA, as she retires and moves on to new horizons with Santa Ynez. Wendy contributed to the AISC in so many ways, fostering relations with community, serving on our faculty advisory committee, teaching classes in American Indian Studies, but most importantly, overseeing NAGPRA and working with steadfast determination to see the ancestors housed in collections at UCLA returned. We will miss you, Wendy! And because Wendy’s retirement merits multiple celebrations, please stay tuned, all, for more information on the continuing celebrations of Wendy’s work in January.  

As winter quarter will be largely back in person on campus, I hope we can all feel like we are returning to some semblance of normalcy. Of course, our worlds have changed, and the way we look at work and the workplace is different than it was prepandemic. The AISC staff will continue to work in hybrid fashion, by which I mean partially remote. We will stive to have at least one staff person in the office most of the time during business hours, but please understand if you stop by and there isn’t anyone available.  

I want to express my sincere appreciation to Associate Director Erin Debenport, who is stepping in as Interim Director while I am on sabbatical in winter and spring quarters. The next monthly missive will be from her!  

I wish you all the best for the holidays, and for the winter and spring quarters. See you next summer! 


Dr. Shannon Speed (Chickasaw)
Director, American Indian Studies Center
🔷Native Bruin Highlight: Past, Present & Emerging 🔷
This December we are highlighting Native Bruin Jessica Fremland, from the Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota Nation.

Jessica Fremland (she/her/hers) is Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota currently living on Kumeyaay land in what is often referred to as San Diego, California. She obtained her BA from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities in American Indian Studies and a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the London School of Economics. She is currently a third year PhD student in the Gender Studies Department at UCLA.

Jessica is currently researching various forms of performance and arts-based resistance in Native communities. Her work examines the ways Dakota womxn specifically call attention to the violence of the settler state and refuse to abide by its terms. Most recently, and with the financial support of the AISC, IAC, and Graduate Division, Jessica conducted a participant observation project titled The Sewing Intimacies Project. This project facilitated a virtual sewing group for Dakota womxn interested in learning how to make a jingle dress. This project hopes to illuminate the forms of relationships built through crafting and to better understand how this is connected to Indigenous knowledge systems and resistance.

Jessica is a member of the American Indian Graduate Student Association, and is also the Book Review Editor for the American Indian Culture and Research Journal. Jessica says,

The mentorship I have received from the Native faculty and community at UCLA has been
invaluable. It has helped me develop deeper critical thinking skills and lifelong friendships. For that, I’m incredibly thankful to have the opportunity to study here.”

In her spare time, Jessica enjoys writing and performing spoken word poetry and spending time with her dogs at the beach.
UCLA IAC Visiting Research Scholar Fellowship Program in Ethnic Studies. 
Due January 6, 2022 

Apply here:
2022-2023 IAC Research Grants 
Application due on March 1, 2022. 

Apply here:
2022-2023 Shirley Hune Inter-Ethnic/Inter-Racial Studies Award 
Apply by March 1, 2022

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