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Greetings, AISC community! 

This year, 2022, will long be remembered as an incredible time for student and alumni activism, culminating in commitments to hire more Native faculty and cover tuition and fees for all Native University of California students, among other achievements. The UCLA Pow Wow returned and was a great success, and this week we were able to gather in-person for the first time in several years to celebrate our American Indian Studies graduates.

Other, more bittersweet changes are up ahead. Judith DeTar, the Senior Editor of the American Indian Culture and Research Journal for 10 years, is retiring in June and will be sorely missed. In other journal-related news, we are excited to welcome Dr. David Delgado Shorter, Professor of UCLA World Arts and Cultures, who has graciously agreed to serve as Interim Editor-in-Chief while Editor Randall Akee serves for the next year as Senior Economist in the Executive Office of the President, Council of Economic Advisers. Our sincere thanks to them and others who help keep the journal a vital space for art and ideas in Indigenous contexts.

It has been an honor to serve as Interim Director of the AISC these past six months, especially during this exciting time with many reasons to celebrate. I remain grateful to all of you—the AISC staff; AIS students, faculty, and staff; AIS alumni; and to Director Shannon Speed for this opportunity—and wish everyone a healthy and productive summer.

Congratulations, graduates and colleagues, and stay in touch!

Erin Debenport
Associate Professor & Vice Chair for Graduate Studies, UCLA Anthropology 
Interim Director, UCLA American Indian Studies Center 


🔷Native Bruin Highlight: Past, Present & Emerging 🔷
This June we are highlighting Native Bruin Mikaela Saelua, UCLA Class of 2013, Bachelors of Arts in Political Science with a minor in Asian American Studies.

Mikaela Saelua is the youngest child of Fiu John Saelua and Catherine Saelua, and a member of the Sa Fiu and Sa Avegalio clans. She was born and raised in her home village of Leone in American Samoa, where she currently resides. While at UCLA she was an active member of the Pacific Islands Student Association (PISA) as well as the educational outreach project Pacific Islander Education Retention (PIER).
After completing her degree at UCLA, Mikaela moved back to American Samoa to work as a high school teacher and is currently teaching English in the high school she graduated from, Leone High School. She is also involved in the Society of Faafafine in American Samoa (SOFIAS), which does community and charity work for the faafafine community as well as the community at large. 


On Friday the entire AIS community—students, alumni, faculty, staff, friends and family—gathered to celebrate the Native and AIS students graduating in 2022. This was our first in-person graduation ceremony since 2019, and emotions ranged from elation to tears to trepidation to relief to gratefulness. Student Services Advisor Tim Topper emceed magnificently, students were blanketed, and everyone came together in the spirit of peace and thanks. After the program, we mingled and shared food during the reception on the patio. Go, Native Bruins!
IAC Research Grant Recipients

We are delighted to announce the recipients of UCLA’s Institute of American Cultures Research Grant program for academic year 2022–2023. These grants are designed for student, faculty and staff researchers in UCLA’s four ethnic studies centers. AISC administers the funding for those who conduct research in American Indian and Indigenous studies, as well as those whose work is inter-ethnic. We congratulate the following recipients, whose work is vital, wide-ranging and exemplary!
Amber Chong, MA student in Anthropology, Land-Based Pedagogy in the Hawaiian Food Sovereignty Movement
Jessica Fremland, PhD student in Gender Studies, Sewing Resistance: Dakota Aesthetics in and Beyond the Archive
Nancy Mithlo, Professor in Gender Studies, Allan Houser and Francisco Zúñiga: A Critique of the Indigenous Woman as Essentialized Other
Pamela J. Peters, staff, American Indian Studies Center, Traces of My Homeland 
Cynthia Teyolia, MA student in American Indian Studies, Indigenous Researchers’ Experiences in the Archives: An Intersectional Study
Tria Blu Wakpa, Assistant Professor, World Arts and Cultures/Dance, Sovereign Movements: Native American Choreography in Confinement
Editorial Staffing Changes at AICRJ

Editor-in-Chief Randall Akee has been appointed to serve as Senior Economist in the Executive Office of the President, Council of Economic Advisers. The term runs for one year, beginning July 1, 2022 through June 2023, after which Dr. Akee will return to his post at UCLA. We all congratulate him on this prestigious appointment!

Dr. David Delgado Shorter, Professor of UCLA World Arts and Cultures, has agreed to serve as Interim Editor-in-Chief of the American Indian Culture and Research Journal. He is brimming with ideas to expand our social media outreach and to make AICRJ more interactive by organizing related events and discussions. You can read more about Dr. Shorter in the blurb below.

Finally, after ten years serving as AICRJ’s Senior Editor nonpareil, Dr. Judith DeTar is retiring at the end of June. Judith was the consummate professional: editing authors’ work with an expert ear for maintaining the author’s voice, an expert eye for correcting typos and refining awkward phrasing, and an analytical focus on clarifying arguments, sharpening the focus, and refining writing to make it clearer and pithier. She is a thoughtful, generous, and diplomatic colleague who will be greatly missed.
Meet the New Interim AICRJ Editor-in-Chief!
Dr. David Delgado Shorter comes to the position with over twenty-five years of professional experience in Indigenous Studies. He writes, “From before NAISA existed, I remember being a graduate student on one or two panels with Indigenous presenters. My mentors back then imbued me with the sense that the American Indian Culture and Research Journal was ‘the’ singular flagship academic journal at the time. It’s been a deep honor to have been published by them, and to have worked with them and Dr. Kim TallBear on our special Issue this last year.” 
Since receiving his PhD from the History of Consciousness Program at UCSC, Shorter has gone on to complete over two decades of collaborative research with the Yoeme (Yaqui) people of Northern Mexico, publish an award-winning ethnographic book (2009), and make a short ethnographic film (2013) with funding from the National Science Foundation. Shorter has co-edited (with Dr. Randolph Lewis) the Indigenous Films book series (
University of Nebraska Press), and he is currently working on his next book on how editing provides a powerful means to decolonize how we communicate. 
As a leader in digital publications, having developed three websites supporting Indigenous language and cultural maintenance, Shorter hopes to solicit manuscripts that range from the scholarly article, to the poetic, the artistic, and as he calls it, "the vital trans- and anti-disciplinary work.” His goals for the year include quicker paths toward publication for scholars to meet their very real merit and promotion needs, continuing the journal’s transition to Open Access, and "helping support Indigenous Studies publishing across continents, languages, and genres.” 
To learn how to submit your own work, please click 
UCLA American Indian Studies Center acknowledges the Tongva peoples as the traditional land caretakers of Tovaangar (Los Angeles basin, So. Channel Islands) and is grateful to have the opportunity to work for the taraaxatom (indigenous peoples) in this place. As a land grant institution, we pay our respects to Honuukvetam (Ancestors), ‘Ahiihirom (Elders), and ‘eyoohiinkem (our relatives/relations) past, present, and emerging.

Copyright © 2022 UCLA American Indian Studies Center, All rights reserved.

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