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Happy new year, AISC community! 
Our director, Shannon Speed, is on sabbatical until July, and it is truly an honor to serve as interim director of the AISC while she focuses on research and writing. Since 2019, I have served as the Center’s associate director, and have been hon the faculty advisory board since I started at UCLA in 2016. My own research and community work are with speakers and learners of Southern Tiwa, an Indigenous language spoken in New Mexico and Texas, and I teach in the Anthropology Department as well as in the American Indian Studies Program Interdepartmental Program. I serve as co-director (with Dr. Mishuana Goeman) of the California Native Hubs Project, an NEH-funded project to train area tribes and cultural heritage keepers on the Mukurtu digital archiving platform. During my time as interim director, one of my goals is to enhance the Center’s support of community language programs, so look out for upcoming events that focus on Indigenous language activism and reclamation
But enough with introductions when there is so much happening at the AISC! I’m happy to say that 2022 promises to be another exciting year at the Center, and we are busy with grants, hosting visiting scholars, and growing our library collections. For now, we are continuing to hold our many events online. While we miss being able to gather in person, the ability to include members of our extended community at talks, readings, workshops, and performances using Zoom has been a silver lining of the pandemic, and we look forward to seeing what our amazing events coordinator, Pamela J. Peters has planned for the upcoming months (see below for details). When it’s possible to return to campus, please stop by and say hello at Shannon’s office on Fridays or make an appointment for another time. I'm looking forward to (re)connecting with you all in 2022!

Many thanks, 

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

🔷Native Bruin Highlight: Past, Present & Emerging 🔷
Happy New Year! This January we are highlighting Native Bruin Jesse Johnson (Kumeyaay) from the San Pasqual Reservation.

Jesse Meswiir Johnson is Kumeyaay from the San Pasqual Reservation and currently a fourth-year student at UCLA majoring in human biology and society. During his time at UCLA, he has served as one of the chairpersons for the American Indian Student Association (AISA) as well as one of the pow wow coordinators. He found it a pleasure to serve his community in these two roles. In addition to working with AISA, he currently holds the DiverSWC director position, which promotes diversity in the Student Wellness Commission and in the student government. Jesse was one of the first Native students to run for student government at UCLA, working to establish visibility for our students, who represent less than 1% of the student population on campus. With the experience he has gained in his community and at UCLA, he hopes to pursue a career in nursing and become one of the few Indigenous fellows in the medical field. It is very important to him to increase representation and inclusion for the greater Indian Country. “Thank you all and keep pushing forward, family!”

Personal Quote:
"Never hide who you are! Be heard. Be you. Be Indigenous."
Date: Tuesday, January 25, 2022: 4:00pm–5:30pm PST
Title of Event: Leanne Betasamosake Simpson: Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies
Organizer: UCLA English
Co-Sponsor: AISC
Join us for a reading featuring Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. Leanne is a Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg scholar, writer, musician, and member of Alderville First Nation.  She is the author of seven previous books, including the novel Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies. The reading will be followed by a Q&A moderated by UCLA English professor Ho’esta Mo’e’hahne.
Register Here:
New! AICRJ on Settler Science and Alien Contact

Check out the latest issue of AICRJ, “Settler Science, Alien Contact and Searches for Intelligence”: In it, guest editors David Shorter and Kim TallBear “aimed to go where few settler academics have gone before”—examining the imperialist underpinnings of space exploration and the “often-uncomfortable connections between colonizations past and future.” The issue analyzes the history of science, ufology, space exploration, and colonialism through an Indigenous lens.

Please check next month's newsletter for information about a one-of-a-kind Zoom event featuring several contributors, literary readings, and videos!
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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