Archive for the 'American Indian Studies' Category

My foreword to Kevin Whalen’s Native Students at Work: American Indian Labor and Sherman Institute’s Outing Program, 1900-1945

Screenshot 2016-05-10 12.56.26

Foreword

Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Six years ago, I received an email from my former graduate advisor Clifford Trafzer about a student named Kevin Whalen, who was conducting research on Sherman Institute, an off-reservation Indian boarding school in Riverside, California. Although Cliff had written to me about his students in the past, his enthusiasm for this student, coupled with my interest in Sherman, caused me to take special notice of Kevin and his work. At the time of Cliff’s email, he and I were putting together an edited collection on Sherman with Oregon State University Press, and he wanted me to consider including Kevin’s essay in our book, a chapter he had written entitled “Labored Learning.”

In the academy it is common for established scholars to “guard turf” and to be critical of others who do work in their area of research. All junior faculty experience this to some degree, and even I allowed this mentality to influence my initial thoughts about Kevin. Who was this “star,” as Cliff described him, and what more could he possibly add to what I had already done? While these were my original reactions to Cliff’s description of Kevin, my opinion of him quickly changed once I began reading his essay. It took only a few pages into his chapter for me to realize that his work was too good, and his writing too polished, for me to deny that there was something unique and special about him and his project.

In the chapter that Kevin wrote for our collection, he explained that beginning in the early 1900s, officials at Sherman sent Native students off-campus to work as domestic servants, ranch hands, and many other occupations. He noted how school superintendents and local farmers and ranchers used the agricultural industry of Southern California to further deeply held U.S. government assimilation goals and to fill the region’s labor needs. And he explored the reasons why Indian students agreed (and often requested) to work “beyond” the “school walls” at places such as the Fontana Ranch, and at the many citrus orchards in the greater Riverside area. Although I had written about Hopi students who participated in the school’s Outing Program in my book Education beyond the Mesas, Kevin took the conversation of Indian labor at Sherman to a different level. Even at this point, I could see that he was establishing himself as an authority on Sherman and Indian labor at off-reservation Indian boarding schools.

While Kevin and I share an interest in Sherman Institute and Indian boarding school histories in general, there are other areas in our career trajectories that we have in common. We both graduated from the same PhD program, and we were mentored and taught by the same faculty, including Cliff and Ojibwe historian Rebecca “Monte” Kugel. As graduate students at the University of California, Riverside, we learned the importance of working with Native communities, and not just writing about them. Our professors taught us the value of contributing something useful to Indian tribes, and they urged us to consider how our research could benefit Native communities.

In many ways, the education that we received in Native history at UC Riverside was a combination of the theoretical and the practical. Familiarity with archives and the process of honing skills needed to analyze documents was only part of our training. Cliff and Monte also encouraged us to leave the comforts of campus and interact with and work alongside Native people. Kevin certainly experienced this. As a graduate student, he regularly accompanied Cliff to community gatherings on and off Indian reservations in Southern California, including the Colorado River Indian Tribes. And he interviewed numerous individuals for his book, including the director of the Sherman Indian Museum, Lorene Sisquoc, and former Sherman student Galen Townsend, to name a few.

After Kevin completed his PhD from UC Riverside, he became my colleague at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and continued working on his book as a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow of American Indian Studies. At the time, the American Indian Studies Program was at the center of a major national and international controversy surrounding the university’s dehiring of the program’s new faculty member Steven Salaita. Although he had just arrived on campus, Kevin stood by my colleagues and me as we protested the university’s decision and demonstrated our commitment to shared governance and academic freedom. Nobody expected Kevin to join the fight, but he eagerly engaged in the protests, and soon it became clear to all that our struggle had also become his struggle.

While Kevin found himself in the middle of a highly politicized situation, and one that required huge amounts of time and energy from the program, he did not allow it to distract him from his major research project. In fact, nearly every time I walked into his office, he was revising some aspect of his book. Whether he was agonizing over external reader reports or adding new material to chapters, Kevin was always working. He gained valuable insights from faculty, including our director, Robert Warrior, and twice participated in writer workshops where colleagues and graduate students critiqued his work and offered suggestions on ways to improve it. During his yearlong fellowship at Illinois, Kevin and I also spent hours together—usually over a meal, coffee, or a craft beer—talking about his book. We had long conversations about the field of American Indian studies, the growing literature on Indian boarding school studies, and the important contributions that he was making with his scholarship.

The following book, then, has emerged from numerous spaces, and each of these spaces has influenced Native Students at Work in unique ways. They have all done their part to transform what started as a chapter of an edited collection into the present volume. Kevin will no doubt write other books. He may even one day write a second book on Sherman or some other aspect of Indian boarding schools. But for me, this book will always remain special. Not many scholars get an opportunity to help shepherd a project along from its infancy to publication. I did just that, and I remain grateful to Kevin for allowing me to accompany him on this journey.

Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowships in American Indian Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2014-2015

CHANCELLOR’S POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIPS IN
AMERICAN INDIAN STUDIES, 2014-2015

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign seeks two Postdoctoral Fellows for the 2014-2015 academic year. This fellowship program provides a stipend, a close working association with AIS faculty, and assistance in furthering the fellow’s development as a productive scholar. Applicants should have an ongoing research project that promises to make a notable contribution to American Indian and Indigenous Studies. While fellows will concentrate on their research, they may choose to teach one course in American Indian Studies. Furthermore, fellows are expected to participate in the intellectual community of the American Indian Studies Program. One of the positions may be renewable for a second year.

Stipend and Benefits: The Fellowship stipend for the 2014-2015 academic year is $42,000, including health benefits. An additional $5,000 will be provided for the fellow’s research, travel, and related expenses.

Minimum Qualifications: Ph.D. or equivalent terminal degree is required. Candidates must have completed all degree requirements by August 15, 2014. Preference will be given to those applicants who have finished their degrees in the past five years. The one-year fellowship appointment period is from August 16, 2014, to August 15, 2015.

To Apply: Create your candidate profile through the University of Illinois application login page at http://go.illinois.edu/AISPostDocFellowshipRegistration and upload your application materials:

Candidates should submit a letter of application to Jodi A. Byrd, Acting Director of American Indian Studies, providing a thorough description of the research project to be undertaken during the fellowship year, a curriculum vitae, two samples of their scholarly writing, and two letters of recommendation.

Applications received by January 24, 2014 will receive full consideration. The review process will continue until the fellowships are filled. For further information, contact Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert, Chair, Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Committee, American Indian Studies: Email: tewa@illinois.edu, Phone: (217) 265-9870, or visit the Program’s website at http://www.ais.illinois.edu.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is an Equal Opportunity Employer

University of Illinois seeks Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor of American Indian Studies

University of Illinois — Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor of American Indian Studies

The American Indian Studies Program at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (http://www.ais.illinois.edu) invites applications for an assistant, associate, or full professor position (full time tenure-track or tenured position).

American Indian Studies is searching for a scholar in interdisciplinary American Indian or Indigenous Studies with an emphasis on Native peoples from regions of North America where our campus is located, including the Lower Great Lakes, the Upper Mississippi, and the Mississippi cultural regions. The successful candidate will have a record of research excellence and publication in American Indian or Indigenous studies (tenured) or demonstrate potential to develop such a record (tenure-track). Along with research and publication, the position requires significant contributions to undergraduate teaching, graduate mentoring, in addition to program, university, and other forms of professional service. Current faculty in our unit conduct interdisciplinary research in a range of fields including comparative indigenous studies, media studies, expressive culture, intellectual history, literary history, educational history, sports, social and political theory, language revitalization, museum studies, governance, health, militarization, and performance. Candidates from all disciplinary backgrounds will be considered; however, the search committee is interested in candidates who complement the expertise of our current faculty, and we are particularly interested in candidates whose research focuses on design and fine arts, linguistics, language revitalization, environmental studies, landscape architecture, critical geographies, and disability studies. A joint appointment or teaching arrangement with another academic unit on campus is also likely.

Minimum qualifications include the PhD or equivalent by the start of appointment, clear knowledge and experience in American Indian and Indigenous Studies, scholarly achievement and promise, and evidence of teaching excellence. Experience working with American Indian or other Indigenous communities is a plus.

To ensure full consideration, create your candidate profile through http://go.illinois.edu/AISfaculty13 and submit your letter of application detailing current research plans, curriculum vitae, and contact information for three professional references by December 15, 2013.  The search committee may contact the applicant about soliciting letters of reference at a later point, after a first review of the files.  For inquiries regarding the position, contact search committee chair, Jodi Byrd (jabyrd@illinois.edu).  Target start date of August 16, 2014.  Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience.

Illinois is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer and welcomes individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and ideas who embrace and value diversity and inclusivity. (www.inclusiveillinois.illinois.edu)

May travels and events

I recently returned from a trip to California where I presented a paper titled “Hopi Marathon Runner Louis Tewanima and the Olympic Games, 1908-1912” at the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association conference in Sacramento. I also heard a great presentation by Hopi educator and scholar Darold H. Joseph from Moencopi titled  “Re-Centering Indigeneity: Culturally Responsive Schooling Practices for American Indian and Alaskan Native Youth.” Darold is a Ph.D. candidate in Special Education at the University of Arizona. After the conference ended on May, 22, I traveled to the University of California, Riverside, to give two talks, one of which was titled “Publishing in the Academic World: Developing Dissertations to Books, An Example from Hopi.”  Both events were sponsored by the California Center for Native Nations. I spent my remaining time in Riverside conducting research at the Sherman Indian Museum.

Returning to the Cottonwood Trees of Our Communities

Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert at 2009 Native American House Congratulatory Ceremony. Photo courtesy of Muskogee Creek writer and photographer Durango Mendoza.

In the Spring of 2009, our Native students at the University of Illinois asked me to say the closing remarks for the Native American House Congratulatory Ceremony. The event took place on May 16, 2009. Since we are appoaching the end of the academic year, I thought that it would be fitting if I posted these remarks on my blog.

————————————

Returning to the Cottonwood Trees of Our Communities

Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert

I have the privilege and honor of saying a few closing remarks to end our time together.

We are fortunate at the University of Illinois to have students who have not forgotten that the greatest “scholars” and teachers come from their own communities.  These men and women have not published books for Oxford or Harvard University Press.  They have not published articles in the esteemed journals of the academy. But they are known by people in their communities as the gatekeepers and protectors of intellectual property, and teachers of knowledge.

Among my people in northeastern Arizona, parents, grandparents, uncles, aunties, and other community members often told their children stories about the owl, the squirrel, and giant beasts that threatened to destroy the Hopi way of life. Hopi elders shared these stories with their children to teach them life lessons.  Lessons that would help them to succeed in life, contribute to their communities, and to be passed on to their children and grandchildren.

At an early age, Hopi children were taught to value hard work, and to shun laziness.   “Get up before Taawa, itana (the sun, our father) greets our village,” Hopi parents often told their children, “Taawa, itana has many things to accomplish throughout the day, and he need not waste his time and energy on getting you out of bed.”

The stories and teachings that have emerged in Hopi and other indigenous cultures have great meaning for people of the past, present, and future.  They ground Native people in their communities, they connect us to our places of origin, and they forever remind us of who we are as Choctaw, Ho-Chunk, Kiowa, and other indigenous people.

I am reminded of a story that originates from my village of Moencopi that Hopi educator Dr. Noreen (Kewanwytewa) Sakiestewa once retold about a young girl who was lazy, and did absolutely nothing.  She did not help her parents take care of her siblings, she refused to grind corn, and she had no desire to learn Hopi stories and songs.  Seeing her laziness and apathy, people in the village called her kyena, which is Hopi slang for “ignorant one.”

Sakiestewa recounts that one day, as the girl wandered about near the wash by her village, she sat under a large cottonwood tree.  The wise old cottonwood tree realized that her people, and even the animals, had become angry with her, and so he asked the young girl: “Why are you not a part of your people?”  The girl did not respond, and so the wise old cottonwood tree told her to gather yucca plants and to bring them to him.

When she returned, the wise old cottonwood tree taught her how to weave a plaque with a coil design.  But the girl became restless, and she wanted to learn other design patterns to incorporate in her plaques.  So the wise old cottonwood tree told her to observe the things of nature.  “Look at the sky, the mountains, and the animals, and they will show you new patterns for your plaques.”

After several days or traveling and searching, the young girl from Moencopi came across a rattlesnake who asked her why she had wandered so far from her village. “I am on a journey to find new designs,” she told him.  And so the wise old snake said to her, “Look at the design on my back. I give you permission to use my design in your plaques.”

Soon the young girl came across other designs, and months later, she returned to her people with beautiful plaques and immediately started teaching her sisters, and other girls in the village how to make baskets.  All that she had learned amazed the people at Moencopi.  And from that day forward, they no longer called her kyena.

In her retelling of this story, Sakiestewa asks the question:

“At what point did the girl come out of not being kyena?  Overwhelmingly, the response was when she learned to make baskets.  The Hopi response to when she stopped being kyena was when she returned and taught the skill of basket making thereby completing her circle.” [Norene E. Kewanwytewa, “Being Hopi: A Collaborative Inquiry Into Culturally Responsive Education,” Ed.D. Dissertation, Northern Arizona University, 2002, pp. 2-4].

Today, as we gather together to honor our students, I close by urging our Native graduates to return to the cottonwood trees of their communities.  Complete the circle, and take what you have learned at the University of Illinois and contribute something useful to your people.  And never forget that long ago, our people held to and practiced indigenous ways of understanding that provided meaning, and continue to provide meaning, for every aspect of life.

Proposed Revisions to Hopi Education Ordinance #36

Click image to download the schedule

Proposed Ordinance 36 Revisions - Click image to download the 15 page document

Original 1981 Hopi Tribe Education Ordinance, Click image to download the 31 page document

 

California Indian Education (CALIE) launches new website on American Indian boarding schools

The California Indian Education (CALIE) organization recently launched a new website on American Indian boarding schools. The website is managed by Ernie C. Salgado, Jr., of the Soboba Indian Reservation.  Jon Allan Reyhner, Professor of Education at Northern Arizona University, has written the Forward for the web page. In addition to giving a history of Indian boarding schools, Reyhner has provided brief commentaries on numerous books and authors of Indian boarding school studies. If you have a minute, be sure to make your way over to the CALIE website.  This is a great resource for those interested in the American Indian boarding school experience.

Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert


Copyright Notice

© Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert and BEYOND THE MESAS, 2009-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert and BEYOND THE MESAS with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

About the author

Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert is enrolled with the Hopi Tribe from the village of Upper Moencopi in northeastern Arizona. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of History and a Dean's Fellow and Conrad Humanities Scholar in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Foreword to Kevin Whalen’s Native Students at Work: American Indian Labor and Sherman Institute’s Outing Program, 1900-1945

A Second Wave of Hopi Migration (History of Education Quarterly, August 2014)

Sun Chief: An Autobiography of A Hopi Indian by Don C. Talayesva, New foreword by Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert (Sept. 2013)

Marathoner Louis Tewanima and the Continuity of Hopi Running, 1908-1912 (Western Historical Quarterly, Autumn 2012). Winner of Spur Award for Best Western Short Nonfiction, Western Writers of America (2013)

“Hopi Footraces and American Marathons, 1912-1930”, American Quarterly, Vol. 62, No. 1, March Issue 2010 (Click image to download article)

Hopi runner Philip Zeyouma’s trophy cups featured on cover of American Quarterly

Education beyond the Mesas: Hopi Students at Sherman Institute, 1902-1929 (University of Nebraska Press, 2010)

Education beyond the Mesas – Introduction (click image to download)

“‘The Hopi Followers’: Chief Tawaquaptewa and Hopi Student Advancement at Sherman Institute, 1906-1909”, Journal of American Indian Education, (Click image to download article)

The Indian School on Magnolia Avenue: Voices and Images From Sherman Institute (Oregon State University Press, 2012)

Arizona English Teachers Association highlights Hopi authors (click image to download)

Constitution and Bylaws of the Hopi Tribe (With all amendments, click to download)

Click to listen to KUYI On-Line

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