Archive for the 'American Indian Studies' Category

Revisiting the Hopi Boarding School Experience at Sherman Institute and the Process of Making Research Meaningful to Community

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Hopi Runners: Crossing the Terrain between Indian and American

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Today the University Press of Kansas officially launched my book Hopi Runners: Crossing the Terrain between Indian and American (CultureAmerica series).  

I am grateful for the support of so many people over the years who have encouraged me as I completed this project. I thank my family and friends, past and current students, colleagues at the University of Illinois, and numerous scholars here in the United States and abroad. I also thank the wonderful staff at the press, and of course, readers of this blog!

Last week, Craig Chamberlin of the University of Illinois News Bureau published a story about the book. You can access the story here. If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Hopi Runners, you can do so through Amazon or the publisher’s website.

Below is an excerpt from the book’s Introduction titled “To the Fence and Back.” The excerpt comes from a section of the Introduction where I describe Hopi runners who competed at federal off-reservation Indian boarding schools:

While Hopis participated in several sports, including basketball, football, and even boxing, their greatest success came as members of track and cross-country teams. Sports at off-reservation schools provided Native athletes opportunities that did not exist  for them on their reservations. When Hopis joined cross-country teams at Sherman Institute, or the Indian school at Carlisle, they experienced for the first time different regions of the country, life in modern cities, and a new way of running footraces. And Hopis used these opportunities to learn and interact with people from other parts of the United States and the world. While competing in marathons, Hopis ran with runners from Ireland, Germany, Sweden, and Japan, and although from vastly different cultures, they spoke a common – and perhaps universal – language of competitive running.

Having come from a society that valued long-distance running for ceremonial and practical purposes, Hopi youth transferred this cultural mindset with with them when they entered these faraway schools. Hopi runners who competed at Indian schools had come from a tribe of racers. While none of these athletes needed to be taught the essence of long-distance running, coaches nevertheless trained them in modern running techniques and rules to compete effectively in American track and cross-country events. The dirt trails on the reservation did not resemble the paved roads or clay tracks used in many American running competitions. And so, in their first year on a school’s cross-country team, Hopis learned about running in different locations, climates, and elevations. And they had to develop mental and physical strategies for running in cities, on mountain roads, or in front of thousands of cheering spectators in a stadium.

When Hopis ran on trails back home, they did so in a relatively quiet and peaceful environment, far from the sounds of locomotives arriving and departing towns such as Winslow. Running on or near the mesas, Hopis became attuned with their bodies and surroundings, becoming one with their environment. They listened to their own breathing, the sound of their feet tapping the trail as they danced on Mother Earth. They felt the rhythmic pounding of their heart telling them to adjust or steady their pace. And they listened to birds singing and the sound of the wind cutting through the canyons. And often they ran alone, experiencing physical ailments that all distance runners endure. “He was alone and running on,” Kiowa poet N. Scott Momaday writes of a Jemez Pueblo runner named Abel. “All of his being was concentrated in the sheer motion of running on, and he was past caring about pain.” In the high desert of Arizona, Hopi runners also beheld beautiful landscapes , greeted majestic sunrises and sunsets, and had unobstructed views for miles in all directions. Running with no distractions from the outside world, Hopis ran with “good hearts,” prayed silently for the well-being of their people, and sang songs to the katsina spirits to entice the rain clouds to follow them home to their villages.

However, the tranquil environment that encompassed the trails back home did not reflect the fast pace and at times chaotic life in large modern American cities…

Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert, Hopi Runners: Crossing the Terrain between Indian and American (University Press of Kansas, 2018), 8, 9, 10.

 

 

AIS at Illinois to host former Postdoctoral Fellows

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Comanche scholar Dustin Tahmahkera to speak at the University of Illinois, Feb 15, 2017

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

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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)


Copyright Notice

© Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert and BEYOND THE MESAS, 2009-2018. 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 (Hopi) is Professor and Director of American Indian Studies and Professor of History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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New book on Hopi runners!

Revisiting the Hopi Boarding School Experience at Sherman Institute and the Process of Making Research Meaningful to Community (JAIE, 2018)

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

Introduction to Education beyond the Mesas (2010)

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

Foreward to Don Talayesva’s Sun Chief: An Autobiography of A Hopi Indian (2013)

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 (HEQ, 2014)

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

Hopi Footraces and American Marathons, 1912-1930 (AQ, 2010)

The Hopi Followers: Chief Tawaquaptewa and Hopi Student Advancement at Sherman Institute, 1906-1909 (JAIE, 2005)

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

Click to listen to KUYI On-Line

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